Thursday, March 15, 2007

Texans Beware: The Eyes of a Stranger are Upon You.

Don't Mess With Texas. It's a very well known slogan not only within Texas, but to outsiders as well. It is an ad campaign used by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to remind motorists not to litter on Texas roads. This campaign has been around for years, and for the most, part, people have obeyed the law. If someone decides to say, toss a cigarette but out the window, they can get a $500 fine if an officer of the law catches someone littering. What most people don't know, is that litterbugs can be reported to the Don't Mess With Texas website.

My friend's father received a letter in the mail from TxDOT last week, stating that someone saw him throwing out his cigarette butt (his car doesn't come with an ashtray), and it listed 'important' facts about littering in Texas. The letter details his license plate, make, model, the location, and date and time of the offense. In other words, while driving, somebody took their time (and the safety of others) to write down the license plate, make, model, location, and time. While they were driving. Obviously the environment meant more to him than the safety of fellow motorists tossing out their butts.
While obviously we prefer a cleaner, litter free world, it shouldn't have to involve a citizen writing down information while driving. We should let our current police officers do their job and enforce the laws. Whats more, it is not doubtful that the Sate of Texas has on record the fact that someone has reported my friend's father littering. Now, if an officer were to catch him, he'd be more likely to receive a citation, as opposed to a friendly warning. A cigarette butt on the road shouldn't be worth $500, unless the litterer has been caught littering before. Whats more, modern cars should come with ashtrays so drivers wouldn't have to toss their butts in the first place.