It was already considered illegal by los Federales at the EPA, but now the great state of New Jersey has explicitly banned the practice of “rolling coal.” State Senate bill 2418, signed into law by Governor Chris Christie last week, will make sure you can breathe easy in the Garden State.

I mean, relatively. It’s still New Jersey.

In case you’re unfamiliar with this whole “rolling coal” business (in which case, I wish I was you so that I could completely wipe this whole thing from my own conception of existence), it basically involves people modifying their diesel engines to spew soot and crap. Generally, the sooting and crapping is exacerbated by offending drivers when they pass a hybrid car, in order to be a jerk or something.

The bill in question is actually fairly short, sweet, and simple, as laws go:

SYNOPSIS

Prohibits retrofitting diesel-powered vehicles to increase particulate emissions for the purpose of “coal rolling”; prohibits the practice of “coal rolling.”

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

As introduced.

AN ACT concerning certain retrofits to diesel-powered vehicles and supplementing P.L.2005, c.219 (C.26:2C-8.26 et al.).

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. No person shall retrofit any diesel-powered vehicle with any device, smoke stack, or other equipment which enhances the vehicle’s capacity to emit soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions, or shall purposely release significant quantities of soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions into the air and onto roadways and other vehicles while operating the vehicle, colloquially referred to as “coal rolling.” Any person who violates this section shall be subject to the penalties established pursuant to section 27 of P.L.2005, c.219 (C.26:2C-8.52) and any other applicable law.

2. This act shall take effect immediately.

STATEMENT

This bill prohibits, and establishes penalties for:

1) retrofitting any diesel-powered vehicle with any device, smoke stack, or other equipment which enhances the vehicle’s capacity to emit soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions; and

2) purposely releasing significant quantities of soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions into the air and onto roadways and other vehicles while operating the vehicle.

The bill would prohibit “coal rolling” – the practice of intentionally releasing thick, black diesel smoke and soot from smokestacks on specially retrofitted diesel-powered trucks, which has gained some popularity recently. Coal rolling increases air pollution in the State and creates unsafe driving conditions on New Jersey’s already congested roadways.

That’s it. That’s the whole law. Of course, this being any form of government, it’s already a bit redundant. Not only does the EPA already ban it, but technically New Jersey already does as well. But one of the sponsors of the bill, Assemblyman Tim Eustace, made a good point to NJ.com about how we all sort of forget what kind of bills we have on the books already:

“It’s to actually make sure we enforce the law. We have laws that lay fallow, I think, in some circumstances,” Eustace said. “This doesn’t come off as very important unless you’ve been coal-rolled.”

The penalty for rolling coal, cited as those “established pursuant to section 27 of P.L.2005, c.219 (C.26:2C-8.52),” actually totals up to $5,000 for a first offense.

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Good.

H/t to Patrick!


Contact the author at ballaban@jalopnik.com.

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