Tough new penalties will apply for motorists and passengers who toss lit cigarettes out of a vehicle window.
From 17 January 2020, motorists in NSW caught tossing a lit cigarette will be penalised five demerit points.
This is the first time a demerit point penalty has been imposed on this type of offence.
If a motorist commits the offence during a total fire ban, the penalty will double to 10 demerit points and a fine of up to $11,000.
Penalties will also apply to passengers caught tossing a lit cigarette on or near the roadway. They will be fined $660 – this will double during total fire bans.
So far in 2019, more than 200 people have been caught tossing a lit cigarette out of a vehicle in NSW.
NSW Rural Fire Service Association President Brian McDonough welcomed the government’s move to crack down on fire starters.
“This reckless behaviour puts the safety of firefighting volunteers at risk,” Mr McDonough said.
“I hope this move makes people think very carefully about the consequences of their actions next time they go to discard a lit cigarette.”
To report someone who has thrown a lit cigarette out the window of a vehicle, contact the NSW Rural Fire Service hotline on 1800 679 737.
This article was first published in The Fence magazine.