City Approves Big Fines for Tossing Trash from Cars

Maximum fine increased from $200 to $1,500

Litterbugs may want to think twice about where they toss their trash in Chicago.

The Chicago City Council approved amendments to the city’s municipal code Wednesday that allows Chicago Police to issue fines of up to $1,500 for throwing trash out of car windows.

The amendments, introduced by Ald. Howard Brookins, triple the minimum fine for littering from a vehicle, increasing it from $50 to $150 and also bump the maximum fine from $200 to $1,500.

“The negative impact of chronic littering on the character of our City neighborhoods is tremendous, and the changes put forth in this amended ordinance send a powerful message that we will not tolerate this completely unnecessary and careless act,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

In addition to the change in fines, anyone over 16 years of age who litters out of their vehicles, moving or stationary, could also have their cars impounded.

Illinois was among the top 10 worst states for littering, according to the 2011 American State Litter Scorecard.

They survey based the rankings on litter taxation, comprehensive recycling legislation, debris-related fatal vehicle collisions, and average knowledge of littering and other road laws by licensed drivers, among other things.

Included in the littering category in Illinois are items such as picnic and eating utensils, liquid or beverage containers, tobacco and confection wrappers, candy and ice cream wrappers, food wastes, paper of any type, discarded clothing, boxes or ash.

The new law is set to take effect next month.

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