SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board has stepped up enforcement of its diesel truck regulations to ensure that only vehicles compliant with California's stringent anti-pollution laws travel across the U.S. border into the state.
All trucks transporting cargo originating from, or going to, a regulated port or rail yard in California must be compliant drayage trucks. Among other violations ARB staff is looking for at the border are ‘dray-offs’. A dray-off occurs when a compliant truck exchanges cargo with a noncompliant truck on or off port property.
“Starting last fall, ARB staff has been regularly visiting the border towns of Otay Mesa and Calexico to educate truckers and business owners in English and Spanish about how to comply with our regulations and what happens when you don’t,” said ARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden. "We have been working diligently to send a strong, consistent message that the benefits of compliance far outweigh the risks of ignoring or procrastinating when it comes to cleaning up your vehicles or participating in illegal dray-off.
Drayage trucks that engage in dray-offs are circumventing regulatory requirements, adversely impacting the air quality of the surrounding communities. The illegal activity also provides an unfair advantage over those who have spent money to comply.
Truckers may receive stiff penalties for participating in dray-off. In addition, motor carriers and transport companies that dispatch trucks involved in dray-offs can face fines, too. In 2012, ARB conducted 3,650 inspections on 1,938 trucks in Otay Mesa, Calexico, and Tecate to check compliance with a variety of rules including excessive idling, correct engine labeling, smoke emissions and tampering, and use of verified emissions reductions equipment for compliance with ARB regulations. A total of 261 citations were issued.
“Working with the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, visiting trade shows, and conducting well-attended workshops and classes have been instrumental in reaching the local trucking industry,” said Ryden. “We are pleased that they have embraced this issue and are eager to help us get our message out.”
Despite decades of progress in cleaning up the air, California still has the poorest air quality in the nation, which has led to passage of progressive regulations to fight the problem. One of these is the Drayage Truck Regulation that focuses on diesel-fueled trucks that transport marine or rail cargo and containers.
These trucks must be registered with ARB and be upgraded or replaced according to a specific timetable. The Truck and Bus regulation also requires heavy duty diesel trucks to be cleaned up. Information about how to comply can be found by visiting ARB’s informational Truck Stop website or view a Summary of Requirements for diesel truck and equipment owners.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems.
CARB is the lead agency in California for cleaning up the air and fighting climate change to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards. Its mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective reduction of air and climate pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.