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Throwing cigarettes from car could result in hefty fine

READ MORE: Throwing cigarettes from car could result in hefty fine
Smokers beware. If you're smoking while driving, do not toss your butts out the window. Tossing cigarette butts out the window could lead to some trouble with the law. One of our co-workers learned the hard way. WWAY traffic manager Brenda Covey is on notice. Her crime: being a litterbug. "I could get a citation if I get reported doing it again," said Covey. A few months ago someone spotted Covey tossing a cigarette out of her car window. She didn't realize it was a crime until she received a warning letter from the State Department of Transportation. Another infraction could cost her up to $1,000. Covey said, "I've never thrown trash out of my car, but I guess I've never looked at the cigarette the same as the trash, but it literally is." Highway Patrol First Sgt. J.O. Holmes said, "It's no different than throwing a piece of paper, or a fast food wrapper out the window." Holmes said cigarette butts are discarded too casually. According to anti-litter group Keep America Beautiful, smokers across the country generate 4.5 trillion butts each year. "It's a very hard law for us to enforce because obviously if someone sees a law enforcement vehicle -- beside them or behind them -- they're not going to do anything," said Holmes. Some citizens are taking the law into their own hands. Covey said the letter set her straight. "I admit that I did wrong. Since then I do have an ashtray in my car where you put your little butts out. So I do not do it anymore," said Covey. The Department of Transportation wants everyone to help keep the roads clean. If you see someone littering -- cigarettes or otherwise -- report it at the DOT's website.

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Litter

Well, Mr. Big Britches Po Po, hope you're feeling real important now. I hope the tattletale busy body who turned her in is looking over her/his shoulder. I've picked up litter from the roadside in front of my home, on the beach, and behind the trash trucks so much the trash truck drivers pass me when I'm out in the neighborhood and wave. Please beware I'll be writing down your license plate number no matter what you throw out and the least of my worries is a cigarette butt, though I'll add it to the list.

Good!

Seems like a lesson well learned. Your employee learned not to toss litter out the window, she now carries an ashtray in her vehicle, and she has stopped breaking the law. The campaign by Keep America Beautiful is a good one; it hits people where it matters most, in their pocketbooks. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. I'm glad to see your employee learned a valuable lesson from her experience.

I know several friends, besides myself, who make it a common practice to report litterers (cigarette or otherwise). We're out there, and if someone continues to litter, I (or others) will eventually see it and report it. It's just a matter of time before you get reported.

This is really about personal stewardship!

In reading all of the posts below, I'm amazed at the whining, the excuses, the fines, the legalities, ect. Smoke all you want. Inhaling carcinogenic particulates as a habit is utterly amazing. But do it to yourself and don't burden others that don't!

The bottom line is, this is a beautiful world we live in and a wonderful place on the coast we get to enjoy everyday. Take just a little pride in it! Put your trash in a receptacle and throw it away instead of dumping it on the roadways!!! Have a little class about yourself and just do what's right. This isn't complicated, it isn't difficult and it isn't physically exhausting. Failure to properly stuff your butts simply displays that you are lazy, just above the worm species and totally incognizant of the place you live!

I don't necessarily agree

I don't necessarily agree with the fine. However, I agree with the letter. I want you to know someone watched you throw stuff out your window. I want you to feel like the idiot that you are.

I Disagree

A letter by itself will do nothing. People will disregard the letter if they know there's no penalty. You have to hit people's wallets for them to sit up and take notice.

WHAT NEXT????

Let me begin by saying I am a smoker and have been since for 21yrs. I do agree with the law when it considers tossing cigarette butts out of your car window as littering, however, when it allows anyone the option to report this offense without facts or evidence when the penalty is so high is outrageous! That means that if I don't like you, I can call the police and give them your license plate number without any evidence and can cause this person to pay a $1000.00 fine for an act that was never committed. Is this just another way for the State to get money out of us? Whatever happened to being
"innocent until proven guilty in a court of law"? What Next????

Facts and evidence?

The facts and evidence would be that a driver sees another driver toss a cigarette out the window and break the law (litter). I have a pen and paper in my car at all times to report litterers such as these, and I consider it a duty and a privilege to do so.

$1,000 fine? I think you're a little off. According to the "Swat-A-Litterbug website:

"The current North Carolina anti-litter law, General Statute § 14-399 (2001-2002), includes both fines and community service time for both intentional and unintentional littering. The text below is only a sample excerpt - please view the law in its entirety for a better understanding of the law and the penalties for intentional and unintentional littering in the link below.

If you don't break the law, the State can't

§ 14-399. Littering. (a1) No person, including any firm, organization, private corporation, or governing body, agents, or employees of any municipal corporation shall scatter, spill, or place or cause to be blown, scattered, spilled, or placed or otherwise dispose of any litter upon any public property or private property not owned by the person within this State or in the waters of this State including any public highway, public park, lake, river, ocean, beach, campground, forestland, recreational area, trailer park, highway, road, street, or alley...

