Summer is coming, holidays, road trips, relaxation, but also the usual problems of each year. The General Directorate of Traffic warns us every year of daily but very dangerous gestures, which can cost us a fine, the withdrawal of points from the card and, what is even more worrying, much greater misfortunes. The DGT has provided a € 200 fine and the withdrawal of 4 points from the license for throwing a cigarette butt from the car. But, we insist, the greatest risk of an infraction like this is not the possible fine. Throwing a cigarette butt from a car can cause a forest fire, cause a real misfortune, and cause us to face criminal penalties, with much higher fines, and penalties of up to 6 years in prison.
The danger of throwing a burning cigarette butt
According to the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, 80% of forest fires are intentional or originate from negligence or accident. For the topic at hand, 3% of forest fires are caused by a cigarette butt thrown from a car window.
In 2005, a forest fire caused by the carelessness of hikers in a picnic area, in the province of Guadalajara, resulted in 11 deaths. The voracity of the fire that broke out in Guadalajara, which devastated 10,352 hectares of forest, trapped a team of forest agents, who died surrounded by fire. In 2017, a forest fire in Portugal, the causes of which are still unknown, killed 64 people and injured 135 people.
Forest fires are, unfortunately, one of the worst dramas that we experience every summer, because of their destructive power and because of the personal damage they can cause, in the worst case scenario. The risk of throwing a cigarette butt from a car is very high, because of how easy it is that this cigarette, when falling on dry plant matter, can start a fire.
The DGT foresees fines for throwing cigarette butts from the car
The fine for throwing a cigarette butt from a car is € 200 and involves the withdrawal of 4 points from the license. The sanction provided by the DGT is due to non-compliance with article 12 of the Law on Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicles and Road Safety:
4. It is forbidden to throw any object on the road or in its vicinity that could lead to the production of fires or, in general, endanger road safety.
However, forest fires are investigated, the cause of the fire is often identified and regardless of whether the fire was started intentionally, or through negligence or accident, has to face criminal prosecution. Those who caused forest fires such as the one in Guadalajara have had to face a crime of serious recklessness, which carries a sentence of up to 6 years in prison, fines of several thousand euros and compensation that, depending on the severity of the fire, can be in the order of millions of euros.
Throwing other objects from the car also has a fine
We have already seen that the risk of throwing a cigarette butt from a car is very high. So much so that the penalties provided by the DGT seem even small to us. And is that throw other objects, although they do not imply a risk of fire, it is also sanctioned with a € 200 fine and withdrawal of 4 points from the card, as provided for in article 12 of the Law on Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicles and Road Safety:
2. It is forbidden to throw, deposit or abandon on the road objects or materials that may hinder free movement, stop or parking, make them dangerous or deteriorate it or its facilities, or produce in it or in its vicinity effects that modify the appropriate conditions to circulate, stop or park