If you have enjoyed a quick snack on the road and you don’t have anywhere to store the rubbish, it can be tempting to drop it out of the window, especially if it’s something biodegradable like an apple core.
However, no matter what the object might be, discarding something deliberately from your car window will end up seeing you potentially investigated for littering.
Anyone can report a vehicle if they think it’s littering and the punishments can be extremely severe depending on the state you’re in. But just how costly could tossing away a banana peel be?
A big tipping point
Littering is something that grates on most people’s nerves so it’s not surprising that there are plenty of laws and rules against it.
Every state has laws on littering which are enforced by state branches of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and dedicated regulations to cover the offence in various settings, including on the roads.
Cases are generally reported and investigated based on anonymous tip offs from the public who can make a claim as long as they have seen something tossed from a vehicle and have some form of evidence to prove it.
These cases are investigated as long as whoever reports them can give the correct number plate and the location of the incident meaning anyone could be potentially at risk any time they try it.
Paying the price
With many places severely clamping down on littering across their communities, you won’t be too shocked to find that heavy fines await anyone caught littering from their vehicle.
The fines will vary depending on what the item is, with those throwing out small or single items drawing lesser fines than those who discard large amounts from their vehicle. If you are found to be littering, some of the potential penalties include:
NSW: If you are caught littering from your vehicle in New South Wales, the punishment will be a fine of $250. However, if you do it while working, you could face extra penalties from your workplace as your employer will also be fined $500 if it is done from a vehicle registered to them.
VIC: In Victoria, the fines for littering will depend on what the item is. If you drop a piece of fruit or any small item, you will be issued a fine of $363. However, any hot or burning litter (like a cigarette butt) will see the fine doubled to $727.
QLD: Queensland also takes a harsh stance towards littering from vehicles. If you’re found guilty of general littering, you will be fined $275. However, if the item is deemed to be dangerous – such as a beer bottle – then the fine increases to $551.
SA: When driving in South Australia, don’t expect any leniency if you are found guilty of littering from your vehicle. You could be fined a combined worth of $302 for general littering or $592 for any dangerous littering when including SA’s Victims of Crime Levy.
WA: Perhaps the harshest fines for littering on the roads are found in Western Australia where offending parties can be fined $500 if you’re found guilty.
TAS: Tasmania approaches the offence a little differently as fines are based on penalty units. Anyone caught littering from their car will be fined two penalty units which currently equates to $343.
ACT: The ACT has several different categories for littering penalties depending on the item’s size. Very small items will see you penalised just $60 but larger items increase the fine to $200. Furthermore, the state also has a rule deeming that littering in public spaces such as the open road also comes with a $200 fine.
NT: With much of the Northern Territory being so rural, littering is severely frowned upon across the state. If you are found littering, you could be handed a fine of up to eight penalty units which amounts to a hefty $1,256 fine.
With anonymous reporting and severe fines awaiting any guilty suspects, it is worth thinking twice before discarding any rubbish from your car window even if it is just a few pieces of orange peel.
By doing so, we get to keep our cities and countryside clean without having to worry about chip packets or soft drink cans blemishing the beautiful views.
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