Release 99-28      
August 11, 1999 


Allan Hirsch
(916) 322-2990 
Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730
ARB Announces Smoking Vehicle Program

        SACRAMENTO   People in Santa Barbara County and other regions of California can now call the Air Resources Board at a toll-free number to report a "smoking vehicle" and ensure that the vehicle owner is notified of the problem.

        "Smoking vehicles cause a disproportionate amount of smog.  Vehicle owners often do not know they have a problem, or they may not think anyone else notices," said Deputy Executive Officer Tom Cackette.  "Smoking-vehicle programs serve as a friendly, non-threatening way to encourage people to have their vehicles repaired."

        Anyone spotting a smoking vehicle can call 1-800-END-SMOG to report the vehicle.  Cell-phone users can call #SMOG toll-free.  Callers should have the license number of the smoking vehicle, as well as the approximate day, time and location that the vehicle was spotted and, if possible, the make and model of the smoking vehicle.  ARB will send vehicle owners a letter asking them to have their vehicle checked.

        There is no legal requirement for anyone receiving an ARB letter to have their vehicle checked or repaired.  However, a vehicle emitting excessive tailpipe exhaust is in violation of the California Vehicle Code, and owners of such vehicles can receive citations from law-enforcement authorities.

        A recent ARB study found that motorists traveling directly behind a smoking vehicle are likely exposed to relatively high levels of pollution.  The study found that pollution levels inside a vehicle are up to 10 times higher than in the outside air, and that as much as one-half the pollutants inside a car come from the vehicle directly in front of it.

        ARB worked with the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and other local air districts in developing its smoking vehicle program.

        The Air Resources Board, one of six agencies of the California Environmental Protection Agency, is California's air pollution control agency.  The ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.  The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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