DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Litterbugs cost Utah taxpayers $2M a year

May 11, 2022, 9:13 AM
people clean litter along highway...
Ameris Jensen and Ski Jensen pick up a trash and roadside debris along eastbound I-215 between Redwood Road and I-15 in Murray on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Photo credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — Listen up, litterbugs, picking up trash alongside Utah’s highways costs taxpayers $2 million a year, according to the Utah Department of Transportation. Litter on roads can also cost much more than money:

Litter can be deadly 

According to UDOT, road debris causes 1,800 crashes every year

UDOT spokesman John Gleason joined KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and guest host Taylor Morgan to talk about an expensive problem that does not need to exist and is easy enough to make disappear.

“Since I was a kid, I just can’t litter,” Debbie said. “I just will not litter.”

“It’s one of those things that just like you, we just get so irritated by it because it’s unnecessary. It’s something that we can all make the commitment to either not litter or properly secure cargo,” Gleason said.

“I’m shocked that people do this,” Debbie said. “I’m equally as shocked that you’re paying $2 million a year to clean it up.”

In the last five years, both the cost and time to pick up litter have increased 28% for UDOT, Gleason said, adding the cost is drawn from the same budget that funds snowplows and patching potholes.  

“We’ve had a couple of big cleanups that we’ve paired with the communities across the state on and… it costs a lot of time and resources to do this,” he said.

Double fine for littering in Utah?

Under Utah Code, the penalty for littering on a park, recreation area, waterway or other public or private lands:

“A person who violates any of the provisions of Section 76-10-2701 is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $100 for each violation.”

As a public affairs and communications professional, Taylor said he is committed to doubling the fine for being a litter bug.

“So right now on air — Debbie and John, hold me accountable — I’m going to use my lobbying powers of persuasion on Capitol Hill. We’re gonna get a bill file opened. We need to at least double these fines, maybe triple,” Taylor said.

Debbie also had an anti-litter suggestion.

“To add to your pitch to increase the fines, Taylor, I would like to see more drive-thru restaurants commit to putting in a trash can that isn’t full and overflowing.”

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.    

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

supermoon lunar eclipse map...
Curt Gresseth

Be over the moon because total lunar eclipse coming Sunday to Utah

Patrick Wiggins, NASA solar system ambassador to Utah, explains what a total lunar eclipse is and when it can be witnessed Sunday night in Utah -- provided the skies are clear.
4 days ago
mannequins...
Curt Gresseth

Inflation is latest challenge South Salt Lake restaurant taking in stride.

The general manager of the Left Fork Grill, a restaurant in South Salt Lake, sits down to talk about the eatery's tale of survival in overcoming inflation, COVID, supply- chain strain, a worker shortage and neighborhood construction.
5 days ago
bankruptcy...
Curt Gresseth

Utah woman shares how she erased $20,000 in credit-card debt in less than 2 years

By extreme saving and working side hustles, a Utah woman found a way to get out from under $20,200 in credit-card debt. She explains how.
5 days ago
...
Ike Yospe

KSL NewsRadio’s 100th Anniversary Tour

Every week, we'll broadcast from different northern Utah locations, celebrating Utah's communities and families and discussing the issues affecting them most.
7 days ago
Utah water restrictions...
Curt Gresseth

Utah water restrictions vary based on rights and state history

A water rights guru explains why water restrictions vary from city to city in Utah in general and the Weber Water Basin in particular.
8 days ago
The federal tax filing season has begun. And it's going to be tough sledding for the IRS -- and for...
Curt Gresseth

Amid rising prices, should Utah dump state income tax?

A taxpayer's advocate and a state senator discuss whether the state income tax needs to be lower to match Utah's neighbors.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Litterbugs cost Utah taxpayers $2M a year