On any given day, Southland residents traveling the basin's roads and freeways
may encounter smoking vehicles. AQMD depends on public participation to help reduce visible exhaust from
vehicles. Drivers are encouraged to take a proactive approach to
improving this problem by reporting the vehicle to AQMD's smoking vehicle
How to report a smoking vehicle?
Drivers who spot a vehicle emitting excessive amounts of exhaust
smoke can call the AQMD's toll free number (1-800-CUT-SMOG) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and report it. Verizon and AT&T mobile phone subscribers can access the
automated system toll-free by simply pressing “#” SMOG (7664).
An AQMD staff member will ask callers:
- the smoking vehicle's license plate number (the program only has jurisdiction over
vehicles registered in the State of California);
- the vehicle make; and
- the date, time and location of the observation.
Those who e-mail a complaint must include all of the above information in the
body of their e-mail. The program is voluntary and those making complaints
What happens after a complaint is received?
Using the Department of Motor Vehicle's database, AQMD retrieves the owner's
registration information and mails an advisory letter to the owner informing them that a
complaint has been filed against their vehicle. All information involved in the program
The letter advises smoking vehicle owners that their vehicle was reported to be smoking
and recommends they have it repaired to eliminate excessive emissions. The letter also alerts the owner to the fact that excessively smoking vehicles violate
the State of California Motor Vehicle Codes (Sections 27153 and 27153.5) which carries a
fine of $100 to $250, -- depending on the type of vehicle -- for first time offenders.
After owners make the necessary repairs, they are asked to complete the Smoking Vehicle
Compliance Form attached to the advisory letter and return it to AQMD.
More than 40% of the vehicle owners who receive an advisory letter return their
completed compliance forms to the AQMD, stating that they have attended to their
vehicle, either having it checked and if warranted having any needed repairs
Can AQMD impose fines on vehicle owners who have been reported?
No. However the California Highway Patrol (CHP) can cite passenger vehicles as well as
big rigs and buses for excessive smoke and, if warranted, impose a fine.