Indiana State Police are fired up with those people who throw their cigarettes and other lit tobacco products out while driving - and they are combating the problem by handing out tickets.

As part of an effort to help prevent fires during the state’s severe draught, Police Chief Paul Whitesell issued a message this week to troopers detailing the specific course of action that can be taken against people who toss their cigarettes out of car windows.

With eighty-seven Indiana counties under a burn ban due to excessive draught, Whitesell has advised his officers to strictly enforce infractions of this kind.

“I would like to remind you that statutes exist which the Indiana State Police may enforce in an attempt to prevent further fires from beginning within our areas of enforcement,” wrote Whitesell.

Any person disposing of a lit object including cigarettes, cigars and matches out of the window of a moving vehicle commits a Class A offense.

However, pulling over to the side of the road to get rid of your cigarette is not a loophole. People who toss any kind of object from a vehicle that is not moving can be given a citation for littering – a Class B offense.

With an increasing number of fires already this year due to cigarette butts, state authorities are looking for more ways to detour Hoosiers from tossing lit objects out while they are on the road.

“First and foremost, it is littering, but beyond that fact, in these conditions it can result in a fire, it can result in property damage and could cause loss of life and we want to avoid that,” said Indiana State Police Captain David Bursten.

Taking a little extra time to properly extinguish lit tobacco products and dispose of them properly will go a long way to protect against further fire damage during draught conditions.