French driver accuses police of throwing cigarette butt out of car
A French driver went to authorities in Catalonia, Spain, for throwing a cigarette butt out of his vehicle window.
Spanish police were looking for the driver earlier this week after a video of him throwing the butt of his car in Palafrugell, near Girona, went viral on social media.
Online commentators have criticized the driver for his dangerous behavior, as the area is currently experiencing high temperatures, which puts it at maximum risk of forest fires.
The local police then launched a manhunt using surveillance videos to find the driver of the vehicle, which is registered in France.
The people of Palafrugell also helped with the search. In a tweet, local authorities thanked them for sending pictures of the vehicle when it was spotted in the area.
The driver, who was on vacation in Spain, went to the police this morning and was fined € 200, the French press reported.
One in three admits to having thrown cigarettes while driving in France
In France, drivers who throw cigarette butts out of their vehicle can be fined € 135. If the butt causes damage such as fire, it can go up to a fine of € 3,750 and six months in prison, or even more severe penalties if the damage is severe.
Motorway concessionaire Vinci Autoroutes found that one in three people in France who smoke and drive admitted to throwing cigarette butts out of the window in 2020.
He advises smokers to bring a pocket ashtray when driving to store cigarette butts, or to use the ashtrays available at gas stations.
Cigarette butts that are not disposed of properly can cause great damage. A single cigarette butt takes up to 12 years to decompose if thrown in natural areas and is capable of polluting up to 500 liters of water.
During periods of dry weather and heatwaves, the risk of cigarette butts causing devastating forest fires is high.
Weeks before the French driver was fined in Palafrugell, the region experienced massive forest fires which destroyed 415 hectares of vegetation in Cap de Creus National Park.
Investigations revealed that the fires were caused by a cigarette butt.
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Nearly 900 hectares destroyed in a huge forest fire in the south of France
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