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CHP Cracking Down on Litterbugs During 'Don't Trash California' Campaign

The statewide campaign is intended to increase awareness of the costs and dangers of tossing trash on the highway

Patch photo archive
Patch photo archive
By Bay City News Service—    

The California Highway Patrol and Caltrans will be out in force on Bay Area roads this week to do a little "spring cleaning" and highlight the problem of litter on California's highways.
 
The statewide "Don't Trash California" campaign, which kicks off on Wednesday, aims to increase awareness of the costs of tossing trash on the highway and the danger it poses to other motorists, CHP Sgt. Diana McDermott said.
 
"We want to continue to educate the public on the costs of littering and the danger of driving with an improperly secured load," McDermott said.
 
In 2012, Caltrans spent an estimated $50 million to clean up trash left along highways. Workers collected enough roadside litter to fill more than 8,000 garbage trucks, the agency reported. CHP officers will be on the lookout for litterbugs during the campaign, McDermott said.
 
A citation for throwing trash or a cigarette out of a vehicle costs a minimum of $480, CHP Officer Daniel Hill said. Many municipalities double the fine and charge an offender up to $1,000, Hill said. Some offenders are required to pick up trash along the highway as part of a penalty.
 
A truck driver or motorist who unintentionally spills an unsecured load can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined a minimum of $234, Hill said.
 
Ladders, mattresses, and Christmas trees are among the items most commonly spilled, posing a major hazard to other motorists, according to McDermott. Wednesday's litter cleanup event will mark the 11th year that the CHP and Caltrans have teamed up to increase public awareness of litter on highways.
 
Caltrans crews, CHP officers and volunteers will be cleaning up highways at several Bay Area locations on Wednesday, including U.S. Highway 101 south of Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Highway 101 near North San Pedro Road in San Rafael, Interstate Highway 80 near the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, and Highway 101 near Alum Rock Road in San Jose.
 
Anyone who wants information on Caltrans' Adopt-A-Highway Program can call (866) ADOPT-A-HWY or go online at http://adopt-a-highway.dot.ca.gov/.
Becky March 20, 2014 at 01:37 AM
I see people throwing trash on the ground all the time, and it's sickening. They look like nice civilized people, but then you see them throwing their trash there for everyone to see. It's about the most arrogant thing to do.
Spike H March 20, 2014 at 09:33 AM
Why is Caltrans cleaning it up? Don't they have enough to do standing around in orange? Why aren't we making scumbag jailbirds do it? We have a major problem with trash being dumped in and around Livermore and the city and county do NOTHING about it...take a look at Isabel/84/Vallecitos Road near Ruby Hill or take a drive out Tesla sometime...it's disgusting. Give me bags and let me drop it off at the dump free of charge and I'll gladly pick up refuse along the road where I live...
Desert Rat March 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM
Spike I think you hit the nail on the head with the dump comment. I think a lot of people dump larger trash because going to the dump costs a fortune. When I had a couple of mattresses to get rid of, I called the dump and asked how much to drop them off. It was $60 per item, box spring and mattress. $120 to drop off both pieces. This is why I've seen mattresses over in the industrial area, out on the side of Tesla Rd., etc. I ended up cutting both up, stripping out the metal and taking it to the recycling place, then putting the rest in the garbage can. There is no excuse for throwing your fast food bag out on the road. But I can see somebody not wanting to pay a lot of money to go to the dump to drop off a couple of bags of junk from the house. Still, no excuse for littering.
Becky March 21, 2014 at 07:24 PM
Desert Rat, I think You're exactly right about the huge dump fees. I did that same thing you did with a couch. I busted it up with a sledghammer, sawsall, crowbar, and utility knife, and put it in my garbage/greenwaste. A footstool, bathroom vanity, and chair met the same fate.
She March 22, 2014 at 07:21 PM
Instead of throwing away good used items try Urban Orr in Berkeley. They take old items so that older homes can be fixed up for the time period they were built. Or whatever you want older style items for. Just an idea of not filling the dumps. And saving money.

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