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Is leaving grass clippings on the road illegal?

HENRY COUNTY – After a staggering amount of request, we have decided to answer this question: Is leaving grass clippings on roads illegal? To put it in a straightforward answer, no it is not illegal. At least not in the City of Martinsville or in Henry County. Let us explain as this subject can be quite complicated.

Some of the concerns that come with clippings in roadways are that they create a slick surface dangerous to motorcyclists and can create sewage and drainage problems.

The 2006 Code of Virginia 18.2-324 says the following:

No person shall throw or deposit or cause to be deposited upon any highwayany glass bottle, glass, nail, tack, wire, can, or any other substance likely to injure any person or animal, or damage any vehicle upon such highway, norshall any person throw or deposit or cause to be deposited upon any highway any soil, sand, mud, gravel or other substances so as to create a hazard to the traveling public. Any person who drops, or permits to be dropped orthrown, upon any highway any destructive, hazardous or injurious materialshall immediately remove the same or cause it to be removed. No one may throw or deposit any substance onto a road that creates a hazard to the traveling public.

With that being said, each municipality decides whether or not they have laws in place to make it illegal to leave grass on roadways.

In August, the City of Covington put in place a new ordinance against blowing grass clippings onto the sidewalk and streets. Covington Police said they will give warnings before a ticket.

After speaking with Henry County officials, they said if a case came up when it could be proven that grass clipping caused an accident or harm to others and went before a court of law, the court would decide how to interpret the Code of Virginia. The court could decide yes, someone can be found guilty because the law says “any other substance” meaning that grass is any other substance. Or no because the Code of Virginia doesn’t specify grass.

At the end of the day, we understand how grass clippings on streets can be dangerous. We can leave them on the road or be a good person and rake them up.

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