Legislation Requiring Smog Checks for Big Rig Trucks Clears Final Legislative Hurdle

Senator Leyva: SB 210 prioritizes “our resolve to reduce pollution and clean the air we breathe”

Friday, September 13, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Earlier today, the California State Senate approved Senate Bill 210—a measure that will establish ‘smog check’ requirements for heavy-duty diesel trucks in California—and sent this important air quality bill to the Governor for his consideration. Unlike personal vehicles, current law does not require heavy-duty vehicles to have the same types of smog checks that have been required for passenger vehicles for decades.

Authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), SB 210 will assist in the removal of approximately 1,600 tons of harmful particulate matter, equivalent to taking 375,000 trucks off the roads in the state, over the next decade.  Around one million heavy-duty trucks drive on California roads annually and are major contributors to the state’s poor air quality conditions.

“As California continues to lead the nation on improving air quality, SB 210 is a critical next step by making sure that the big diesel trucks that drive on our roads and highways undergo a smog check inspection, just like we already do for the passenger cars that we drive to and from home and work every day,” Senator Leyva said.  “As the Trump Administration is working hard to roll back vital environmental and air quality policies, SB 210 moves California in the opposite direction by standing firm in our resolve to reduce pollution and clean the air we breathe across our state.  SB 210 enhances the competitiveness of the trucking industry in California, while also helping to further clean the air across our state.”

By modernizing and properly maintaining their fleets, many California based truck owners and operators strive to meet our air quality standards that lead the nation. Consequently, these operators can be at a competitive disadvantage with non-compliant vehicles, including many out-of-state trucks.

California has some of the worst air quality in the nation, including areas such as the Central Valley and the Inland Empire—which serves as the primary route for transporting goods from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to the rest of the country. Today, heavy-duty trucks operating in California account for nearly 60 percent of the harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from mobile sources and are the largest source of diesel particulate matter (PM 2.5), a carcinogenic and toxic air contaminant.

Approximately 12 million residents across California live in communities that exceed federal ozone and PM standards. Increased exposure to harmful emissions has been directly associated with serious health  impacts, particularly for the elderly, small children, and people with pre-existing respiratory issues. SB 210 is an important step toward combating these harmful pollutants and improving air quality in California.

SB 210 is supported by many leading health, environmental and community based organizations, including the American Lung Association of California, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Breathe California, California Environmental Justice Alliance, California League of Conservation Voters, CALSTART, Coalition for Clean Air, Environment California, Maternal and Child Health Access, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority and Sierra Club California.