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Company to pay $1 million for violating federal laws with illegal vehicle modifications — here's why it matters

The implications of their actions extend far beyond legal violations.

The implications of their actions extend far beyond legal violations.

Photo Credit: iStock

The government has attempted to curb environmental damage by enacting laws that limit or ban harmful practices. However, a diesel truck parts manufacturer has been found guilty of breaking one of these important laws and is now being fined $1 million.

What's happening?

Sinister Diesel has been found guilty of producing and distributing devices that sabotage smog controls on diesel trucks, as the Associated Press reported. The California-based company has admitted to conspiracy and breaching the Clean Air Act by tampering with pollution control systems, according to statements from the U.S. attorney's office

The Clean Air Act was originally passed in 1970 and has been continually updated over time. It aims to tackle air pollution by setting rules for businesses and industries to follow, helping to limit harmful pollutants released into the air. 

For nearly a decade, Sinister Diesel sold "delete devices" or "defeat devices" designed to bypass tailpipe pollution controls on diesel trucks, along with accompanying software to manipulate a truck's computer system, per the AP. Some drivers use this to "coal roll." These actions not only violate environmental regulations but also endanger public health by increasing harmful pollution.

Why are Sinister Diesel's actions concerning?

The implications of Sinister Diesel's actions extend far beyond legal violations. By tampering with these controls on diesel trucks, the company has contributed to worsening air quality and posed serious health risks to communities. 

Diesel pollution is known to contain particles linked to respiratory illnesses like asthma and lung cancer. Additionally, benzene, which is found in diesel, is a known carcinogen and can increase the risk of cancer

What's being done about Sinister Diesel?

In response to these violations, authorities have taken decisive action against Sinister Diesel. The company has agreed to pay a $500,000 criminal fine and an additional $500,000 to settle a federal civil case. They have also committed to ceasing production, sale, or offering of delete products. 

While this type of legal action serves as a deterrent, investing in cleaner technologies and incentivizing sustainable practices within the automotive industry can promote a shift toward greener transportation alternatives. One of the shining stars in green transportation is the electric bike, which cuts oil demand by a million barrels a day, according to one analysis. 

Another exciting development is the re-emergence of night trains, particularly in Europe. Lastly, the solar-powered car market is revving up, expected to grow by a whopping 37% by 2030.

Ultimately, Sinister Diesel serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to prioritize environmental protection and public health over profit-driven interests. By taking decisive action against irresponsible businesses and promoting sustainable practices, we can work toward a cleaner, healthier future for all.

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