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Smoky Vehicle Fines Begin

From tomorrow, Saturday September 1, owners of smoky vehicles face fines of up to $150.

Transport Minister Mark Gosche said today that the "10 second rule" which became law in March this year would now result in fines. For the last six months instead of fines motorists have been given time to get used to the new system, and to get their cars in order.

Under the 10 second rule vehicles are not permitted to emit a continuous stream of visible smoke or vapour for 10 seconds or more.

“Until now police have focussed on educating motorists on the causes and effects of smoky vehicles, issuing information pamphlets to owners of smoky vehicles instead of infringement notices,” Mr Gosche said.

The 10 second rule is based on a similar test used successfully in New South Wales for 20 years. It allows for the occasional puff of smoke under short-term acceleration or gear changes while identifying engines in need of maintenance, repair or tuning.

“The target is poorly maintained engines in need of service or repair,” Mr Gosche said.

‘Early diesel engines were designed to produce visible, but not excessive, smoke as part of normal operating conditions, with occasional heavier bursts when changing gear, acceleration or under load. Newer diesel engines are built to more stringent emissions standards and shouldn’t produce any tailpipe smoke except for those very short periods when changing gear under load or acceleration.”

Exceptions to the rule are large trucks or other heavy vehicles working under load, lugging up a hill or accelerating. Under these conditions diesel engines emit smoke and are designed to do so.

The new regulation allows traffic police to check for smoky vehicles as part of their routine vehicle checks and traffic patrols. Since March the Police have noted a decrease in the number of smoky vehicles on the road and in September will be conducting a survey to assess the effects of the new rule.

Ends


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