Virginia Beach Police are cracking down on drivers breaking a relatively new law.
The traffic division tweeted a warning this week that read: "Protect your children and keep $100 in your pocket! #NoSmoking #WeAreWatching"
They're talking about a law that went into effect two years ago that bans smoking whenever a child under eight is in the vehicle.
The punishment is a $100 fine. The violation is a secondary offense. That means you have to be pulled over for another reason first.
The law went into effect July 1, 2016. Virginia Beach police wrote two tickets in the first five months. In 2017 they wrote 15 tickets and so far this year, six.
The law was introduced as a bill by now Governor Ralph Northam who is a pediatric neurologist.
He said back then that second-hand smoke can contribute to a variety of health problems in children, including sudden infant death syndrome.
§ 46.2-810.1. Smoking in vehicle with a minor present; civil penalty. A. For the purposes of this section, "smoke" means to carry or hold any lighted pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind or any other lighted smoking equipment or to light or inhale or exhale smoke from a pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind or any other lighted smoking equipment.
B. It is unlawful for a person to smoke in a motor vehicle, whether in motion or at rest, when a minor under the age of eight is present in the motor vehicle. A violation of this section is punishable by a civil penalty of $100 to be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Literary Fund. No demerit points shall be assigned under Article 19 (§ 46.2-489 et seq.) of Chapter 3 and no court costs shall be assessed for a violation of this section. A violation of this section may be charged on the uniform traffic summons form.
C. No citation for a violation of this section shall be issued unless the officer issuing such citation has cause to stop or arrest the driver of such motor vehicle for the violation of some other provision of this Code or local ordinance relating to the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a motor vehicle or any criminal statute.
2016, c. 515.