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Purposely Pushing Out Black Smoke On Motorists Soon To Be Illegal

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It could be considered a form of aggressive driving. Pick-up truck drivers who purposely push out black smoke on other motorists or pedestrians.

It's called coal rolling, and it's a practice that will soon be illegal in Maryland.

Ava-joye Burnett tells us why some believe drivers are doing this out of spite to others.

Governor Larry Hogan signed the law, and it goes into effect, violators could be fined up to $500.

There's no shortage of the videos on YouTube, revved-up pick-ups intentionally pushing out heavy black smoke.

Leaders in Annapolis say it's become such a problem that they've passed a law to ban the practice.

"It certainly looks like drivers are using this as a form of aggression towards cyclists, towards pedestrians, towards individuals who may be driving an electric or hybrid powered vehicle," says Delegate Clarence Lam, who represents Baltimore and Howard Counties.

The new law prohibits drivers from rigging their engine and equipment to spew out the heavy black smoke on demand. The practice once limited to fairgrounds of car shows has become an issue on the roads.

New Jersey was the first state to fine anyone who purposely tries to "smoke out" others.

Bike Maryland lobbied for this change.

"Trying to cycle, either getting from point a to point b, or recreationally cycling and being just hit with this noxious level of fumes, clearly done intentionally, often with something being yelled at them as they go by," says Joshua Feldmark, executive director of Bike Maryland.

Now even the diesel technology forum, an organization that spreads awareness about the importance of diesel engines, supports this change.

"It started out as kind of a performance-oriented event at fairgrounds on the weekends and some other things, but now it's morphed into something that's quite offensive and that's not really representative of diesel technology," says executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, Allen Schaeffer.

Delegate Lam says the bill had bipartisan support.

"Raising awareness of this issue amongst drivers and others in the community who may be affected by this such as cyclists and pedestrians are important."

There are some exceptions, however. Drivers with diesel vehicles that discharge smoke as part of the normal acceleration process, will not be fined.

The law goes into effect October 1.

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