Enforcement agents with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) caused trouble for some truckers when they performed surprise inspections on trucks as they crossed the San Joaquin River on Highway 4 yesterday.
California Highway Patrol troopers assisted in the surprise inspection effort by pulling over the trucks for the CARB agents who waited on the east side of the bridge to inspect the trucks for compliance with emissions rules.
The seven-hour long operation had long lines of trucks pulled to the side of the road waiting for inspection. Drivers in newer trucks were quickly checked and waived through, but other truck drivers were asked to rev their engines while inspectors looked for visible evidence of exhaust.
Driver Mike Bell had choice words for inspectors and bystanders during his emissions check, claiming that expensive CARB upgrades would put him out of business. “They’re going to take my truck. What am I supposed to do? I’m 66 years old. I’ve been driving for 45 years.”
Bell had claimed an exemption for truckers who drive less than 5,000 miles per year, but when inspectors checked his odometer, it revealed that he had driven around 20,000 miles this year. He says that he is facing a $5,000 fine. Bell says he may leave California for good.
CARB estimates that 15 to 20% of the trucks that drive through California are not compliant with pollution laws.