Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2018
More than 1000 South Australian motorists have been busted throwing rubbish from vehicles in the past 18 months, racking up almost $319,000 worth of fines. Words: Jeremy Rochow
Since the Environmental Protection Authority’s Dob in a Litterer phone app – which allows motorists to report litterbugs – was launched in February last year, about 1706 reports of illegal littering from a vehicle have been made, with at least 1027 SA drivers fined for flouting the law.
Cigarettes make up for more than three quarters of the rubbish chucked from car windows, with RAA Motoring Road Rules Consultant Graeme O’Dea saying the numbers are disturbing.
“Despite warnings and the potential monetary fines, motorists continue to throw rubbish from their car windows,” Mr O’Dea said.
“It’s disappointing, because litter dropped in streets and along the sides of roads can be washed or blown into creeks and rivers, polluting land, waterways and ocean environments.
“RAA is urging motorists to do the right thing and put their rubbish in the correct bin.”
Drink containers make up less than 4% of the litter thrown from cars, while paper accounts for almost 13%.
What happens if you get dobbed in?
Motorists who litter from their vehicle face various penalties, depending on what they’re littering.
“Fines range from $210 for general litter, to $500 for Class B hazardous litter which includes lit cigarettes or butts, used syringes and glass,” Mr O’Dea said.
“For quantities over 50L – classed as illegal dumping – people face fines of $1000.”
Maximum penalties range from $50,000 to $120,000 and can also attract a $60 Victims of Crime Levy.
Where are motorists littering?
The northern suburbs region – which spans from Prospect to Gawler and encompasses Mawson Lakes – received the most reports, accounting for 29% of littering cases.
Almost a quarter of littering cases occurred in the southern suburbs, while east of the city accounted for just 8% of reports.
How do I report a litterer?
The Dob in a Litterer app is available from Apple and Google Play stores; alternatively, reports can be lodged on the EPA website.
If the information provided is sufficient, an expiation notice will be issued to the owner of the vehicle linked to the littering.
Mr O’Dea urged motorists not to use their mobile phones to take a photograph or submit a report on the app while driving.
“Not only is it dangerous to yourself and road users, it’s also illegal and can attract a fine of $334 plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy and 3 demerit points,” he says.
“Motorists making a report should ensure they’ve provided enough information and that it’s accurate.
“They also might have to provide a statement and be prepared to attend court as a witness if the matter is contested.”