Green Flag has highlighted the growing problem of carbage – when motorists throw litter from their cars rather than properly disposing of the waste items.
New figures from the breakdown service firm reveal that as many as one in five motorists may be guilty of this practice, with around nine million drivers believed to have disposed of rubbish in this way over the past year.
The research found that cigarette butts were the most common carbage item with 29 million dumped over the course of the last year. Food was the second most popular with 17.4 million pieces thrown out in this way, while food wrappers accounted for 11.8 million.
Drivers responding in the study also produced a range of excuses, with 27 per cent of guilty motorists claiming they did so to avoid a smell building up, while 22 per cent wanted to avoid cluttering up their car.
A further 17 per cent meanwhile confessed that they chose to desposit items in this way because they could not wait for a bin.
Miranda Schunke, spokesperson for Green Flag, described the practice as "disgraceful."
"All drivers have a responsibility to keep our roads clean and safe," she said.
"Motorists should also be aware if they eat, drink or smoke behind the wheel, they risk between three and nine penalty points for not driving with due care and attention."
London was the worst region for littering, with 21 per cent of motorists confessing to the practice.
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