A bill to increase the fine for littering on a state highway passed unanimously out of the Senate on Tuesday.

The measure, SB44, increases the fine for littering from $100 to as much as $250. In addition, it would raise the fine to as much as $500 for drivers who drop unsecured loads on the highway.

Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, said the bill was aimed at saving the lives of people who must interact with debris and litter on the highway. When debris falls on the road, the Utah Highway Patrol must often go out into the speeding traffic to recover it, said Jones, who is sponsoring the measure.

"It's jeopardizing the lives of our citizens and our highway patrol," she said. "People who cause the problem should pay for the solution."

SB44 now moves to the House for debate.