Special Cargo/Environment

Air Quality

New Air Quality Rules -- "Heavy-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Regulation"

New regulation: California has a regulation that requires box-type trailers and the tractors that pull them to be equipped with SmartWaySM verified aerodynamic technologies and low rolling resistance tires.

Trailers: The trailer requirements apply to 53-foot or longer dry-van and refrigerated-van trailers. The requirements and compliance deadlines vary by model year and the trailer type (dry-van or refrigerated van).

Truck tractors: The tractor requirements also vary by model year and tractor type (day-cab or sleeper-cab).

More information: Fact sheets are posted at the California Air Resources Board (ARB) website.

CCR: The regulation is in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 17, Division 3, Chapter 1, SubChapter 10, Article 4, Subarticle 1, Sections 95300-95311.

SmartWay: SmartWaySM trucks are described on the U.S. EPA "SmartWaySM Transport" website.

ARB Contacts: For further information, call 866-6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or e-mail: 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov.  When calling, Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Compliance Assistance, and Press 4 for Truck and Bus Regulations.

The On Road Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicle (In Use) Regulation, also known as the Truck and Bus Regulation, was approved by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) on December 12, 2008, to significantly reduce emissions from existing on-road diesel vehicles operating in California. The regulation requires affected trucks and buses to meet performance requirements between 2011 and 2023.  By January 1, 2023 all vehicles must have a 2010 model year engine or equivalent.

Affected vehicles include on-road heavy-duty diesel fueled vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 pounds, yard trucks with off-road certified engines, and diesel fueled shuttle vehicles of any GVWR. Out-of-state trucks and buses that operate in California are also subject to the regulation.  

For further information, call 866-6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or e-mail at: 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov

ARB's Drayage Truck Regulatory Activities

All drayage trucks must be registered with the Drayage Truck Registry (DTR) by the end of September 2009. The DTR is now live on the ARB website at: DTR Regulatory Activities.


The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is testing all heavy duty trucks and buses for excessive smoke and tampering. This includes California vehicles, out-of-state vehicles, and Mexican and Canadian vehicles.

Tests are performed at California Highway Patrol (CHP) weigh stations, fleet locations, or randomly selected roadside locations.

The penalty for the first citation is $800 (U.S. dollars) and the truck must be repaired. If the violation is corrected within 45 days, $500 is waived by the ARB. If 45 days are exceeded, the truck must still be repaired, and the $800 penalty paid. For further violations within one year, the penalty is $1,800 and, after repairs, the truck must be retested by the ARB for compliance.

The ARB website is at: www.arb.ca.gov.

NOTE: In extreme cases, the CHP may take a vehicle out of service for an outstanding citation if it is not properly cleared. For more information, call the CHP at (916) 843-3400.

ARB Incentive Programs

A variety of incentive programs promote the use of lower-polluting retrofit technology and cleaner diesel engines. Many of these programs are administered through the local air pollution control districts to those who qualify, according to the guidelines developed by the Air Resources Board. Two of the larger programs are:

More information can be found at the local air pollution control districts.

Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM).

TRUs are refrigeration systems powered by diesel internal combustion engines designed to refrigerate or heat perishable products that are transported in various containers, including semitrailers, truck vans, shipping containers, and rail cars.  TRUs and TRU generator sets that operate in California must meet in-use performance standards that are phased in starting December 31, 2008.  Owners of California-based TRUs must apply for ARB Identification Numbers by March 16, 2009.  Operators of California-based TRUs must submit an Operator Report by March 16, 2009, for each California terminal.

See the following at the TRU website:

  • "TRU Brochure #2" – provides a brief overview.
  • "TRU ATCM Status Update" – news and status of implementation.
  • "How Do I Comply with the TRU ATCM?" – detailed compliance information.
  • "Final Regulation Order" – the regulation itself.
  • "Advisories" – link on the left-hand navigation bar lists TRU advisories.
  • “TRU List serve” – sign up to get timely emailed news and notices.

Toll-free TRU Helpline: 1-888-878-2826 (1-888-TRU-ATCM)

Hazardous Cargo

All motor carriers and drivers involved in transportation of hazardous materials must comply with the requirements contained in federal and state regulations, and must apply for and obtain a hazardous materials transportation license from the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The license costs $100 dollars for the original, and $75 for a renewal. When transporting explosives, inhalation hazards, and highway route-controlled quantities of radioactive materials, safe routing and safe stopping-places are required. A route map must be carried in the vehicle.

Visit the CHP website for forms regarding Hazardous Materials Transport.

Endorsement: A driver is required to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement issued by the driver's country or state of domicile to operate any commercial vehicle carrying hazardous materials. The driver is required to display placards or markings while hauling hazardous waste, unless the driver is exempt from the endorsement requirements. A driver who is a California resident is required to obtain an endorsement from CHP (see phone number below).

For enforcement information, contact the CHP at (916) 843-3445.


All commercial trucks transporting fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables may be unloaded to inspect any container or lots of containers for quality and labeling. Drivers will receive a Certificate of Compliance/Receipt for each load. Minimal fees may be charged for this service.

For more information on hauling animals, crops and produce, contact the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) at (916) 654-0466.