Don’t flick that butt or else

Drought has Indiana State Police worried.

July 18, 2012

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(ALEV96 via Flickr)
An Indiana State Trooper pulls over a motorist. Troopers will be cracking down on motorists who flick cigarette butts out of windows because of the potential to cause a fire.

Drought conditions in the Midwest continue to persist, which means grass is extremely dry and easy to burn. As a result, Indiana state police are cracking down on those who flick cigarette butts from their vehicles.

“The world is not your personal ashtray,” Indiana State Police Capt. David Bursten told WBEZ on Wednesday.

Bursten says dry conditions are making grassy medians along Indiana highways susceptible to brush fires.  He says police will be looking out for motorists who flick anything that may be lit from their window. At the very least, Bursten says, it’s littering.

But if litter, like a cigarette butt, manages to cause a fire, the fine could go all the way up to $10,000.

“If it is a lit cigarette, a firecracker, a lit piece of paper, anything burning thrown from a moving vehicle including the flicking of ashes on a cigarette, is a violation,” Bursten said.

Bursten says there have been no reported cases of fires being caused by a cigarette butt flick from a vehicle.  Indiana this week added 14 more counties to a disaster area list due to a lack of rain which has devastated farmlanders.

Indiana authorities have asked residents to conserve as much water as possible.