California to Crackdown on Big Rig Owners With First-In-The-Nation ‘Smog Checks’ Rule

Sacramento, CA — The California Air Resources Board (CARB), last week, approved a first-in-the-nation “smog checks” regulation for all medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses that operate within the state.

As part of California’s Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance program, owners of trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 lbs. will soon be required to report particulate and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions to state regulators.


The new testing program will roll out a statewide network of unattended roadside emission monitors to screen for “high emitting trucks,” starting with the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast and expanding over time, CARB said.

The devices will appear similar to toll booths and capture a sample of the vehicle’s exhaust as it passes through without stopping.

Additionally, testing will also be conducted as part of inspections carried out at border crossings, California Highway Patrol weigh stations, fleet facilities and randomly selected roadside locations.

Initially, the number of required yearly exhaust tests will begin at two, but eventually will be increased to four.


Some heavy-duty vehicle owners will be able to complete the required tests and deliver the information remotely without having to travel to designated testing locations, CARB informed.

“For telematics users, an onboard diagnostics (OBD) inspection that draws emissions control performance data from the vehicle’s internal computer, an inspection can be completed automatically without taking the vehicle out of operation,” CARB said.

The new rules will also no longer exempt single-truck owner-operators from existing CARB regulations monitoring excessive smoke from a truck’s smokestack, tampering, and Emission Control Label compliance.

Single-truck owner-operators will be required to comply with the smog checks as well.

Owners of trucks and buses found in violation will be subject to minimum penalties starting at $300 per violation.


Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), who authored SB 210 which directed CARB to crackdown on emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses, celebrated the new regulations.

“It is long overdue that big diesel trucks undergo smog check testing so that we can continue to clean our air and improve public health across California,” she triumphantly declared. “By keeping polluting dirty trucks off our freeways and roads, we will take an important step forward in further cleaning the air across our state.”

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CARB estimates the new program will cover roughly one million heavy-duty trucks and buses operating in and through the Golden State.

Moreover, CARB claims the crackdown will “yield $75 billion in health benefits, prevent 7,500 air-quality related deaths and 6,000 hospitalizations and emergency room visits from 2023 to 2050.”

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Comment (1)

  1. Does this mean I can go back to California with my 1996 Kenworth? I know it burns cleaner than any of the new trucks on the market today I have the test results to prove it.


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