California has a plethora of regulations on emissions of heavy-duty trucks, which move goods all over California. Yet there is no comprehensive smog check certification for heavy-duty trucks, which means that many trucks are on the road that are spewing illegal toxic emissions. The pollution caused by diesel trucks includes smog (air pollution) that is especially harmful to young people and elders, along with greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

This is why we need to pass SB 210, one of our top priority bills this year.

SB 210 authorizes the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop and implement a comprehensive heavy-duty vehicle Smog Check inspection and maintenance program. The program is similar to the Smog Check program for cars and pick-up trucks that we all know well.

Smog Check requirements create a level playing field for California truckers who take the time and money to maintain their vehicles adequately and also require out-of-state and out-of-country trucks to meet the same emission standards. Electric trucks are exempt from Smog Check, and of course electric trucks must be the end goal in California.

State analyses point out that SB 210 will allow enforcement of the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan of 2016 and CARB’s State Implementation Plan of 2017, the state’s strategy to attain health-based federal air quality standards. SB 210 with its comprehensive monitoring of real-world emissions will make these regulations a reality.

For example, 2006 legislation requires all trucks and buses be replace or upgraded with 2010 model year engines or equivalent by January 1, 2023, because the older diesel trucks are the big polluters. Yet without Smog Check, this legislation cannot be enforced.

Diesel exhaust from diesel trucks is a complex mixture of thousands of gases and fine particles (soot) that contains more than 40 toxic air contaminants, including cancer-causing benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde, along with nitrogen oxides (a component of smog). Without heavy-duty trucks Smog Checks, we end up with diesel trucks producing more NOx and almost five times the particulate matter than all other on-road vehicles, despite cars and light trucks outnumbering heavy-duty trucks by almost 100 to 1.

These pollutants are preventing millions of Californians particularly in low-income communities from breathing healthy air. Particulates not only accelerate climate change but also are harmful to human health by irritating the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs and contributing to heart and lung diseases, asthma, and cancer. It is time for California to have Smog Check for heavy-duty trucks to improve the health of our people and the planet.