A Redditor recently added to the myriad head-slapping behaviors documented in r/IdiotsInCars, sharing a video of a pickup truck blanketing two cyclists and a pedestrian with deadly fumes in Asheville, North Carolina, in September.
“A****** truck ‘rolls coal’ on two cyclists,” the poster wrote. “Pickup got stuck behind two cyclists and decided to ‘get back’ at them for having the audacity to use the same road as him by blasting them with diesel smoke.”
The commenters were on point, naming everything wrong with the dangerous practice and identifying solutions.
“This should be a criminal act,” one wrote. “Hazardous exposure to lungs.”
In fact, modifying a diesel vehicle to roll coal, or emit copious amounts of exhaust, is illegal under the federal Clean Air Act since it involves tampering with a pollution control system.
Rolling coal is not specifically illegal in most places, but the Massachusetts Environmental Police is one outfit that will punish offenders, as this story of karmic retribution proves. Depending on where you live, you can file a complaint with a local agency about an incident or report the vehicle.
Another commenter also noted from personal experience how harmful rolling coal can be to human health: “I have to clean out my motorcycle helmet vents a couple times a year because trucks will do this to me intentionally. I don’t ride aggressively or anything either.”
Diesel exhaust includes gases and particulate matter that have been linked to cancer. Those exposed to the toxins can suffer eye and nose irritation, headaches, nausea, respiratory diseases, and lung cancer.
Coal rollers have also been known to crash while infringing on others’ liberties. One offender met with a highway barrier, while another nearly killed six cyclists. As one commenter pointed out: “Creating a smoke screen seems dangerous for everyone around. You can’t see the cyclists for a moment there.”
“Everyone who rolls coal outside a show ought to have their truck sold at auction and driver’s license revoked, change my mind,” one Redditor wrote.
Another user responded to the motorcyclist, saying, “I’ve seen people do this to cars with open windows at stop lights. I don’t think these people really have any motivation other than ‘haha made your day worse f*****.’”
Someone else replied: “Truly. My city had a problem when the first EV stations were installed. Lifted trucks kept parking in front of them so nobody could charge up. So petty. You don’t have to buy an EV. And it’s not like priuses are parking in front of diesel pumps.”
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