Diesel Emission Laws in the Moving Industry 

  1. Environmental & Public Health Hazards are Real 
  2. Improving Air Quality & The Environment
  3. Diesel Particulate Filters are Required for Trucks
  4. Compliance is Crucial - You Will Get Fined
  5. Fundamental Programs
  6. Regulation Compliance
  7. Smoke Checks
  8. The Snap Acceleration Test Explained
  9. Visual Inspection
  10. Fines, Fines, & More Fines
  11. The Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP)
  12. Idling Limit Regulations for Trucks
  13. The Importance of Compliance

1. Environmental & Public Health Hazards are Real

Environmental concerns have been a popular subject of debate as of recently. With our natural surroundings increasingly enforcing its own reparations on all people globally. The time for change is now and far too many people disregard it as if it's a folktale and not a scientific fact. Even worse, those who understand the detrimental effects of emissions and air pollutants on the environment are unaware how to take preventative or proactive measures. 

2. Improving Air Quality & The Environment

The federal government has many programs in place to protect the environment. Currently,  the dangerous toxins effecting our global air quality and the ozone are considered a public health hazard. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Air Resources Board (CARB or ARB) are two of the most effective programs put into place to protect and improve the quality by reducing harmful elements affecting both humans and air quality. 

3. Diesel Particulate Filters are Required for Trucks

In 2007 the EPA mandated a law that has greatly impacted the moving industry. This is specifically because many moving businesses necessitate heavy-duty diesel engine trucks to haul freight or household goods. Ten years ago emission standards and regulations were set for all diesel engine vehicles and trucks. It was discovered that diesel emissions exhaust emit large amounts of toxins such as soot, ash, particulate matter, and many other harmful emissions into the air. 

To reduce harmful emissions, regulations stated that a diesel particulate filter (DPF) must be fitted for every diesel truck and even vehicles. A DPF is a filter that is designed to work with the emissions system and catch the soot, ash, and PM, therefore cleaning a trucks exhaust. This component or part has since been regulated and enforced through many different means.

If caught without a DPF fitted, heavy fines were and still are given, set emission standards must be met and can be checked when stopping at weigh stations or truck stops, and other requirements that have developed since. Many enforcement strategies involve large fines on top of repairs, replacements, or installations. 

4. Compliance is Crucial - You WILL Get Fined

Being compliant is the most significant aspect of protecting your business from large fines from the USDOT, the EPA, and ARB, especially if you encounter a surprise audit. The laws and regulations of the industry are constantly being updated, so it is vital that you stay informed of these briefings. This is considered your job as a business owner to keep track of such modifications and stay up to date. Be careful to check regulations if moving from coast to coast especially. For example, California is one of the most strict states regarding emissions control enforcement. Once entering California, your diesel truck must abide by CARB's state regulations to avoid fines. 

It is also an important factor to keep in mind that consumers who are renting moving trucks with diesel engines are either aware of these conditions or the rental companies fleets are all in complete compliance with the law.  

5. Fundamental Programs

Since the 60's, the air quality has drastically improved and has become a substantial field of study. Areas of high air pollution, such as those that are heavily urbanized have become vulnerable points of a question.

Two particular programs are fundamental in their determination to protect human and environmental health: the Clean Air Act and California's Smog Check Program. Utilizing advanced technology, the moving industry has resulted in critical benefits. Advancements in areas protecting air quality and the environment are critical, not only for our generation but for those to come as well.

6. Regulation Compliance

According to some new air quality rules or 'Heavy-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Regulations' commercial truck usage and maintenance systems will be required. The 'On Road Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicle (In-Use) Regulation' or the Truck and Bus Regulation, proceedings were validated and sanctioned by the Air Resources Board (ARB). 

The regulation was put into place in 2008, giving trucks 3 years to meet the start date performance requirements between 2011 and 2023. By the year 2023, all vehicles must have at least a 2010 model of engine or at least the equivalent. Even heavy-duty vehicles with gross weight vehicles that are 14,000 pounds or greater (GVWR) that operate in or out of state are certified to regulations.

For any moving companies who are starting a business, this is a crucial element to factor into your fleets or trucks if you plan on using diesel engine powered systems. 

7. Smoke Checks

The Air Resources Board (ARB) is authorized to test any and all heavy-duty truck for excessive smoke and tampering. This is essentially a smog check that includes CA vehicles, out-of-state, and even Mexican and Canadian vehicles. They are likely performing these tests by the CHP at weigh stations, fleet locations, and other randomly selected areas.

Much like being audited by USDOT agents, an inspection team or CHP can select any vehicle for testing and direct it into a special lane. They block the wheels for safety and use a snap-acceleration testing method. This includes recording RPMs, which catalogs the RPM at idle and max allowable speeds.

8. The Snap-Acceleration Test Explained

The Snap-Acceleration Test allows for the inspector to situate a smoke meter just above or in the exhaust pipe. Once positioned, the driver must rev the engine rapidly three times while in neutral gear. This is to clear the exhaust of loose particles. this snap-acceleration test three times. This gauges how clear and clean the smoke emissions are. 

9. Visual Inspection

Lastly, there is the Visual Inspection, in which the inspector checks under the vehicle's hood for any conspicuous indications of tampers. Also, this help to record data regarding the engine and to confirm that the vehicle has the correct emission control label.

10. Fines, Fines, & More Fines 

These regulations are not something to take lightly. Reparations start at $800 for the first violation in addition to any repairs the truck may need. However, if the truck is repaired with the 45 day grace period, the ARB will defer $500 off of the fine.

Consequently, if the regulations are not met within the 45 given days, the full fine of $800 must be paid along with the reparation of the truck. If the penalty fine and the repair continue with the year, the fine spikes to repairs, an $1800 fine, and the truck must be retested for compliance with ARB.

In circumstantial situations, CHP officers even have the option to revoke your vehicle from service for any unpaid citations or if the vehicle was never repaired. Even further, the DMV can hold registration renewal until the fine is settled.

These fines will vary based on state, so it is important to be aware of what state you're entering, leaving, or traveling locally. This goes for moving companies and their businesses moving interstate performing state to state moves as well as those renting diesel trucks to consumers for relocation purposes.

11. The Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP)

Another standard regulation that is now in effect is the Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP) which also is directed specifically towards heavy-duty diesel trucks that are based in California. However, this is different in two ways, the first being that it applies to fleets with two or more heavy-duty diesel-fueled vehicles with a GVWR of 6,000 pounds minimum or more. If the above qualifies for you, you must meet the regulations below:

  • vehicles must have an annual test with a passing smoke opacity meter  PRIOR  to December 31st of each year
  • Vehicles must pass smoke opacity regulations 
  • If any of the vehicles are found to be non-compliant, they must make the repair immediately to meet regulations
  • Vehicles must keep records of the following: opacity tests, repair information, post-repair results all for a minimum of the previous 2 years

12. Idling Limit Regulations for Trucks 

This is the easiest and most comprehensive law enforced. It simply states that the maximum minutes of time that a heavy-duty diesel powered truck can idle is at maximum five minutes. This is due to the diesel fuel emissions that are not burned off while idling or even driving (such as stop and go traffic). This law was implemented with the idea that this would reduce the particulate matter (PM). It is important to note that when in a school zone (this applies to buses mostly) the idling time is reduced even less.

13. The Importance of Compliance

Not only are they good for your truck, they are good for you health, others health, the well-being of the environment and are generally enforced, not because these agencies purely want to fine you. They simply want to improve the quality of life that surrounds us, which is something that is necessary right now. However, it is important for those in the moving industry to be aware of these federal and state regulations in order to remain compliant when performing interstate or local moves. 

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