Chesterton Tribune

State Police cracking down on cigarette litterers

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The Superintendent of the Indiana State Police is alerting all area and district commanders to enforce the statewide burn ban due to the current severe drought conditions.

Superintendent Paul Whitesell said burn bans have been generally enacted by local governmental entities passing emergency orders/ordinances which local law enforcement is tasked to enforce, but there are state statutes, he said, that exist which the State Police may enforce in an attempt to prevent fires from starting.

Indiana Code 35-45-3-3 states that a person who throws a lighted cigarette, cigar, match or other burning material from a moving motor vehicle commits a Class A infraction, Whitesell said.

Although the law requires that the material is burning and that the vehicle is in motion, the occupant of a vehicle may still be cited for littering, a Class B infraction, if they recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally place or leave refuse on property of another person, except in a container provided for refuse.

The littering statute sets forth that littering committed from a moving vehicle, other than a public conveyance, constitutes prima facie evidence that it was committed by the operator of the vehicle, Whitesell said.

“As Indiana State Troopers, we have the discretion to take enforcement action under those statutes, thus doing our part to protect the safety of the citizens, in addition to the natural resources of Indiana,” Whitesell said.

Indiana is currently suffering from severe to extreme drought conditions throughout the majority of the State. The drought has created an extremely sensitive environmental climate that is particularly susceptible to burning materials and several significant fires have already resulted.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security reports that 85 counties in the State of Indiana have active burn bans as of July 15.

According to the DHS website this morning, Porter County has no report of enacting a burn ban.

 

 

Posted 7/17/2012