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Tossing litter s illegal and unsafe

Littering in South Dakota is an environmental issue and qualifies as a criminal offense,...
Littering in South Dakota is an environmental issue and qualifies as a criminal offense, punishable with a fine. (KOTA)
Published: Nov. 20, 2019 at 5:43 PM CST
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The Rapid City Police Department is reminding drivers that throwing trash out of a moving vehicle is illegal and qualifies as littering.

Littering in South Dakota is a criminal offense -- a class two misdemeanor punishable with a citation of $122.

Fred Baxter is a patrolman for the Rapid City Police Department and said the appearance of trash on streets, in ditches, and on sidewalks is bad enough... but throwing trash out from the window of a moving vehicle could cause an accident by impairing the vision of other drivers.

"Generally, people are on their best behavior when they see the police cars so that is not the point in time when they see any normal vehicle doing whatever they want, but again they kind of clean up their act when they see the red and blue lights on top. Sometimes people are not as intelligent as others and they leave their mail into bags and things they throw out so in that case you could track somebody down, getting an address and name, knocking on their door and giving them a citation for their efforts," said Baxter.

Baxter said catching a person who littered can be difficult for the police department. If a person knows a vehicle's license plate number that littered, they can issue a citizens arrest.

In South Dakota, litter over 5 pounds could result in larger fines and result in the offender being required to pick up trash for a length of time determined by the court.