A coal roller encountered some unexpected consequences after they showed themselves engaging in the dangerous behavior on TikTok.
“That’s just wrong,” one user wrote. “Y’all need cameras and plate readers, wall of shame those jackasses.”
The harmful actions drew the ire of enough people that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote a story reporting that local business owner Kevin Soucie was the culprit who “rolled coal,” or used a modified diesel vehicle to spew huge quantities of toxic exhaust.
Soucie tried to deflect questions, but his business was engulfed by one-star Google reviews. He put together a non-apology apology, saying it was unacceptable for his personal actions to affect his business.
Rolling coal is illegal by federal law, but enforcement varies: It’s a misdemeanor with a $350 fine in Texas, and the Star-Telegram noted state law authorizes cyclists to ride in lanes of traffic. The North Central Texas Council of Governments does solicit complaints about “smoking vehicles.”
Coal rollers have been known to get their comeuppance, whether from the Massachusetts Environmental Police, officers on horseback, or damaging their car. In September, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against eBay that could lead to $2 billion in fines, cracking down on aftermarket devices that defeat vehicle pollution controls.
As many Redditors pointed out, rolling coal might as well be assault. Diesel fumes are carcinogenic, and aside from the extreme health hazards they pose, they can obscure the view of cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians.
In 2021, a Houston-area teenager was charged with six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon two months after he plowed into six cyclists while rolling coal.
In 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated emissions controls had been removed from more than 550,000 diesel pickup trucks in the past 10 years, leading to the excess pollution of more than 570,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and 5,000 tons of particulate matter over the lifetime of the vehicles. Though those trucks accounted for just 15% of diesel trucks originally certified with emissions controls in the United States, they emitted as much filth as more than 9 million additional unadulterated vehicles.
“I didn’t know what ‘rolling coal’ was before reading this,” one commenter wrote. “So these idiots modify their cars to produce these exhaust fumes.
“More proof we live in an idiocracy.”
Another user said: “Some people don’t need an excuse to be a raging a******. Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in.”
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