Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rolling Coal: a Personal Story

I live in the state of Utah, where there are a number of pickup trucks and big SUVs. I understand how legitimate the need for such vehicles are for a number of people, having driven some myself, including for jobs. That being said, I have no tolerance for the practice of rolling coal, and here's part of the reason why.

In case you don't know, "rolling coal" is the practice of modifying a diesel-powered pickup truck so that you either partially or completely defeat the emissions controls. The exhaust contains quite a few more particulates that normally would have been filtered out. In other words, it pollutes. A lot.

The practice has become so common and widespread these days that it's catching quite a bit more attention throughout the United States, and much of that attention is not positive. Having been on the receiving end of such displays of pollution, I can tell you just how infuriating and dangerous they can be.

Several years ago I was driving with my wife and baby on the freeway here. I don't remember where we were going, but I do remember I was driving a small European sedan. Apparently, that made me a target, because a diesel pickup that was several hundred feet in front of us slowed down a little as we both transitioned to another freeway via a ramp. As the gap between us closed, I could see that the driver and his passenger were both looking eagerly out the back window, not even looking at where the truck was going. The driver then slammed on his brakes, which forced me to do the same to avoid a collision. He then gunned it, spewing that awful black smoke all over my car.

I like to keep my car clean, but the fact that it was covered in soot didn't really bother me since I could just wash it off. Two things were infuriating. First off, the cloud of exhaust hung in the air, making it difficult to see. Had the pickup truck driver or anyone else had decided to stop in front of me, I wouldn't have seen a damn thing. At freeway speeds, such a wreck could have been quite serious. The second thing was that the soot was sucked into the interior of our car, like a hundred smokers blowing their toxic fumes in your face. My wife was in there. My baby was in there. And those guys didn't care. They got a cheap laugh at our expense, disregarding the risk they put everyone in.

There are many reasons to stand against rolling coal, but this is my story and part of my reason.

1 comment:

  1. I have never heard of this practice, but... terrible!!! It should be illegal. I would love to see those people ticketed the first time and jailed if they are caught again. Sorry that happened to you and your family.