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Jugs of Pee

Where's a 2-story outhouse when you need it?

Washington State gets tough with its 2003 Anti-Urine-filled bottles campaign....
Washington State gets tough with its 2003 Anti-Urine-filled bottles campaign....

Jugs of Pee appear to be a national epidemic, although reports continue to emanate chiefly from the West. The littering of highways with urine-filled plastic bottles is traditionally linked to weak bladdered long-haul rig drivers, despite official denials by trucker trade associations.

Now authorities suspect a crossover into the general driving population, judging by the amount of bottles surprising road crews. Crews in southeastern Washington state reported over 1,000 bottles in a one month period for a 100 mile section of highway.

The bottles are predominantly plastic beverage containers from convenience stores -- milk, juice, etc. Capped and thrown from a moving vehicle, some retain their seal. In the summer heat, urine bottles build up pressure and when nudged by a clean-up crew may explode, or be spun into the air by lawnmower blades.

In recent years, states have added laws to the books to punish pee tossers. In 1999, North Dakota opted not to post urine bottle fine signs on all its highways -- the state legislature decided it would hurt an already poor state image.

Truck drivers officially condemn the practice, and feel they have been unfairly stained with accusations and innuendo. But then there's the case of the big rig driver found dead in a one-vehicle accident in Utah, his pants down around his knees and an open plastic bottle of urine on the cab floor....

California had insisted in the past that it didn't have much of a problem, citing plentiful fast food restrooms as deterrents. Yet one Adopt-a-Highway Safety Bulletin from that state addresses Urine Bottle handling for clean-up volunteers, noting "report the urine to Caltrans... Sometimes people use unclosed, recyclable containers for urine disposal. If your group takes home recyclable items for redemption, please use caution. Resist the temptation to empty containers of unknown liquids." Other state Adopt-a-Highway programs in the west caution volunteers to leave the urine-filled bottles for the pros.

As despicable as the Jugs of Pee issue is, it fades to a pale yellow when compared to the little reported Bags o' BM problem. Crews are stumbling upon plastic bags containing human feces.

We don't get how this even works.

With Jugs of Pee, drivers don't have to slow down to commit the crime. How are drivers managing this BM feat? The ratio appears to be roughly 20:1 -- for every 1,000 bottles of urine there are about 50 bags of feces.

We found info on Jugs of Pee in news accounts, but activity reported east of the Mississippi is oddly absent. We're asking roadtrippers this summer to keep one eye on the shoulder and tell us what you're seeing, and who's peeing.

OUR OFFICIAL POSITION: condemns the practice of peeing into a bottle or crapping into a bag and tossing on a US highway. You animals.

September 2008: A new flap of urine-filled bottles erupted in Oregon along I-84. The media seems to want to tie it to this year's elevated gas prices, which apparently puts more pressure on the bladders of long-haul truckers to stay on the road and pee in plastic bottles.

August 2006: Officials increasingly refer to pee bottles as "Trucker Bombs."

The Utah Department of Transportation reports that their maintenance crews pick up 20,000 urine bottles a year. Zip-Lock Bags are also carrying unwanted payloads.

March 2004: Western states clamp down! Effective July 1, 2004, the state of Wyoming will charge apprehended pee bottlers and crap baggers with a misdemeanor, subject to $1,000 maximum fine and possibly even time in a jail cell. Montana passed similar legislation in 2003.

July 2003: Washington state launched an agressive public awareness campaign to combat the proliferation of Jugs of Pee on its highways. One poster depicts a gallon milk jug, partly filled with an amber liquid, above the text: "Okay, one last time: This is not a urinal." While well-intentioned, we fear this may act as a "how-to" guide to copycat jug pissers.

A Trucker's Perspective

Bob Bobber writes:
I found your page on truckers and pee bottles and found it very funny, because it is true. I was an over the road driver for 7 years. I was 21 when I started driving, a clean non-smoker, determined not to live up (actually, down) to the stereotype of a trucker most people think of.

Most drivers out there pee whenever, and wherever, like a bunch of animals. Even when parked for the night at a truckstop, many drivers just pee right on the pavement by their truck. If you don't believe this, walk across a truckstop when it starts to rain and note the smell, then go home and burn your shoes.

There is no excuse for that. Peeing in bottles is brought on by ridiculous schedules and nowhere to park something that big. It was not uncommon to go over 100 miles without finding anywhere to park a truck safely and legally. Most car drivers, if they have to pee, just take the next exit and hit a gas station -- no big deal.

Trucks can't just take any exit, there are weight and height laws, the possibility of not being able to get turned around again, and many more problems. So, we have to take what we get. I challenge any driver out there to hold it 100 miles. It can't be done.

I am not ashamed to say I used pee bottles regularly when I ran time-sensitive air freight, but in a responsible way. Most truckstops have shower rooms that are very nice and private like a hotel, and you can use them if you fuel there. So I would put my bottle(s) in my shower bag and dump them down the toilet, and throw the bottles away. Big deal
right? How hard is that to do?

Truckers are just lazy when they throw them out on the road like that, and it just perpetuates the public's horrible image of the disgusting pigs many drivers are.

For the few who are clean and responsible, kudos! For the 85% that are slobs, grow up!
[Jan. 3, 2005]

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