(c1) Any person who violates subsection (a1) of this section in an amount not exceeding 15 pounds is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of NOT MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($100.00). In addition, the court may require the violator to perform community service of not less than four hours nor more than 12 hours. The community service required shall be to pick up litter if feasible, and if not feasible, to perform other labor commensurate with the offense committed. Any second or subsequent violation of subsection (a1) of this section in an amount not exceeding 15 pounds within three years after the date of a prior violation is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200.00). In addition, the court may require the violator to perform community service of not less than eight hours nor more than 24 hours. The community service required shall be to pick up litter if feasible, and if not feasible, to perform other labor commensurate with the offense committed."

What's so difficult about cleaning up after yourself? If you want to smoke, fine. But don't mess things up for those of us who don't. Have a little courtesy for others and for mother earth.

Trash

Rather than all of this discussion on whether it is right or wrong to throw stuff from your car...DON'T!!! Keep all your belongings, all trash, food and especially cigarette butts in your car and with you. Why should animals and DOT workers have to clean up after all you slobs who throw items out the window?

Better suggestion

I agree that someone shouldn't be given a ticket for an action that a police office didn't see (there are some exceptions, just not in this type of incident). Regardless, if an officer sees anyone littering, whether it's a cigarette butt or a bag of trash, they should be forced to do community service in that area (say, picking up cigarette butts that others threw out). That would get the point across more than a simple ticket.

Perfect Idea!

Adam, I completely think that is a great idea. Nobody can afford the whole "ticket" thing like $1000 being thrown at them at the way gas prices and food are. If they have to miss a day's work to work 8 hours cleaning the street, that is still hitting them "monetary penalty". It makes the county not have to pay someone or look for sponsors to clean up streets. Saves money for everyone: the offender is having to sweat for some littering infraction, and the county is not paying anyone to pick up the litter! Brilliant! Never happen, though.

It Is Happening

Oh, but it IS happening. According to NC's anti-littering law:

"(c1) Any person who violates subsection (a1) of this section in an amount not exceeding 15 pounds is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00). In addition, the court may require the violator to perform community service of not less than four hours nor more than 12 hours. The community service required shall be to pick up litter if feasible, and if not feasible, to perform other labor commensurate with the offense committed. Any second or subsequent violation of subsection (a1) of this section in an amount not exceeding 15 pounds within three years after the date of a prior violation is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200.00). In addition, the court may require the violator to perform community service of not less than eight hours nor more than 24 hours. The community service required shall be to pick up litter if feasible, and if not feasible, to perform other labor commensurate with the offense committed."

What's really sad to me is that people choose to litter. Maybe when you hit their wallets, they will think twice about it.

Littering

I think it is safe to say that some of the people who posted here have no problems with littering. You are probably the kind who wouldn't have a problem throwing anything out your car windows. Yes there are all kinds of situations to be concerned about in this fallen world. Littering is just one of them. While it may not rank with some of the other problems, it is still a problem, especially here in Wilmington. I have lived in quite a few places in my life and this place has the worst littering problem I have ever seen. What angers me is when people throw their cigarettes out onto my lawn. What is wrong with people?

Litterbug

Not I, unless you consider bread, fries or apple cores litter. I figure something will eat it.

Littering

So you think it's ok to throw food from your car? Then animals like dogs, cats, rats, raccoons, deer, etc. come feed by the road and get hit by cars. Brilliant.

litter

Is food litter? It decomposes. Not in the road anyway, off it and not in town. Trust me all the dead animals you see are not from eating my food. ;/

Geeeeeezzzzzz

Yes, food is litter; it decomposes, but not immediately. If it lays there in hot weather, it can become spoiled and make an animal sick. Yes, they will eat it anyway, if they're hungry; I've seen them do it. How do you know they don't die from your food? They may fly off or go into the woods, die, and you never know the difference.

As usual, you seem more concerned about justifying your position than doing what's right. It's only a few more steps to a trash can, or at least compost your wasted food. Then at least it would not only have a useful purpose, but it wouldn't harm any living thing.

litter reports not accurate

I too have received a letter from the DOT for littering cigarette butts while driving, however I am a non smoker! According to the letter from the DOT there is a possibility that the person that reported my license plate number made a mistake. You bet! A fine should not be issued unless it is by an officer who witnessed the "crime". Littering is bad for the environment, but so is cutting trees down for paper to mail these warning letters, and the plastic trash bag I also received didn't mention on it that it was biodegradable.

Remember Abbott's Run?

Does anyone remeber what started the fire at Abbott's Run last year? An improperly discarded cigarette! A careless smoker caused thousands in damages and displaced several residents. Luckily everyone made it out of the building unharmed. It is good to see that a stout fine could befall a smoker that chooses to improperly discard their butts while driving. Not only is it dangerous, but all the butts look horrible at intersections, on the side of the road, etc. Anyone whining about this potential fine may be one of the careless (and senseless) individuals responsible. (or should I say irresponsible?) You could easily start the next fire that burns thousands of acres, several homes, and may cause someone injury or worse. Smokers, just keep it clean.

I agree with Butts....

