CLARIN, EL DIARIO (ARGENTINA)
CORDOBA - In some places, the cops are busy cracking down with tough new laws on drinking and driving; elsewhere, the focus is on texting and driving. But in Argentina's second-largest city, the newest threat to highway safety is the cigarette.
Beginning next Monday, police in Cordoba will begin handing out tickets for drivers caught smoking in their cars, trucks, vans... or on motorcycles, after a law was passed to limit drivers being distracted by the act of lighting up.
["Is there a problem, officer?" - Photo: giant mice kill rabbits via Flickr]
El Diario also notes that the city is considering the possibility of suspending driver's licenses up to 90 days for repeat offenders.
Some national and local laws exist in other countries that prohibit smoking in private vehicles, but only apply if minors are present, with the aim of limiting second-hand smoke.
Juan Maria Traverso, a former Argentinian car racing champion, has helped promote the measure. “The first cause of accidents in the country is related to distractions, primarily the use of cell phones and cigarette smoking,” Traverso said.
A study conducted by Bee Sellares found that there are at least seven movements involved in lighting up, from when someone stretches his arm to find the cigarette pack until exhaling the first puff. This can represent up to 10 seconds of distraction and around 70 meters of roadway.