Iowa Department of Health recently clarified the regulations affecting smoking in vehicles.  Under Iowa’s Smoke free Air Act, smoking is allowed in vehicles that are for the sole use of the driver and are not used by more than one person in the course of employment either as a driver or passenger. Last week I asked the Iowa Department of Health three questions regarding the law:

1.) Can an employer allow nonsmoking employees to be passengers in these vehicles as long as no one is allowed to smoke?

2.) Can an employer allow nonsmoking drivers to drive these vehicles with or without passengers?

3.) Can an employer allow a driver and passengers to smoke in these vehicles as long as all present in the vehicle are smokers?”

The Department answered:

“As you mention in your question, the law stipulates that smoking is not regulated in a vehicle if that vehicle is for “the sole use of the driver” to which it is assigned and is not used by any other “driver or passenger.” This means that any work vehicle in which passengers are allowed at any time must be smokefree at all times and must have a “no-smoking” sign posted. If the vehicle is driven at any time by anyone other than the driver to which it is assigned, the vehicle must be smoke free at all times.”

So, under Iowa’s law, a vehicle that is assigned to a driver who smokes must be designated as “No Smoking” for its remaining life as a company vehicle if the driver ever allows a passenger to ride with him/her. If the vehicle is driven by any person other than the designated smoking driver it must be smokefree “at all times”. It’s no wonder that the employers I’ve dealt with have decided to ban smoking in their company-owned vehicles altogether.