Swat-A-Litterbug program sees increase in swatting

Posted June 29, 2009

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— The North Carolina Department of Transportation continues to see an increase in the number of roadside littering incidents reported through its Swat-A-Litterbug program.

More than 5,100 littering reports were made from Jan. 1 through June 11, which is nearly 2,000 more reports than were submitted during the same time period last year.

“The Swat-A-Litterbug program aims to educate motorists who fail to secure their loads or intentionally dispose of unwanted trash onto the state’s roadways, while also promoting the state’s efforts of reducing roadside litter,” Transportation Secretary Gene Conti said in a news release.

Motorists seen littering are sent a letter from the state Highway Patrol, which notifies recipients they were observed littering and informs them that littering is an illegal and fineable offense. Fines for littering range from $250 to $2,000 and can include a point on the offender’s driver license, as well as community service work.

Information required to make a report includes the vehicle's license plate number, date and time of the incident, street name, city (if applicable), county and kind of littering observed.

To call in a Swat-A-Litterbug report, dial 1-877-DOT-4YOU.


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  • archmaker Jul 3, 2009

    the only unfortunate part about the SWAT program is that you can only report those with a NC lic. plate. Nothing infuriates me more than to see someone from out of state litering in our backyard.

  • Tax Man Jul 2, 2009

    When I was in California we had a great program - you get caught littering and you get to clean up the highways and public areas for about 6 months - every Sat & Sun! You are supervised and pay a fee of about $60 a month. If you choose not to do this, then you get to spend a couple of weekends in Jail and pay a fine of $1,500. I love to report litterers - don't be tossing stuff out if I am around - I'll even take your picture! Help us clean up NC - it is just common sense to put trash where it belongs. Thanks to all of you who do it right! Shame on you who don't.

  • raybetty99 Jul 2, 2009

    Swat-A-Litterbug is a great program. Especially reporting those when litter blows out of the back of their trucks. When folks become more aware that this is a huge problem, I think they will learn to find a way to secure their load. Those that habitually pitch their trash out the window of their vehicle probably think it is OK as there is already so much litter on the roadside and they are drawn to thinking why not add to it. When the grass is high, it’s an assumption that a can, bottle, and fast food trash will not show and most of it doesn’t until the mowers come through and mow it into bits and pieces and then it’s an ugly sight.

    Litter will always be a problem however, I believe a combination of enforcing the law for those that are caught, the Swat-A-Litterbug program and all of us working together to keep the litter picked up where we live and work will make a difference.

  • ecukitten Jul 1, 2009

    I was reported by this program for throwing a cigarette out in a parking lot. I received the letter they are talking about, and a plastic bag reminding me where to put my trash. I went out and bought one of those cup ash trays for my car a few weeks later (since my car wasn't equiped with one from the manufacturer) and that's where I put my cigarettes now.

    Not that the letter or the "citizens arrest" did any good (I acutally laughed at it, I mean a plastic bag - really???) - I just thought I should think of the enviroment for once.

  • tarheelalum Jun 30, 2009

    I don't think it would be legal to issue a ticket based on an observation by a non-LEO since you could then just report everyone you don't like! It does serve as a great deterrent though b/c it lets these people know they're not anonymous and people do actually notice their disgusting behavior! Anything to make people think twice the next time is a success!!!

  • jobchick2004 Jun 30, 2009

    I didn't realize the DA's dropped the charges . . .how awful. I'm at least on the Swat website once a week, reporting someone!

  • BeenHereSince67 Jun 30, 2009

    Now if only the charges wouldn't be automatically dropped by the DAs on the day of trial, and if only the Judges would impose fines on the high end of the scale, then MAYBE the worthless trash who litter our roads would get the message and stop doing it.
    Fat chance tho ...