Coal Rolling Ban in New Jersey, please tell me Washington’s next

A Coal Rolling ban in New Jersey has been signed into law by Governor Chris Christie. Coal Rolling is when trucks, usually with retrofitted diesel engines, blow thick smoke out stacks or tail pipes and onto unsuspecting victims.

With the enactment of S2418, rolling coal (or coal rolling) is now illegal in the state. The source of many internet videos, coal rolling isn’t just bad for the environment, but is also an unfriendly practice for people’s health.

Soot, smoke and other particulates are ejected from the tailpipes or exhaust stacks of (usually) trucks and inhaled by drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and anyone else using the roads – which isn’t that great.

Seattle, and Washington in general, is an eco-friendly, outdoorsy area; we walk, we bike, we drive and we don’t like mixing that with the smell and feel of thick exhaust.

Washington State’s emissions testing generally finds most vehicles rolling coal as the vehicle’s exhaust is now running more rich and can’t pass emissions.

The Clean Car Law, also known as RCW 46.16A.060, requires vehicles, model year 2009 and newer, registered in Washington to be certified to Californian emissions standards, some of the toughest in the nation. For cars older than 2009, the vehicle must pass emissions inspection tests every 2 years.

However, in more rural areas and with trucks older than 20 years old, emissions testing isn’t required; rural areas are also where you find trucks rolling coal more often.

However, going even further into the laws, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Act (CAA) clearly states a federal ban on emissions tampering.

“The CAA prohibits anyone from tampering with an emission control device on a motor vehicle,” the CAA states. “A vehicle’s emission control system is designed to limit emissions of harmful pollutants from vehicles or engines.”

While rolling coal is seen more in rural areas of the state, it does happen in the more densely populated areas; including last Friday in Kirkland when this reporter, with the top down on the Miata, was coal rolled by a delivery truck.