CARB’s Score Card for “Clean Truck Month”

August was a big month for the California Air Resources Board’s enforcement people.  They spread out across the state, visiting CHP weight stations, truck stops, harbor facilities and other locations, inspecting 7,224 heavy-duty diesel trucks and writing 817 tickets for violations of at least eight different CARB regulations.

Paul Jacobs, chief of mobile source enforcement, gave us the “scorecard” on this intense enforcement action, noting that there was, in fact, a fairly high level of compliance with many of the rules.

Jacobs said that the agency is following up on the August inspections, with fleet inspections for those unlucky enough to own more than one truck in California.  CARB suspects that if one truck in the fleet is out of compliance, more are likely to be as well. 

This process will take several months, so the final financial damages won’t be known until sometime next year. 

The agency can levy civil fines of either $1,000 or $10,000 per violation per day and higher if not corrected, based on the state’s health and safety code for most tickets.  The tickets are cheaper for smoke testing ($300 for first violation, $800 for second and

$1800 for additional violations within 12 months) and the same for a missing engine certification label.  CARB has 45 different regulations with fines attached in their enforcement effort, so make sure they clearly spell out what you are accused of violating.

If you are very polite during the process, they will usually settle for less…if not, they can and have pursued criminal charges where the fines can go up to $40,000 per day per machine.  They have to be polite, or at least professional, thanks to the passage of S.B. 1402 (Dutton-R 31) a couple of years ago.

In addition to fines, there will likely be other costs—installation of diesel particulate filters ($10,000 to $25,000 or more), smoke inspection costs ($60 to $90 per engine per year);  even getting a new engine label cans cost upwards of $250.  Oddly enough, the most frequent citation (at least in percentage terms), violating the 5-minute idling rule is the cheapest in compliance costs—just turn off the engine.

Here’s the latest tally on August 2012 tickets—the scorecard, so far:

Rule Inspection Violations Compliance Percentage
Drayage—port trucks 282 25 91%
Engine Label Missing 1218 174 86%
Garbage Truck 36 4 89%
Idiling 396 187 53%
Off Road 5 1 80%
On Road (1996-99) 1325 191 86%
Smoke Testing 1994 23 99%
TRU – refrigeration unit 993 212 79%

If you are thinking of challenging the ticket in court, let us know…we can help your attorney with tons of information about the underlying basis for all of these regulations…and frankly, nothing will stop CARB in their quest for regulation short of a successful court fight.

This is why the California Construction Trucking Association (CCTA) is in federal court in Sacramento, trying to overturn the on-road heavy diesel truck rule.

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