Drivers who throw lit cigarettes out the window of a vehicle will be fined up to $11,000 under tough new penalties introduced by the NSW Government.
The standard penalty for throwing a lit cigarette out the window will become five demerit points, rising to 10 demerit points and a fine of up to $11,000 if the driver commits the offence during a total fire ban.
Police Minister David Elliott said it's the first time a demerit point penalty has been imposed on this type of offence.
More than 200 people have been caught carelessly tossing a lit cigarette this year alone in NSW.
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"We had an early start to the fire season this year, and just 19 days into summer, we've seen almost three million hectares burnt, more than 700 homes destroyed, and, tragically, six lives lost," Mr Elliott said.
"Firefighters have been on the frontline fighting the blazes day and night and this kind of criminal foolishness will not be tolerated."
The increased penalties will not only apply to drivers.
If a passenger is caught tossing a lit cigarette on or near the roadway they will be hit with a $660 fine which will also double during total fire bans.
NSW Rural Fire Service Association president Brian McDonough welcomed the crackdown on irresponsible behaviour.
"This reckless behaviour puts the safety of firefighting volunteers at risk and I hope this move makes people think very carefully about the consequences of their actions next time they go to discard a lit cigarette," Mr McDonough said.
This reckless behaviour puts the safety of firefighting volunteers at risk ...- NSW Rural Fire Service Association president Brian McDonough
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a maximum temperature of 41 degrees Celsius today, followed by 43 on Friday and 45 on Saturday.
NSW Police and local authorities will enforce the new tosser penalties, which come into effect on January 17, 2020.
To report someone who has thrown a lit cigarette out the window of a vehicle, contact the NSW Rural Fire Service hotline on 1800 679 737.
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