Butt out the window - BAD

It drives me crazy when people in vehicles toss cigarettes out the window.  I have this moment of complete disgust and anger, then have an internal debate with myself as to whether or not to call it in.  Unfortunately, it happens all too often, and I'm at a loss as to how to curb the behavior.

A few minutes ago, Mayor Blake asked if I could help share the following public awareness message that was released by the folks at RCMP 'K' Division in Edmonton.  I absolutely concur with Her Worship that this is a message worth sharing far and wide on this long weekend.

Edmonton, Alberta | May 18, 2012

Did you know you could be responsible and liable for causing a grass or wildfire?

We all know littering is both wrong and illegal, but discarding your lit cigarette outside your vehicle window at any time, especially while you are driving is just plain careless and dangerous. Most Albertans know littering is wrong, but it appears many motorists do not consider the significant potential risk to everyone's safety when choosing to throw their lit cigarette out the car window.

If you think the cigarette puts itself out, think again.

• cigarettes burn for a while;
• they have been known to fly into other peoples' windows and into vehicles ; and
• they typically get carried by the wind into the grass or near a structure.

Police are very aware of cases where a lit cigarette has blown back into the smoker's vehicle (through the same window or an open back window) or into another and the vehicle has caught fire.

Of provincial importance is the very real risk to public safety and property.

Doris Stapleton, spokesperson for the RCMP 'K' Division, wishes to remind the public that given the current weather, mixed with the dry ground and strong wind, this type of behaviour is not only irresponsible, it's a recipe for trouble.

The registered owner of the vehicle can be held responsible and charged under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

Don't be lazy. If you choose to smoke while operating your motor vehicle, dispose of your cigarette in the vehicle, or pull over and dispose of it in an appropriate ashtray.

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Doris Stapleton
RCMP 'K' Division
Media Relations Specialist
780-412-5260

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