Q&A - Vehicles Billowing Smoke

Q&A ImageFrom time to time in Metro Vancouver I end up driving behind a vehicle that is billowing exhaust fumes that cause me to gag in my vehicle. This happened to me yesterday in Surrey BC when I was behind a red Honda Civic with a BC license plate.

I wrote down the date, time, location and vehicle make, model, colour and license plate.

Is there any point in reporting vehicles that are spewing excessive exhaust fumes? If so, should I report these vehicles to ICBC, Motor Vehicle Branch and / or the police?



My first thought is that how did these vehicles manage to get around AirCare? I had a look at their site and I see that there is a page for Emissions Info - Visible Polluters. The page contains two telephone numbers to report both private and commercial vehicles that are spewing smoke. I called and asked about it. The lady I spoke with said that she would be happy to send a letter to the owner of the vehicle reminding them that they should be responsible and not pollute, regardless of where in BC the vehicle was registered.

Unfortunately, that has no teeth and AirCare itself is being shut down completely at the end of 2014. Time to tell your favourite politician if you think this is wrong!

I did write about Too Much Exhaust Smoke back in 2010. It is a police responsibility, but honestly, I'm sure that this might come as a surprise to them. If you are interested in making a complaint to police you may do so.

In my experience, people are reluctant to do much about it. Those who drive vehicles like this are often the least able to afford the repairs and it is unlikely that your complaint will be followed up. I'm cynical about it obviously, but if it is important to you I would encourage you to try. I recall one instance where I was contacted by a garage on behalf of the driver I had issued a repair order to. They wanted me to forget the order because the vehicle was owned by a senior who could not afford the necessary repairs.

To make a long story short, it appears that some attention is only likely if your polluter is a large commercial vehicle. The reporting number, 1-888-775-8785 goes to a voice mail box for Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement. The Air Care on Road Program will takes steps to correct the issue.


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