Answers to Go with Susan Smith

Littering in Texas

Q. I was driving on Hopkins and got really mad when a passenger in the car in front of me threw fast food trash out the window – right near the river. I got his license plate number. Is there anything I can do?

A. When you see litter thrown or flying out of a vehicle, intentionally or accidentally, take down the following information – license plate number, make and color of vehicle, date and time, location, who tossed the litter, and what was tossed. You’ll fill in that information on the Don't Mess With Texas website.

TxDOT compares the information through the Department of Motor Vehicles registration database, and when an exact match is located, they send the litterer a Don’t Mess with Texas litterbag along with a letter reminding litterbugs to keep their trash off of our roads.

The Don’t Mess with Texas website includes a number of litter facts:

  • Litter fact # 6: “You can be fined $500 every time you litter in Texas. And, if what you toss weighs more than five pounds, you may have to pay up to $2,000.” I imagine that involves a law enforcement officer. Please don’t attempt a citizen’s arrest!
  • Litter facts #5: “Tobacco trash is the most common form of litter found on Texas roadways; 62 percent of Texas smokers admit to tossing their cigarette butts out of the windows of their cars. Please keep your butts in the vehicle at all times. Thanks.”
  • Litter fact #9: “People who litter cigarette butts are more likely to litter other items. Males between the ages 16 and 34 are the state’s worst litterers.”

Readers, let’s not be smug.

  • Litter fact #1: 1 in 4 Texans admits to littering in the past year.” They can’t all be young men.
  • Litter fact #10: “Litter is trash not disposed of properly in a trashcan. Apple cores are litter, too.”

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666