INDIANAPOLIS - As the drought stretches on, Indiana State Police are cracking down on drivers who toss cigarette butts from their vehicles.
State law stipulates that a person who throws a lighted cigarette, cigar, match or other burning material from a moving motor vehicle can face a Class A infraction or be cited for littering.
In an agency-wide memo, ISP Superintendent Paul Whitesell stressed that while the burn bans issued in 85 counties are usually patrolled by local authorities, troopers should also be on the lookout for any activity that could spark fires.
"As Indiana state troopers, we have the discretion to take enforcement action under these statutes, thus doing our part to protect the safety of the citizens, in addition to the natural resources of Indiana," he said.
There have been several grass fires reported along area interstates recently, although discarded cigarettes have not been named as the cause.
The law banning throwing lighted items from a vehicle has been around for five years. Cigarettes aren't the only cause of roadside fires, but they are a leading one.
"We're going to be watching, and we have to be in this dry condition," said ISP Sgt. John Bowling. "We've had so many fires, inadvertent fires, on state roads, on the interstate, just everywhere."
Fines can range up to $10,000 for violators.
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