There was a shooting a month ago in the neighborhood where I live. Someone had walked up on a drug deal so they shot at them. Wilmington, NC was deemed one of the most dangerous cities in the nation to drive. Those are serious issues. Focusing on cigarette butts? LMAO. Get a life.

Disagree with above

The issue raised in the article is about littering, not violent crimes. There are violent crimes in almost every minor to major city in the US. The issue at hand is that people thing throwing cigarette butts out the window isn't considered littering.

If you smoke cigarettes and can't deal with empty butts in your car and getting rid of them in a responsible way, then you shouldn't smoke cigarettes - like taking on anything, you take on the accommodating responsibilities. One of those is disposing butts the right way. Otherwise, pay the consequences.

Butt? Butt?

If cigarette butts are bad enough of a concern to start sending warning letters and then fining people for littering, why aren't more people concerned about other stuff? Like the stuff that Titan Cement would be putting into the area, on the ground, under the ground in the water and in our river.

Polution

Because you don't readily see it.

About time they are looking

About time they are looking at this serious problem. I was blinded in my left eye due to someone throwing out a cigarette of their window that somehow blew in mine and caught me in the left eye. Luckily I didn't crash causing more severe injury. I never did find out who the car in front of me was to seek damages and never will, but I am very pleased to know the law is looking out for those who smoke and throw them out the windows.

Butts

While it isn't right for someone to litter no matter what it is, to get a ticket for it is wrong. I got a parking ticket from New York City mailed to me with "my" tag number and I never have been to NYC in my life, after several phone calls and a copy for the ticket, which was for a different type of car, and several more phone calls as well as a letter from my employer than I was at work here at the time the ticket was wrote and a phone call from the Chief of Police in my hometown who saw me at the store about 2 hours after the ticket was written "fast truck hu?" I made one last call to NYC and stated I was not going to pay it only to be told that they would put my car (remember I drive a truck) on the impound list to be towed in as soon as they find it. GO FOR IT. I had always wondered why cars from up north had tags on the front and the back, now I know it's because they don't know if they are coming or going.

Cig butts

A single cigarette butt can cause serious damage. It can cause hundreds and even thousands of acres of woodland to go up in flames. One careless smoker can cause major damage & cost taxpayers a great deal of money for services to put of the fires. During the age of drought that we are in it's time to get serious to be mindful & thoughtful of what we toss out our windows. It also stinks & very ugly when trying to take neighborhood walks. My trash stays in my car til I toss it in the garbage.

Just don't litter

Instead of second guessing everything, why just not litter in the first place. It seems to me that throwing a cigarette butt out on the road is no different than me coming to your yard and getting rid of my trash.I am not lumping all smokers together.

My Cigarette Butts

Today I was driving and threw out my cig. butt and another vehicle blew the horn at me which scared me to death because I thought something was wrong with my car and he was trying to warn me but, instead he was trying to promote a citizens arrest and shake his finger at me like i was 5 years old. I have smoked for over 20 yrs not proud of my young adult decision but at the time it was cool and everyone did it. Now as an older adult it makes me sick to have such a bad habit but, I really wish people who did not smoke or never have could understand the addiction. For myself, I try to give non-smokers respect but I expect them to give me the same respect!!! If you want to be a DO GOODER that's fine but next time keep your rage with your vehicle and finger to yourself!!! Also, i would like to add that don't have ashtrays in vehicles anymore!!!

Lazy

Lisa, you are lazy and a slob.

The other driver was not

The other driver was not trying to promote a citizens arrest or give you the bird, he was calling to your attention the fact that you were littering, breaking the law, and screwing up mother earth for the rest of us.

I haven't bought a new car lately, but I absolutely don't believe that they don't have ashtrays in cars anymore. It's more likely that yours was full, and you were too lazy to take it in the house and empty it. I bet on those rare occasions when you do empty it, it's always on the side of the road waiting at a stop light or going down a more private secondary road when you stop at a stop sign and no one's around.

If you don't have an ashtray in your car, buy a cheap one from the store and leave it in your car. They also make disposable ashtrays nowadays that are small enough to fit in your pocket or pocketbook. There is absolutely no excuse to litter. Littering one of the major reasons that give smokers a bad name.

By the way, I was a chain smoker for 25 years, and never once did I throw a cigarette out the window or litter the ground.

Lisa, hooked is one thing, to be trashy is yet another!

You aren't alone with the fact that you can't control your smoking habit, but you don't have to trash the environment by throwing your butts out the window!
How about getting a bit of class about yourself, buy a portable ash tray available at any carwash and stuff your butts in there! Maybe you don't wash your car, or your underwear and haven't been to a dentist since the age of three. I'm guessing here, but your post provides a very vivid image.
As a motorcyclist I received a immediate hot gift inside of my jacket from a driver that flipped his burning butt out the window while underway. Forest fires are caused by this behavior as well. THINK!!!
Your complete ignorance in publicly posting your trashy behavior is testament to your societal capacity. This is perfect proof that mental evaluations should be a part of obtaining a drivers license.

You can call me a "DO GOODER". Maybe this post will give you an idea of how "DO GOODERS" refer to you!