While the federal government attempts to undo California’s continued efforts and successes on air quality, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a measure I authored that establishes "smog check" requirements for heavy-duty diesel trucks in California. 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.

Specifically, SB 210 -- also known as “Clean Trucks, Clean Air” -- directs the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to work in coordination with multiple state agencies, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, to develop and implement a Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Program for non-gasoline heavy-duty on-road trucks (14,000+ pounds). This bill authorizes the Heavy-Duty I/M Program to establish test procedures for different vehicle model years and emissions control technologies to measure the effectiveness of the emissions control of PM and NOx. The cost for compliance cannot exceed $30 annually.

Now that it has been signed into law, SB 210 will be a vital next step to reduce pollution from the many big diesel trucks that travel on the roads and highways in the Inland Empire and across California. Just as car owners have to get their own personal cars ‘smog checked’ every two years, so too should truck operators be required to maintain their emissions controls so that we can ensure long lasting air quality improvements here in California. With Gov. Newsom’s signature, SB 210 reinforces California’s leadership on improving air quality and public health, while also leveling the playing field for law-abiding truck owners and operators in our state.

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

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.

With the implementation of SB 210, significant reductions of harmful emissions will be achieved. According to CARB estimates, between the years 2023 and 2031, a Heavy-Duty I/M program will remove 93,000 tons of NOx and 1,600 tons of PM 2.5, equivalent to taking 145,000 and 375,000 trucks off the roads in California, respectively.

(State Sen. Connie M. Leyva, D-Chino, represents the 20th District, which includes Fontana.)

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