|'Rolling coal' began as entertainment at truck shows and pulls.|
(New York Times photo by Davis Kasnic)
New Jersey last year became the first state to ban rolling coal, imposing a fine of up to $5,000 on drivers caught doing it, Tabuchi writes. Illinois is considering a similar law, but proposed bans were defeated in Colorado and Maryland. "In Colorado, complaints over diesel smoke have risen 5 percent over the last two years. In California, complaints about smoking vehicles to the California Air Resources Board have jumped from under 700 a month, on average, two years ago to more than 1,000 now."
Those who participate in rolling coal call attempts to ban it "the worst of government overreach and environmental activism," Tabuchi writes. Rolling coal was thought to have originated at truck pulls to entertain crowds as harmless entertainment. But some drivers use rolling smoke on the streets, where they spew black columns of smoke that can make it difficult for other drivers to see the road.
It's easy to convert a truck for rolling coal; kits are available online, Tabuchi writes. "Anyone who tampers with emissions-control equipment violates the Clean Air Act, which prohibits the selling or installing of any component intended to bypass emissions equipment and carries penalties of up to $2,500." But most states lack laws making rolling smoke illegal, Tabuchi reports.