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Updated: Tuesday, 17 Jul 2012, 7:45 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 17 Jul 2012, 9:41 AM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Indiana State Police are warning motorists they will pull you over and cite you if they see you throw a cigarette or any type of burning material out of your car window.
ISP is reminding its officers to enforce burn bans to protect the safety of Indiana citizens and natural resources.
ISP officials sent a memo to troopers urging them to keep a careful eye on motorists who toss cigarettes out windows. The ongoing drought brings an increased fire hazard to the state, especially when people are throwing lit tobacco products from their vehicles, ISP said.
ONLINE EXTRA | View the statewide burn ban map.
Leaving a burning tobacco product anywhere but a proper trash bin will be considered a Class B infraction under the burn ban. Troopers are being asked to strictly enforce burn bans.
Two Indiana laws allow officers to cite drivers for tossing a cigarette or other burning materials from a vehicle.
If burning materials are thrown from a moving vehicle, it could prompt a fine of up to $10,000. If thrown from a stopped vehicle, that is considered littering and could prompt a fine of up to $1,000.
"Our primary focus with these weather conditions would be to look out and observe for people throwing any type of burning material from their vehicle," said ISP Trooper Taylor Shafer.
The goal is to cut down on the number of fires popping up along interstates and busy roads - fires that may have started from a tossed cigarette.
One danger comes from the smoke that can blow across busy thoroughfares as a grassy area or median burns.
"It really does get dangerous for people traveling, especially during the rush hour time of the day," said Shafer.