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Is there a fine for throwing cigarette butts out of car windows?

A large pile of cigarette butts lies along Oleander Drive at College road in this photo from March 25, 2005. StarNews file photo.

Q. Isn’t there a fine for throwing cigarette butts out of car windows?  If so, how much and, if so, would it be possible for law enforcement officers to do some passing out of fines on a stretch of road to bring this to attention, kind of like the DWI stops?

A. There’s no separate fine for tossing a cigarette butt from a car window, but drivers can be issued a littering ticket if they’re caught throwing one. Those fines are in the neighborhood of $250, with an extra $190 in court costs, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.

But troopers say that scanning the highways for littering is more difficult than, say, looking for drunk drivers. At a speed checkpoint, troopers can see you before you can see them, but when drivers know that a member of the Highway Patrol is near, they tend to be on their best behavior – which means catching someone littering from a moving vehicle is tricky.


How do I get no-littering signs posted on my property in Wilmington?

What does the town of Wrightsville Beach do to stop littering on the beach?


User-contributed question by:
Kate Griffin

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3 Responses to “ Is there a fine for throwing cigarette butts out of car windows?”

  1. On April 5, 2012 at 6:56 am Don wrote:

    You can enter data about the infraction at the DMV website

    DMV will send the registered vehicle owner a letter indicating that their vehicle was seen littering.

  2. On April 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm Llaro Shutudedo wrote:

    I will work to make littering legal. We cant have big bro telling us not to smoke then telling us we can’t throw our butts out.

  3. On April 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm Dave wrote:

    Is biodegradable organic material also considered litter? I remember my older brother throwing an apple core or banana peel out the car window saying that it isn’t considered litter.

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