Why ‘carbage’ is a highways headache

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New research from Green Flag breakdown service has revealed the scale of Britain’s ‘carbage’ problem, with nine million drivers (18 per cent) owning up to throwing litter from their cars in the last year.

More than 29 million cigarette butts, 17.4 million food items and 5.2 million tissues have been thrown from car windows by inconsiderate drivers who care little for keeping Britain tidy.

The top 5 items thrown from cars are:

Cigarette butts (29 million)

Food (17.4 million items including fast food)

Food wrappers (11.8 million)

Drinks bottles and cans (6.2 million)

Tissues (5.2 million)

The research found 11 million pieces of fruit, 4.5 million sweet wrappers and 2.9 million items of fast food such as burgers, pizza slices and fried chicken have been jettisoned through car windows by drivers in the last year.

Drivers excuse their actions by claiming they throw out items to prevent a smell building up (27%) and more than one in five (22%) claim it is to prevent their car becoming cluttered. A lazy 17% of drivers said they couldn’t wait for a bin, while 16% claimed they couldn’t stop to deposit items because the road was too busy.

Miranda Schunke of Green Flag, said: “It is disgraceful that our roads are being clogged up with rubbish from motorists who are too lazy to find a bin. Not only is litter unsightly, it is hazardous to the wildlife that lives in our verges and hedgerows and can pose a risk to other road users.

“All drivers have a responsibility to keep our roads clean and safe. Motorists should also be aware if they eat, drink or smoke behind the wheel, they risk between three and nine penalty points for not driving with due care and attention.”

For the majority of drivers (58%), a £50 fine would be sufficient to stop them throwing litter from their vehicles.

However, for a third of drivers (33%) the threat of litter picking community service would be enough to stop them dumping rubbish from car windows. Drivers can be issued with a £80 fixed penalty notice if caught dropping litter.

The worst affected areas by drivers littering are London (21%) and the South East (21%) falling to just 15% in the North West, South West and Scotland.