The Central Valley is no stranger to air pollution. "California's air quality is the worst in the country and diesel trucks are significant contributors not only to smog but increase cancer risks," said Bruce Tuter with the California Air Resources Board.
In an effort to curb the high emission rates, state inspectors spent the day conducting tests on heavy-duty trucks traveling on Highway 99. With the help of the CHP, trucks were randomly pulled over at one of 5 inspection points in Fresno.
Drivers were asked to floor the gas pedal so inspectors could see the smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. "If it's relatively clean, they'll let it go. If they feel the number is really high, they'll actually take a censor or probe and put it right up into that exhaust and get an accurate reading," said Eloy Florez, air pollution specialist with the Air Resources Board.
Inspectors were also looking inside the engines for an emission control label and diesel soot filter -- and all trucks had to meet state regulations. "Any vehicle entering California is subject to California regulations, whether it be speed or whether it be emissions," said Florez.
Trucks passing the inspection got a sticker of approval. But those not in compliance were handed a citation. "I don't like this law," said driver Yuldash Akhmatbekov. His truck did not have the appropriate emission equipment and was given a ticket, which could mean up to a $1,000 monthly fine if the problem is not corrected by the trucking company.
Inspectors say they hope by getting the word out on the hefty fines, air pollution will decrease in the Valley.