Bad Coke: CARB settles with soda bottler over truck emissions

| 8/3/2007

The California Air Resources Board announced this week that it negotiated a settlement with Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Los Angeles over the company’s “failure to properly inspect its diesel truck fleet for smoke emissions.”

Coca-Cola diesel trucks violated the state’s Periodic Smoke Inspection Program, which requires annual smoke opacity tests of all fleets baseplated in California, according to a CARB news release.

Coke was handed an administrative fine of $528,500, including $396,125 to go to the California Air Pollution Fund and $132,125 to distribute to campuses offering diesel education and technology courses in the Los Angeles area.

“The best way for corporations to avoid penalties is to keep their vehicles maintained to engine manufacturers’ specifications,” said Tom Cackette, CARB’s acting executive officer. “CARB also encourages fleet maintenance personnel to attend training programs to become skilled on vehicle inspection requirements.”

CARB has an enforcement staff dedicated to aggressively inspecting and fining truck companies and industry-related firms since it was granted those powers in 2005.

In 2006, CARB wrote 1,992 citations, collected $6.7 million in penalties and inspected 17,000 heavy-duty vehicles, according to a press release. More than $1 million in fines were collected from trucking companies.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer