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It’s time to butt heads with 'buttheads'

By: Tim Cusack

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 06:00 am

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Believe it or not, one of the features that still comes standard with most makes of vehicles is an ashtray. By definition, an ashtray is a receptacle where ash and butts from cigarettes are to be deposited and later disposed of. Once full, the ashtray can be emptied and cleaned. But, today we live in a self-centred society where common sense is as elusive as a Leaf’s Stanley Cup and the default ashtray for flicking cigarette butts has become dear old Mother Earth.

I find myself growing frustrated at the many times in the run of week, when right here on St. Albert streets, I see a cigarette butt being flicked out of the window from the vehicle ahead. This is not a knock against smokers. If smoking is a choice you make so be it. All I ask is that you respect the environment by using the ashtray in your vehicle instead of littering and potentially starting a fire. What’s that? You don’t want to dirty up your car with the ashes and butts? Then, what gives you the right to jettison your butts on our streets? Would you like them flicked on your lawn?

According to Part 10 of the St. Albert Traffic Bylaw, under Miscellaneous Provisions (Paragraph 59), one reads, “No Person shall dispose of any refuse or place any substance or thing within a Public Place except in designated disposal or recycle receptacles, or as authorized in accordance with this or any other Bylaw, provincial enactment or federal enactment.” Guess what Beavis … a city road is not a designated disposal or recycle receptacle; your ashtray is. This means you cannot flick your butts out the window onto streets. It is littering and will net you a $250 fine. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Every time you toss a butt out your window it is truly a reckless act. It has the potential to start a fire that could impact other motorists, property owners and emergency responders who are called to a situation that simply could have been avoided. I have had butts bounce off the hood of my vehicle though more often than not, I see them, still smoking, roll towards the grassy roadside.

The “Traffic Bylaw” reads, “71. (1) A person who contravenes any provision of this Bylaw is guilty of an offence.(2) When a Vehicle is operated or Parked or Stopped in contravention of any provision of this Bylaw, the Owner shall be deemed to have committed the corresponding offence.” I would love to see maximum enforcement of this bylaw as there is simply too much at stake in safeguarding our environment to simply let this bad habit persist.

Forgive me for my lack of filter but there can be no buts about it … butt flickers are buttheads.

Tim Cusack is an educator, writer and member of the naval reserve.


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