It's that time of year again, sunny and dry with a chance of mindless smokers. I watched another one take the last puff and then toss the smouldering butt out the window onto the highway while he waited in front of me at a red light. All it needed was the breezy nudge of another passing vehicle to find it's way into the dormant grass on the shoulder to really get things started.
One could call the police and report this person. It's an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act to discard things on a highway. When an unthinking driver tossed his cigarette as I walked up to the vehicle during a traffic stop I used to offer them the opportunity of picking it up themselves or I would do it for them at a cost of $109. They would look at me, trying to decide if I was serious or not. When it was clear that I was, everyone chose to keep the $109 in their pocket and retrieved the butt.
You might also consider notifying the Ministry of Forests and Range. They are interested in hearing from you about incidents like this. Call *5555 on your cell phone or (800)663-5555 from a land line. Their enforcement officers may choose to use the provisions of the Wildfire Act to penalize careless individuals.
I chose instead to simply call the phone number that was written on the company vehicle. "It's very poor advertising for your business." I told the receptionist. "Yes," she replied, "especially since half of BC is burning right now. We'll find out who it was and give them hell for it!" I hope that she did.
Submitted by E-mail
The last paragraph you say that you chose to call the number on the side of the company vehicle.
As a professional driver, I am aware that my actions are a reflection of peoples perception of the company I work for.
Also, you may not be aware, a company vehicle is considered a workplace by Worksafe B.C. and I believe is required to be a non-smoking environment.
I had a look at the WorksafeBC site and found the following:
"workplace" means any place where a worker is or is likely to be engaged in any work and includes any vessel, vehicle or mobile equipment used by a worker in work.
OHS Guidelines Part 4 General and the Tobacco Control Act prevent smoking in a workplace.
Clearly, this person was not supposed to be smoking in the first place and should not have had a butt to throw out the window!
Submitted by E-mail
I seem to remember here in the Grand Forks area in 2003 when we had fires to the South and West of us that the
RCMP actually laid charges for ; ' releasing a burning substance to the environment ' , when a smoker was observed throwing out a lit cigarette.
I think the penalty was in excess of $300.00. Is my memory of the charge and penalty correct?
I took a look at the Violation Ticket Administration and Fines Regulation and found that the ticketed amount for a violation of section 3 is $173.00. Of course, the enforcement officer could choose to compel the offender to court instead of writing a ticket and then the judge could apply a penalty that has a maximum of a fine of not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or to both.
This article gives one the impression that an ordinary citizen can call police or another agency and expect charges to be laid if they see someone throwing a cigarette out of their car window. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our judicial system works on the basis of impartial evidence. If a citizen stood up in court and said he saw so and so throw a cigarette out a car window all the defendant would need to do is deny it and that would be the end of the case. It would simply be your word against mine and that does not work in court. Cheers
The Ordinary Citizen
Fortunately you are not correct siwan. An ordinary citizen can expect charges and see them through a successful conviction. Most court cases are "your word against mine."
A motorcycle rider's point of view
This is obviously a message that needs to get out. Somehow, despite the "extreme fire hazard" warning signs everywhere, the smoke in the sky from forest fires, and seeing all the dry grass in the medians, I still see people doing this daily.
The consequences of starting a fire are pretty severe during this hot and dry season, but here's something a lot of people may not have thought of... As a motorcycle rider, I've had to dodge many a smoldering butt being tossed out on our roadways from the driver in front of me.
While a smoking driver may not think much of discarding their butt, when that driver is in front of a motorcycle and throws their butt out the window, it quite literally becomes a flaming projectile headed straight for the rider! If I swerve to miss it, I'm putting myself at risk. If I don't, and it hits me, I'm again at risk.
Please think of these things before you choose to chuck that butt!
If you must smoke in your vehicle, please use your ashtray! When you dump your ashtray, please do so in an appropriate way too, not in the ditch, in the dry grass, or on the road. Exercise common sense and common courtesy.
re: Careless Smokers
Shouldn't that read...Careless People who smoke ? 'Careless Smokers' seems to imply that all smokers are careless.....which isn't the case. It's as silly as saying Careless Non-Smokers because of those who toss their candy wrapper on the ground.
I am a smoker. I have never and will never used the earth as my personal ashtray. I have never and will never throw a lit OR UN-lit butt onto the ground...even in my own yard.
As for the idiots who would throw a lit butt out their car window at any time or place, but particularly in fire season...'careless' is an understatement.
Another motorcyclist's point of view
motogirl's post is quite valid. More than a few times I've been tangled up with a lit butt caught in my helmet and/or clothes. Diving for the shoulder to get your helmet off before your hair catches fire is not fun.
In one instance, I didn't see the fire missile and it caught in my brand new jacket. Fed by a 60 kph wind, it didn't take long to burn a whole front panel out of my $350 jacket. My error was to not get the license plate number.
Observations of stupid motorists is a daily occurrence unfortunately. Calling the police is really not an option when your cell phone is off and buried under layers of clothing. But I have been known to ride up alongside at a stop light and make some direct references to a driver's habits and parentage.
While it would seem the messaging to get the Cancer rates low, and our Public Health costs for people that care about the their health, was getting through. I have heard and experienced many people all done with the 'fags, darts, nails in coffin...', but around about 10Km North of Nelson, a smoker, or a couple of them who ignore the science, that feel the urge to light up in town are done with their cancer sticks, and flick them out on our roadway. Almost everyday I cross the highway a recent butt has been flicked. It is startling to realize how bloody close they are to starting a fire in the tinder dry verge. I am just about ready to install a camera. Is that an invasion of some poor thoughtless sap's rights and freedom?
In the meantime, keep your flickin' zoads in your own ashtray.