VICTORIA — A litterbug was issued a hefty fine after Victoria’s police chief caught him flicking a cigarette butt out his car window.
Chief Const. Del Manak said he was travelling on a highway in his unmarked police car when he noticed the driver of a Ford Mustang ahead of him toss the lit cigarette butt.
“I am driving in the curb lane, traffic was fairly light on Saturday evening, and I noticed that the driver had a cigarette in his hand. He had put the ashes out the window as he’s driving and I saw that he took the last drag of the cigarette and he flicked it out his driver’s window,” he said.
“It went in the air and landed in front on the road.”
That action cost the 21-year-old driver $575 under the province’s Wildfire Act.
Watch: Here are the scenes from a B.C. wildfire last year. Story continues below.
When the police chief asked him why he did it, the driver pointed to his cup holder saying he didn’t want his car burned, Manak said.
The driver was displaying irresponsible behaviour, but responded reasonably when confronted, the officer said.
“I said to him, ‘You can’t flick the lit cigarette out the window. What if you start a fire, especially with some of the dry weather that we are having?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t think about that.’”
Human activities such as dropping lit cigarettes, open burning and the use of engines or vehicles are responsible for about 40 per cent of wildfires in the province, the BC Wildfire Service’s website says.
Manak said he told the driver that many forest fires are preventable and he needs to be “far more careful.”
This is not the first time Manak gave out a fine for a lit cigarette butt being thrown out of a car window. Last September, the police chief handed out a $81 fine for littering.
Manak said there are “a thousand other ways” that people can properly dispose their cigarette butts, and he hoped this fine would be a “lesson” for people to be more careful and make better decisions.