As New South Wales battles its biggest bushfire emergency ever, the state government has announced heavy penalties for anyone caught tossing a lit cigarette out of a vehicle.
And the penalties are indeed brutal. Five demerit points off your licence is the best-case scenario if you’re found flicking a burning cigarette out your car window, while your passengers won’t get off lightly either. For them, it’ll be a $660 fine.
However, if you’re foolish enough to do so during a total fire ban, the penalty for drivers jumps to 10 demerits and a fine of up to $11,000. Passengers will have to fork out $1320 if they commit the same offence.
And that’s all on top of the potential penalties you’d face if you end up actually igniting a fire – which not only includes hefty financial penalties, but possible jail time.
The NSW Rural Fire Service Association president Brian McDonough said the new fines should make smokers think twice before ejecting a cigarette from their car.
“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.”
Seen someone throw out a cigarette from a car? Let the Rural Fire Service know on 1800 679 737.