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MDOT discontinues trash hotline number
January 27, 2009 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will discontinue the 1-800-44-TRASH hotline number on Feb. 1, 2009. The phone number has been posted on signs along state highways for the convenience of motorists.
The toll-free number was created in 1988 in the metro Detroit area, and expanded statewide in late 1990. The department's Maintenance staff has been evaluating the effectiveness of the hotline for several years, and concluded that the majority of calls have been unrelated to significant trash problems, or not related to trash in Michigan at all.
"We received several hundred calls a year, a number that has been decreasing," said Jon Reincke, MDOT engineer of operations. "It's rare to get calls that report a significant trash problem. Instead, we hear about minor litter problems such as cigarette butts, and even calls about out-of-state trash. It is clear that the hotline has outlived its usefulness."
Reincke explained that the program was started to help reduce the amount of debris falling from uncovered commercial vehicles.
In January 2006, MDOT determined that the program would be phased out and the roadside signs displaying the toll-free number removed. Most of the signs are now gone; the remainder will be removed by this summer.
Motorists who want to report a significant trash problem on any state highway can call their local MDOT Transportation Service Center; or if trash on the highway presents a dangerous driving condition, call 911.
Littering is against the law in Michigan. The anti-litter law presumes that the driver of the vehicle is responsible for litter. The law sets the maximum fine for littering at $400 and provides a maximum 90-day jail sentence.
MDOT says: Remember - in Ice and Snow, Take it Slow!