'Rolling coal' to blow a thick cloud of exhaust like video of a busy Texas restaurant shows is legal in most states

·2 min read
Exhaust blowing from the back of a white pickup truck.
"Rolling coal" is legal in most states. Toa55/Getty Images
  • A viral TikTok video showed a Texas driver blasting a dark cloud of exhaust into a fast-food restaurant.

  • The practice of "rolling coal" to blow excess exhaust from a truck is only illegal in a handful of states.

  • People can report vehicles emitting excessive exhaust in North Texas, but drivers can't be ticketed for it.

"Rolling coal" - when drivers blow thick exhaust clouds from the tailpipe of a truck - may be obnoxious, but it isn't illegal in most US states.

Only a handful of states including Maine, Utah, New Jersey, Maryland, Colorado and Connecticut have laws that specifically prohibit the practice.

Most state laws that ban exhaust blasts also make it illegal to add modifications to the truck that would give it the ability to create excess amounts of exhaust.

New Jersey SB 2418, which went into effect in 2015, says "retrofitting any diesel-powered vehicle with any device, smokestack, or other equipment which enhances the vehicle's capacity to emit soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions" is prohibited.

A viral TikTok video viewed over 1 million times showed a Texas pickup truck driver blasting a large amount of black exhaust into a Whataburger fast-food restaurant.

Police have not arrested another teen driver in the state after he ran over a group of cyclists in Waller while trying to blow exhaust on them last month. The Waller Police Department posted a statement on Facebook that said it is still investigating the circumstances of the incident, and will submit its findings to the local district attorney to determine what charges may be warranted.

Still, the practice of "rolling coal" is not illegal in Texas.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality decommissioned a state-wide smoking vehicle reporting program in 2015. People in the northern region of the state can still submit reports of vehicles emitting excessive exhaust to the North Central Texas Council of Governments through its reporting program, but vehicles can only be reported in 16 of the state's 254 counties.

Drivers with out-of-state vehicles can not be reported to the NCTCOG and reported drivers also do not receive a ticket or citation after the report.

According to the council's website, when a vehicle is reported for excessive exhaust, the driver is sent a letter "encouraging" the owner to "have the vehicle checked out by their mechanic and to voluntarily repair it."

While "rolling coal" is not illegal in Texas, some public officials in the state think it should be, according to the Houston Chronicle.

" 'Rolling coal' when a person is in the vicinity and when the individual 'rolling coal' intentionally or knowingly causes that excess exhaust to contact that bystander is at a minimum an assault," Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis wrote on Facebook.

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