The Road to Compliance: CARB’s Clean Truck Check

Posted 8 Apr 2024

As many are aware, California boasts breathtaking landscapes and vibrant cities. However, what may not be common knowledge is the significant challenge it encounters with air quality.

In response to this, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has introduced the Clean Truck Check program, otherwise known as the Heavy Duty Inspection and Maintenance (HD I/M), a crucial initiative aimed at reducing emissions from heavy-duty trucks.


“According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), several cities in California regularly experience days with poor air quality, resulting in high AQI ratings. Los Angeles, in particular, has frequently ranked among the cities with the worst air quality in the United States.”


Understanding the Clean Truck Check initiative

The Clean Truck Check program was established as a result of Senate Bill 210. Regulated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) it was introduced to ensure that all heavy-duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 14,000 pounds operating in California meet specific emissions standards. Its goal is to lower truck emissions and enhance public health by reducing air pollution.

Vehicles Exempt from the Clean Truck Check

  • Zero-emissions truck
  • Authorized emergency vehicles
  • Military tactical vehicles
  • Motorhomes registered outside of California
  • Historical vehicles
  • Vehicles operating under an experimental permit
  • Gasoline vehicles

Explaining the Clean Truck Check test requirements

To register a vehicle as compliant with the Clean Truck Check program, it must undergo either digital or physical inspections conducted by a certified technician or device.

Vehicles older than 2013 require a smokestack test to check for excessive particulate matter. However, digital tests offer a more streamlined process. Here are some of the testing processes.

  • Portable Emission Acquisition System (PEAQS): A roadside test that captures real-time emissions snapshots as vehicles pass by. It aids in identifying high-emission vehicles at weigh stations and border crossings across California.
  • Onboard Diagnostics (OBD): Approved systems directly collect emissions data from vehicles. Technicians receive this data via specialized equipment. Authorized testers, after completing CARB’s free online training and exam, conduct OBD tests to ensure compliance with CARB regulations. Telematics service providers may offer these services using approved OBD devices.
  • SAE J1667 Smoke Opacity Tests and Inspections: Required for vehicles lacking OBD systems, these tests use SAE J1667-compatible smoke meters. They assess visual and functional aspects, identifying excessive smoke typically caused by maintenance issues or tampering.
  • Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP): Initially used alongside HD I/M, PSIP examines smoke opacity in California’s in-state fleets. It focuses on smoke levels, monitoring for excessive emissions due to maintenance neglect or tampering.

When does testing commence?

While reporting requirements started in October 2023, the real action for you is testing.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Testing kicks off in mid-2024 – each truck will get its first emissions check sometime around this time.
  • Don’t sweat the deadline (yet!). The first compliance deadlines requiring a passing test won’t hit until on or after January 1, 2025.
  • Got a head start? Great! You can submit a passing test up to 90 days before your official deadline. For instance, a vehicle with a deadline of February 1, 2025, can submit a passing test as early as November 3, 2024.

Owners can view upcoming deadlines in their CTC-VIS fleet account.

How many emissions tests will be required?

In 2024, only one emissions test is required per vehicle, as testing deadlines will commence no earlier than July 2024.

Subsequent testing deadlines are determined by your DMV registration date or the last digit of the VIN for non-California registered vehicles and those exempt from California DMV registration. From 2025 to 2026, non-agricultural vehicles and non-California registered motorhomes require semi-annual testing, with the second test due six months after the initial test.

Beginning in 2027, vehicles equipped with OBD equipment will report quarterly.

Consequences of non compliance

Penalties for non-compliance with the Clean Truck Check program vary but commonly include citations or blocked vehicle DMV registrations.

While fines can be significant, a blocked registration can severely impact operations. If cited, you must pay the designated civil penalty and provide proof of correction to clear the citation.

How do I get CARB Clean Truck Check certificate?

To obtain a CARB compliance certificate in California, you need to ensure that your vehicle or equipment meets the California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission standards.

Once your vehicle or equipment is compliant, you can apply for the certificate through CARB’s website or by contacting their office directly.

Benefits of complying with Clean Truck Check

  • Health Benefits: Most importantly, these emission reductions aim to cut statewide NOx emissions by over 81 tons per day and particulate matter emissions by 0.7 tons per day by 2037. Such reductions could prevent over 7,500 premature deaths.
  • Environmental Impact: A more efficient fleet with reduced emissions contributes to improved air quality and helps mitigate climate change by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Cost Savings: Operating a fleet with vehicles that produce fewer emissions often results in reduced fuel consumption, leading to significant cost savings over time.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Maintaining a fleet with lower emissions ensures compliance with the clean truck check regulations, avoiding fines, citations or blocked vehicle DMV registrations.
  • Enhanced Reputation: Operating a more environmentally friendly fleet can boost the company’s reputation as a socially responsible and sustainable business, appealing to environmentally conscious customers and stakeholders.

Utilizing CameraMatics to streamline compliance

CameraMatics offers cutting-edge telematics solutions to facilitate compliance with Clean Truck Checks.

Our advanced technology is centrally managed from our Safety Centre, ensuring seamless monitoring and adherence to regulations:

  1. Emissions Monitoring: Integration with vehicle systems to monitor emissions in real-time, ensuring compliance with Clean Truck Check requirements.
  2. Reporting Capabilities: Automated reporting functionalities that streamline the process of submitting compliance data to regulatory authorities like CARB.
  3. Fleet Management Tools: Comprehensive fleet management platforms that track vehicle performance, maintenance schedules, and compliance status, helping companies stay organized and proactive in meeting Clean Truck Check requirements.
  4. Compliance Alerts: Automated alerts and notifications to remind fleet managers of upcoming compliance deadlines and necessary actions to maintain compliance.
  5. Ongoing Support: Dedicated customer support teams that provide guidance and assistance to ensure smooth implementation and ongoing compliance with Clean Truck Check regulation

California’s commitment to cleaner transportation is evident through the Clean Truck Check program. By addressing heavy-duty truck emissions, the state takes a significant step toward improving air quality and safeguarding the health of its residents.

To explore our SaaS solution and monitor your fleet’s emissions, please reach out to our team here.

To keep up to date with the latest changes and regulations, visit the Clean Truck Check website.