The 'reckless' act that could cost drivers $11,000 fine

Drivers who toss lit cigarettes from vehicle windows will be slapped with five demerit points under new penalties introduced by the NSW government.

However if the offence is committed during a total fire ban, the punishment doubles to 10 demerit points and a fine of up to $11,000.

The penalties are due to come in to effect from January 17, 2020.

Drivers could face a hefty fine if they're caught flicking a lit cigarette out of their window. Source: AAP

Penalties will apply to both drivers and passengers.

"If a passenger is caught tossing a lit cigarette on or near the roadway they will be hit with a $660 fine which will also double during total fire bans," NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said in a statement on Thursday.

NSW Rural Fire Service Association president Brian McDonough welcomed the new penalties.

"This reckless behaviour puts the safety of firefighting volunteers at risk and I hope this move makes people think very carefully about the consequences of their actions next time they go to discard a lit cigarette," he said.

More than 200 people have been caught throwing lit cigarette butts in 2019.

"In my own electorate so far this year there's been three bushfires started because motorists have thrown out cigarette butts onto dry grass," Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said.

"As far as I'm concerned, you should be treated the same as an arsonist would be."

The double demerits will apply from midnight on Thursday until 11.59pm on Wednesday, January 1 for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences.

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