Truck Driver News - Emission Regulations: California's New, Strict Requirements

Emission Regulations: California’s New, Strict Requirements

California has always been at the forefront of environmental initiatives, and the latest development in this state’s commitment to reducing emissions comes in the form of the Clean Truck Check Program. While this program may sound like another bureaucratic hurdle for truck drivers, it’s actually a significant step towards cleaner air and a more sustainable future. In this article, we’ll break down the key details of the Clean Truck Check Program and what it means for truck owners operating in California.

What is the Clean Truck Check Program?
The Clean Truck Check Program, approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in December 2021, is a new initiative designed to replace the state’s previous Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP). Unlike its predecessor, the Clean Truck Check Program applies to a broader range of vehicles, including non-gasoline (diesel, alternative fuel, and hybrid) trucks, buses, and other heavy-duty vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 14,000 pounds. The primary goal of this program is to ensure that all emissions-related equipment in these vehicles is functioning properly throughout their lifespan.

Important Exemptions
Before we delve into the details of the program, it’s essential to highlight the vehicles exempt from the Clean Truck Check Program:

1. Zero-tailpipe-emission trucks
2. Military tactical vehicles
3. Authorized emergency vehicles
4. Motorhomes registered outside of California
5. Vehicles operating under an experimental permit
6. Historical vehicles
7. Gasoline vehicles

Registration and Compliance Fees
Truck owners who operate in California must register their vehicles in the Clean Truck Check Database by December 31st. Additionally, they are required to pay an annual compliance fee of $30 per vehicle. It’s important to note that the Clean Truck Check Database is a separate registration system from other CARB systems, so a new account must be created for reporting owner and vehicle information for all vehicles operating in California.

Truckers who are already registered in CARB’s Truck Regulation Upload, Compliance and Reporting System (TRUCRS) can simplify the reporting process by downloading their vehicle information from TRUCRS and then uploading it to the Clean Truck Check Database.

Roadside Emissions Monitoring Devices (REMD)
Starting in January 2023, CARB has been using Roadside Emissions Monitoring Devices (REMD) throughout California to identify potential high-emissions vehicles. If your truck is flagged as a potential high emitter, you’ll receive a Notice to Submit to Testing (NST) letter and have 30 days to pass an emissions test conducted by CARB. Failure to comply may result in an enforcement violation. In addition to this, enforcement staff is already conducting random roadside inspections to verify compliance.

Emission Testing Frequency
The frequency of emissions testing depends on your truck’s engine model year and the type of equipment it’s equipped with:

1. Trucks equipped with 2013 and newer model-year engines with on-board diagnostics (OBD) must submit emissions tests twice a year. After three years, this frequency increases to four times a year.
2. Pre-2013 model-year engines without OBDs are required to undergo an opacity test and a visual/functional inspection twice a year. The opacity test must meet the SAE J-1667 opacity standard. Alternative-fuel trucks are exempt from the opacity test.
3. Visual/functional inspections must be performed by a credentialed tester and are intended to check for any tampering with the emissions system.

Meeting Compliance Deadlines
Passing emissions tests must be submitted within 90 days before compliance test deadlines. For trucks registered in California, the deadline is determined by the truck’s DMV registration date. For example, if your truck’s DMV registration date is March 31, then your periodic submission deadlines would be March 31 and September 30, six months later, for a given year.

Trucks registered outside of California will have deadlines based on the last digit of the truck’s VIN.

Anticipated Start Date
CARB estimates that periodic testing requirements under the Clean Truck Check Program will begin in July 2024. This means that a passing compliance test will be required for vehicles with compliance deadlines on or after July 1, 2024.

Beyond Truck Owners
The implications of the Clean Truck Check Program extend beyond just truck owners. Freight contractors and brokers must now check for compliance documents and retain records. In a similar vein, seaport facilities and intermodal railyards must ensure that only compliant vehicles enter and operate on their properties or maintain records of non-compliant vehicles on their premises.

While the Clean Truck Check Program may initially seem like a hassle for truck owners operating in California, it’s a crucial step toward reducing emissions and improving air quality. By ensuring that emissions-related equipment in heavy-duty vehicles is functioning properly, CARB is contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable future for all Californians. As the program rolls out, truck owners should familiarize themselves with the requirements and deadlines to avoid any compliance issues and potential fines. Ultimately, cleaner air benefits everyone, and the Clean Truck Check Program is a significant step in the right direction.




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