A Victoria driver now has 575 reasons to buy a car ash tray after throwing a lit cigarette butt out their window in the view of Victoria Police Department Chief Const. Del Manak.
Manak pulled the driver over on Highway 17 near Quadra Street Saturday night and issued a $575 fine for the “drop, release or mishandle burning substance” offence under section 3(1) of the Wildfire act.
“I think that many of the people who do this, probably aren’t aware of what they’re doing and the risks they are creating by throwing a lit cigarette out…I think it’s out of sight, out of mind for a lot of people,” Manak said.
“This isn’t about targeting smokers or anything like that,” he added. “But in light of what we’ve seen in this province, with wildfires, and the risk that our firefighters are put under when they are putting these fires out, and the significant cost to all citizens and nature and animals, it goes on and on and on…And then, I can’t help but think, if this is what you’re doing while you’re driving, what would you do at the park? at the lake? at the campsite?”
Manak wrote a ticket last year for the same offence. He says in both cases, the drivers seemed oblivious to the fire risk they had created.
“Both drivers weren’t thinking clearly and didn’t think they were creating a fire risk,” he said. “I don’t think people are automatically careless, if they knew what they’re doing, they probably wouldn’t do it. They’re just complacent and they do it thinking they’re not impacting anything.
I won’t tolerate it. If it happens in front of me and I see it…I definitely will make the traffic stop and write a ticket for it.”
Manak says the same fine is also applicable for pedestrians who toss a cigarette on the ground.
“It doesn’t necessarily apply to when you’re driving. It could be when you’re walking…it applies to any type of burning substance which would be a cigar, a cigarrette or anything else you have that is disposed of improperly.”