H-SANTA MARIA

Apr 23, 2013 11:09 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Big rig emissions checked in Santa Maria

Big rig drivers were pulled over in Santa Maria today, not for the way they were driving, but for what they may be putting into the air.

"Diesel exhaust is one of the largest contaminants here in California," said Eloy Flores of the Air Resources Board.

According to the Air Resources Board, 70% of the cancer risk from air pollution comes from diesel exhaust.

In order to put the brakes on high emissions, state inspectors spent the day on Tuesday performing numerous tests on heavy duty trucks traveling on Highway 166.

With the help of the California Highway Patrol, trucks were randomly directed into two inspection points.

"First, we conduct a visual inspection for smoke, ask the operator to essentially floor the vehicle for a few seconds, and visually evaluate how much smoke is coming out of the exhaust," said Flores.

If it's relatively clean, the driver and his rig are sent on their way, but Flores says, "If we feel it's too high, then we'll go ahead and take a probe sensor to it and that's what we did with this vehicle."

The driver who did not pass the test was given a citation and instructed to make the proper fixes.

Inspectors also looked inside engines for a required emission control label and checked gas tanks for proper fuel. Trucks that did pass got a badge of approval.

Fines can range from $300-$1800. Inspectors say they hope by getting the word out about the costly fines, air pollution will diminish.

Throughout the day, inspectors took a look at more than 200 trucks and handed out fewer than ten citations.

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