Local commercial truck drivers beware, as the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles Compliance Enforcement Division is once again cracking down on vehicles belching out thick black smoke in the Pahrump Valley.
DMV Public Information Officer Kevin Malone said enforcement officers are primarily tasked with enforcing the regulations on visible emissions from the Heavy Duty Diesel Truck program.
“The laws on smoke and visible emissions are applicable statewide, not just in Clark and Washoe counties,” he said. “The officer had met up with someone in Pahrump to follow up on a Smog Spotter report. After that, the officer observed a truck and pulled it over for an opacity test. It failed as the smoke was 66.7 percent opaque, whereas 40 percent is the maximum.”
The Heavy Duty Diesel program was first initiated, statewide, in the late 1990s.
Malone noted that violations are cited by the division as administrative actions, rather than criminal offenses.
“The violator can request a hearing before the DMV Office of Administrative Hearings,” he said. “If needed, the hearings decision can be appealed in District Court. The officers are sworn law enforcement and can issue criminal citations and make arrests. Division investigators are also sworn peace officers and have the authority to enforce any criminal offense throughout the state, however their primary focus is enforcement of emissions violations. The DMV’s Compliance Enforcement Division also regulates the vehicle industry and investigates ID fraud and auto-related document fraud.”
Nye County Sheriff’s Lt. David Boruchowitz said as the DMV’s Compliance Enforcement Division is a state entity, the officers are free to perform enforcement duties anytime they choose without notifying the sheriff’s office.
“We showed up to verify it was lawful enforcement and that was it,” he said. “I believe they are stepping up enforcement more frequently.”
The responding deputy who verified the compliance enforcement traffic stop at Highway 372 and Raindance Drive was motorcycle patrol deputy Britton Hoffman, who coincidentally performed opacity testing at one time for a chemical plant.
“He was actually called out here to inspect another truck,” Hoffman said. “He comes out of Las Vegas to see if there are any other compliance issues with commercial vehicles. He said there was only three officers in marked units throughout the entire state. There are two in Las Vegas, and one in the Reno area of Washoe County.”
Additionally, the local driver who was cited was none too happy about the traffic stop.
“The driver was complaining about the fact that we don’t have any emissions tests out here in Pahrump, because Nye County does not smog vehicles,” Hoffman, the motorcycle deputy, said. “They work for the state, and Nye County is obviously within the state of Nevada. He was out here for a reason, and he just happened to see the truck’s emissions and he stopped on it.”
Malone, meanwhile, noted that penalties can be stiff for heavy-duty diesel violators, as fines can go upward of $800 for the first offense and $1,500 for subsequent offenses.
“With smoking gasoline vehicle violators, the operator of the vehicle is responsible for the citation,” Malone said. “With heavy-duty diesel violators, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for the citation.”
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at email@example.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes