Jack Emberly.

Jack Emberly.

Along the Fraser: Rollin’ coal must be stopped

Where diesel truck owners rev their engines to full power in order to spew thick, black smoke from their exhausts …

“‘Rollin’ coal’ is pollution porn for dudes with pickup trucks.” –

If you own a fuel-efficient small car, you might learn about ‘rollin’ coal’ the hard way – as a victim.

“Rollin’ coal is where diesel truck owners rev their engines to full power in order to spew thick, black smoke from their exhausts.”

A website called The Daily Caller explains how the DIY crowd can modify trucks – about $500 U.S. – for maximum soot ejection. You’d do this to target “hot babes” – lol – but more likely, because you want to get even with President Barack Obama for his liberal environmental protection laws, and asking folks to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Daily Caller says “Prius repellent” (soot) tells “every guy in a pink argyle sweater exactly where you stand.”

Says slate.com, it’s a “use-it-before-the-liberals-ban-it” response, similar to the one that spikes gun purchases in anticipation of tougher ownership laws every time there’s a mass murder.

Naturally, responsible adults – diesel trunk owners like my neighbor – wouldn’t coal roll anyone. On websites, where they share information like RV pulling power, torque, and reliability, they dismiss rollers as anyone who attaches parts to a good truck for immature purpose.

But, sticks and stones can’t break the bones of rollers, or discourage them as long as they can post their triumphs on line, and chortle that they “got one.” They can, easily.

Online coal rolling clubs, fueled by the on-line subculture, are springing up everywhere.

Coal rolling is here, too. I recently witnessed it at the intersection of 207th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road in Maple Ridge. As a big pickup revved its engine, a thick cloud of smoke from a fat pipe on the passenger side of the truck engulfed the little car behind it.

The truck then sped away.

“That wasn’t accidental,” I said to my wife. “That soot bomb was aimed at that car.”

“I think you’re right,” she said, recalling an incident that confused her a week earlier. “I thought the guy was burning oil and should get his car serviced, but it was too much black smoke for that.”

Coal rolling added to road rage can be dangerous. A video of a truck tail-gaiting, and then sooting another vehicle in Langley on June 24th could have resulted in loss of life. RCMP said they’re investigating, and charges might be laid.

But, in most cases, that’s unlikely until the act is more fully recognized for what it is by those who can do something about it.

We can all help by reporting incidents and urging authorities to end it.

“It’s bullying,” said Pitt Meadows Coun. Bruce Bell, who deplored the practice, as did Maple Ridge Coun. Bob Masse.

“It’s polluting,” said the latter. “We should do what we can to stop it.”

Neither had heard of coal rolling before.

Coal rolling is violence to others and the environment.

But, said Dan Herbranson, it hasn’t been brought to the local RCMP attention.

“Our traffic services aren’t aware of this. There’s nothing in the Motor Vehicle Act. It’s not a crime unless you can say he [roller] purposefully spread coal as a way of harassment. Then it would be a Criminal Code thing.”

Should coal roller’s engines be checked for polluting?

“With the testing stations being closed, there’s no way to see,” Herbranson said.

Law-makers should head off coal rollers on our roads. While they’re at it, they should investigate train horns mounted on some of their pickups. Kits of these toys – guaranteed to make pedestrians on the street, or kids playing in parks, jump – sell online for $49.

Rollers say they’re another source of harmless fun for good ol’ boys.


– By Jack Emberly, a retired teacher, local author and environmentalist.