Posted on April 2, 2013 at 8:05 AM
AUSTIN, Texas -- A new ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’ campaign will kick off.
On Tuesday morning at the State Capitol, the campaign will start targeting the state's worst offenders when it comes to highway littering: young adults between the ages of 16 and 34.
The Texas Department of Transportation will debut a slew of the iconic red, white and blue trash barrels with the words "Don’t Mess with Texas" on them. The barrels will stretch out across the south lawn of the Capitol. Some are designed to "come to life" with dancers hidden inside during the event Tuesday.
TxDOT says the barrels will be moved around the state over the next year at rest areas, tourist attractions and sporting venues.
It’s a change for the Don’t Mess with Texas campaign. In its first year in 1986, TxDOT debuted a public service announcement during the Cotton Bowl featuring Stevie Ray Vaughn. Since then ads have included other memorable icons including Willie Nelson, Chuck Norris, Erykah Badu and George Foreman.
TxDOT says the outreach makes a difference.
“Things are improving. We are seeing that people are doing a better job. a lot of it has to do with personal responsibility and you know, taking pride and ownership in your state,” said TxDOT spokesperson Kelli Petras in 2011.
Despite the years of outreach Texas still spends millions cleaning up the 80,000 miles of state roads. TxDOT says its crews typically find fast food packaging, cigarette butts, candy wrappers and plastic bags.
Anyone caught littering along Texas roads will be fined up to $500 for the first offense. Repeat offenders face fines of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail.