Coal rolling ban passes legislature


  • Salvatore Arnone, Wikipedia Commons
  • A truck 'rolling coal.'

In what's sure to bring joy to cyclists, pedestrians, and many drivers, the Colorado legislature has passed a bill banning so-called "coal rolling," the practice of purposefully spewing black soot on others from the modified exhaust systems of vehicles.

Senate Bill 278 is headed to Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk. It will make coal rolling punishable by a $100 fine. Of course, it's hard to say whether the new law — which comes after several failed bills attempting to ban it — will actually stem the practice. Notably, laws intended to protect cyclists, like the 3 feet to pass law, are not always abided by.

Nevertheless, the law is a victory for all those who have choked on the fumes of a coal rolling truck. Here's the take on the bill from the Colorado House Democrats:

Finally, Action to Crack Down on ‘Coal Rolling’

(May 2) – Third time’s a charm for a bill to make “coal rolling” illegal in Colorado.

SB17-278, sponsored in the House by Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, prohibits those who modify the exhaust systems on their vehicles from intentionally spewing thick clouds of black soot onto other motorists or pedestrians. The bill, requested by law enforcement agencies, makes this disruptive behavior a traffic infraction punishable by a $100 fine.

“Some people apparently do this for fun,” Rep. Ginal said. “But it’s really harassment and a threat to public health and safety with complete disregard for the environment and an assault on people who do not want to breathe in massive amounts of carcinogens or block the view of the police and other drivers. This annoying behavior is relatively new, and there are no laws in statute to control it.”

The 2016 version of the bill died in a Republican-controlled Senate committee. But Rep. Ginal persisted, reintroducing the bill twice this year with the bipartisan sponsorship of Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose.

After today’s 40-25 House vote, the bill is headed to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk. 

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