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A bill that could revoke the car registration of smoky vehicles ran off the road, at least temporarily, on Tuesday.
The House Transportation Committee decided to hold HB110 because, as written, it could also revoke the title of ownership for smoky vehicles, meaning violators could lose ownership of their cars.
Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, the bill's sponsor said she would work to alter the bill and bring it back.
But she noted the penalties that members say are too severe are already available to punish owners of vehicles with chronic safety violations and she simply sought the same penalties.
Arent is pushing the bill as a step to help reduce air pollution. "Vehicles do account for 48 percent of our pollution," she said.
Arent said the legislation targets individuals who intentionally alter vehicles after they pass emissions tests, or those who refuse to fix a car that falls out of compliance. She said it would put teeth into enforcement.
"For some reason, some of these drivers want to show how much smoke they can generate," and some even install devices available on the Internet that can blow black smoke on demand by flipping a switch, she said.
Ingrid Griffee, executive director of Utah Moms for Clean Air, testified about one such driver who apparently wanted to punish her for driving an electric car.
"A very large truck pulled very close in front of me and switched on his black smoke," she said. "In the cloud of black smoke that appeared in front of my windshield, I was unable to see for a couple of seconds."
Arent said health departments constantly receive complaints about smoky cars. She said Weber County for a time worked with the state to revoke registrations for chronic violators, until the state attorney general's office said it lacked statutory authority to do so.
Arent's bill is one of 17 pieces of legislation in the Legislature so far this year that attempt to address air pollution, according to House Majority Whip Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton.