Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We all have our pet peeves. One of mine is people tossing their cigarette butts, usually still burning, out the window of their cars. Well now, according to this article from the Wilmington Star News, you can do something about that, at least in North Carolina:

Some motorists and car passengers in our area might benefit from a letter from the colonel of the N.C. State Highway Patrol.

That’s what happens when alert witnesses report litterbugs to the state through its Swat-A-Litterbug program. The offenders get a letter, informing them that someone spotted them littering, what they did was illegal and that fines range from $250 to $2,000 and can double on subsequent convictions. It’s signed by the colonel.

And according to the N.C. Department of Transportation, more people are tattling. More than 9,600 littering reports were made to the Swat-A-Litterbug program in 2008, up 23 percent from 7,800 in 2007.

Now I'm not sure how many people this will actually deter from littering, but I know it'll make me feel better if I can arrange that sort of correspondence for them. It'll be the next best thing to one of the best ideas George Carlin ever had for handling bad drivers. (And if anyone can find a video or audio of the a--hole flags routine, I'll be happy to post a link. Some of you know what I'm talking about.)

Just in case you feel your inner police informant vibrating in harmony, here's the rest that you need to know:
The Swat-A-Litterbug program is administered by DOT’s Office of Beautification Programs and the Highway Patrol. If you [spot] someone littering from a vehicle, you can make a report through the mail, over the phone at 1-877-DOT-4YOU or online (the preferred method) at Mail-in cards can be obtained by calling 1-800-331-5864. To make a report, you need the vehicle’s license plate number, date and time of the incident, street name, city, county and a description of the offense.