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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

America: The Land Of Litterbugs

     Modern cars and truck are smart. They give you directions to unfamiliar places, remind you to fasten your seatbelts, alert you to a cracked door, a low tire, or a problem with your engine. Some day all vehicles will drive themselves. It's too bad some genius hasn't invented an automotive feature that prevents occupants from littering our roads, streets and highways. 

     Notwithstanding ad campaigns against littering, laws against it, and millions of trash containers, our country is buried in garbage chucked from cars and trucks; 51 billions pieces of it every year. The debris generated by our modern lifestyle is not only ugly, it can be carried by storm drains into local waterways. At $11.5 billion a year, it is also costly to cleanup. Littering is a huge problem and a national disgrace.

Littering in the First-Degree

     In August 2019, Sergeant Stephen Wheeles of the Indiana State Police, while cruising I-65 in Johnson County, was startled when a dirty diaper tossed out of the vehicle in front of him slapped loudly against his patrol car.

     Officer Wheeles activated his emergency lights and pulled over the car carrying a passenger seated next to a child in the back seat. The litter suspect, while acknowledging that the soiled diaper had originated from that vehicle, blamed wind blowing though the vehicle.  It was a nice try, but the trooper wasn't stupid. He issued the subject a ticket for littering. If Indiana had a law on the books called first-degree littering, this incident would have qualified.

     Since all of the Keep American Beautiful measures have failed to stop motorists from despoiling our streets, roads and highways with trash, we will just have to hope for the Automatic Automotive Anti-littering (AAA) feature America so badly needs.   

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