DENVER – A Senate bill is now in effect to prevent drivers from knowingly blowing exhaust smoke to obscure the vision of other drivers, cyclists or pedestrians.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 278 on Monday. The bill makes “rolling coal” – the slang for blowing exhaust – subject to a $100 fine. An extra $35 fine is assessed when drivers modify their vehicle to blow the exhaust.
State Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, sponsored the bill, which came up twice in the 2017 legislative session. Initially, lawmakers thought “rolling coal” was a fad that would pass and legislation wasn’t necessary.
Coram said it is not uncommon for bills that may be controversial in a split Legislature to go through several variations before they are agreeable to both parties.
“I think it’s just one of those things that sometimes things take time to mature and develop, and I think that’s what we have here,” Coram said.
Republicans on the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee killed the initial version of SB 278 because they felt it would penalize owners of agricultural and commercial vehicles who modify their vehicles to improve performance.
Coram reintroduced the bill with an exemption for these vehicles; it passed on a majority vote by both chambers of the Legislature.