Posted: Jan 2, 2012 6:16 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Jan 2, 2012 6:16 PM
BATON ROUGE - A new law went into effect Sunday that hopes to squash litterbugs before they become licensed drivers.
The new law requires driver's education classes to teach students about the consequences of litter. Senator Fred Mills, who sponsored the bill, told News 2 he hopes targeting a younger generation will help start a trend that will save the state money.
"State and local governments spend a minimum of $40 million a year just to pick up trash," Leigh Harris with Keep Louisiana Beautiful said. She bases the number on a study the foundation commissioned a year ago.
But tax money doesn't generally raise many teenage eyebrows.
Driving Instructor Willie Chube knows what does: threats of fines hitting teens wallets.
"[It] gets their eyes open," Chube said. He's been teaching driver's education with Alert Driving School for seven years and already touched on the topic of trash before the law.
Jailand Douzier just graduated from Chube's class and got her license. Now, she says she warns her friends before they roll the window down.
"I can't bail you out!" Douzier says with a laugh. "[Mr. Chube] told me you can go to jail for 30 days. You can [also] be fined, starting at $50 and going up to $5,000."
The new law adds two questions to the test everyone has to take to get a Louisiana driver's license, but Chube says it only takes him about 20 minutes to cover the topic.
It's 20 minutes Harris says will add up to money saved and beauty preserved across the state.
"I'd like to say ten years from now that this state is as clean as it is beautiful," Harris said.
Many schools are already teaching about trash, but Harris said some will implement the new lesson within the next two weeks.