‘People are just really strange’

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A video captured on a dashcam and posted to TikTok spotlighted an obnoxious practice by a pickup truck driver that has become increasingly common.

In the video posted by WhamBaamTeslacam (@whambaamteslacam), the driver of a Tesla Model Y in Orange County, Florida, first noticed a large pickup truck in their rearview mirror before the truck sped up and cut them off by crossing over a solid white line. The truck then spits out a large cloud of black exhaust before speeding away.

@whambaamteslacam Pickup truck roll coal on Tesla#rollcoal#idiots#pickuptruck#teslasentrymode#viral#entertainment#whambaamteslacam #foryou#tesla#fypage#fy ♬ original sound – WhamBaamTeslacam

The practice is known as “rolling coal,” and it occurs when large plumes of black or gray smoke are deliberately released from the tailpipes of trucks with diesel engines that have been specifically modified to produce excessive pollution. The action is often directed toward electric vehicle drivers as a way of undermining them for being environmentally conscious.

According to FindLaw.com, the Environmental Protection Agency deemed “aftermarket performance modifications” that affect pollution control technology to be illegal because they violate the Clean Air Act. A 2020 report determined that 550,000 diesel pickups had tampered with these controls, causing significant air pollution. 

However, it was also noted that “enforcing that law is difficult because offenders must be caught red-handed” — which was what happened to this unsuspecting coal roller who was pulled over by two police officers on horseback.

At the state level, “only a few” specifically prohibit rolling coal, but “most states also have laws that prohibit drivers from obstructing roadways with excessive exhaust fumes, leaving police officers to make judgment calls.”

The practice causes harm to the environment and human health, a fact that led the United States Department of Justice to file a lawsuit against eBay earlier this year for selling illegal devices that defeat pollution controls on motor vehicles and allow coal rolling to be possible. 

Due to the current lack of enforcement, however, rolling coal remains a nuisance to other drivers. While some commenters on the TikTok video showed support for the truck driver, others called out the obnoxiousness of the action.

“EVs live rent-free in the minds of coal rollers,” one user wrote. “If it didn’t bother them, wouldn’t have spent any time just to blow smoke at EVs.”

“People are just really strange,” said another.

One called out the childish responses to the video, writing, “The way people tell on themselves in the comments as also being grade school level maturity because someone drives a car.”

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