A DOT officer stepped out from the crash lane and motioned Joseph
Gomes to pull his 2000 Kenworth over alongside Interstate 805.
Gomes, an OOIDA member from Norfolk, VA, was preparing to head back
east from San Diego on Jan. 17 when he was given a random inspection by
DOT officers and enforcement officers from the California Air Resources
Gomes and a buddy recently purchased the Kenworth at
auction. The truck looked good and had a good price, Gomes thought, but
a CARB officer found one flaw that only recently became an offense in
the Golden State: the lack of what CARB refers to as an Emission
CARB enforcement officers have recently
begun issuing citations for a 2007-approved regulation on trucks
without Emission Compliance labels or engine data plates. The labels
typically are made of plastic or metal and are attached to the engine
by the manufacturer at the time of production. Besides identifying the
date and place the engines were built, the labels state that the
engines met U.S. EPA and California emission requirements for the years
they were manufactured.
Through Feb. 14, fines for missing
labels can be as much as $800, but they can be completely dropped if
the truck owner is able to obtain the missing label through the engine
manufacturer within 45 days.
Beginning on Feb. 15, truck
owners without the label will owe at least $300, regardless of whether
they prove the truck met emission standards.
News of the label requirement surprised Gomes, who was making a rare trip to the West Coast.
“I’ve only been in this truck for a month,” Gomes told Land Line.
officers had Gomes do a snap idle test, then watched the smoke coming
out of his stack. Another officer dipped a tube into his diesel tank.
Finally, they had Gomes pop his hood, where the worn label was missing.
CARB officer pointed to a small spot near the water hose on the
engine’s passenger side. The spot was worn, and the officer told Gomes
it should have held an engine certification label verifying that the
truck met U.S. EPA standards when it was manufactured.
Lettieri, Gomes’ friend and the truck owner, received a letter in late
January telling him he would be fined $800 if he didn’t obtain an
Emission Control Label within 45 days.
The label requirement
was adopted in early 2007, but California officials said they would
allow a one-year non-penalty phase, a CARB spokesman told Land Line.
Karen Caesar, a CARB spokeswoman, confirmed to Land Line
that the agency is enforcing the regulation and has been inspecting
trucks for the labels since early 2007. From January through September
2007, in fact, CARB conducted 5,005 such inspections and found 1,465
Those truck owners were given 45 days to correct the label issue.
diesel engines are affixed with a metal label not much larger than a
business card that is stamped with emissions data, part information and
the VIN-like engine serial number, said Christy Nycz, a Cummins
Truck owners with worn or missing data plates can contact their local Cummins distributor, Nycz told Land Line. The company will then walk through its engine verification process to ensure the label will include the correct information.
“We want to help out as much as we can,” Nycz said.
didn’t immediately know how quickly Cummins can replace an engine data
plate, but said the price for obtaining engine data plates is set by
The engine company can provide truck
owners with a letter showing the engine met EPA standards at the time
of manufacture as well, Nycz said.
Feb. 15, Caesar said, truckers whose rigs have no engine labels will
pay a minimum $300 fine even if they later obtain an ECL and prove the
truck is in compliance.
Gomes and Lettieri won’t have to contend with the $300 fine that would have been mandatory on Feb. 15, Caesar said.
engine label requirement has caused OEM dealerships to brace for
service calls from truckers with missing or worn engine labels, said
Joe Suchecki, a spokesman for Chicago-based Engine Manufacturer’s
Truckers who need an emission label should call
their local dealer, who will in turn verify through the engine
manufacturer whether the truck met emission standards the year it was
built. The sticker can only be applied by “authorized dealers,”
according to CARB’s rule.
“It is fairly difficult because not
only do they have to bring it in, but the dealers have to do an
inspection to make sure the engine hasn’t been changed or tampered
with,” Suchecki told Land Line.
Kenworth Truck Co.,
the manufacturer of the type of truck Gomes was driving, hasn’t
received many calls about California’s engine label requirement, a
company spokesman relayed to Land Line on Wednesday.
Truckers driving through the Golden State’s southern end should be particularly aware of the new emission label requirement.
officer told Gomes the new restriction was being enforced especially in
southern California because of the heavy volume of older trucks coming
over the Mexican border, Gomes said.
Gomes isn’t likely to be making many return trips to California anytime soon, he told Land Line. A tightening trucking economy and the increased emission rules make it unlikely he’ll make many stops in the Golden State.
“I don’t think I will be going that way again anyway,” Gomes said. “The rates are too cheap to come back.”
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer