Emissions from vehicle exhausts are a major source of fine particle pollution and impact on the environment. Diesel vehicles make up approximately 8 percent of the total vehicles on our roads but produce about 60 percent of the particulate matter emitted by all forms of road transport.
One of the initiatives to improve air quality includes a smoky vehicle camera system that identifies polluting vehicles in the M5 East tunnel. This system was installed in June 2006 at a cost of $3 million. The camera system recently received a $250,000 upgrade as part of the M5 East Air Quality Improvement Program announced in October 2012. The upgrade allows a broader range of smoky vehicles to be detected as part of a new Smoky Vehicle Enforcement Program.
The Smoky Vehicle Enforcement Project started 1 March 2013 and includes increased fines for the operators of smoky vehicles. Vehicle operators will now face fines of $2000 for the first two offences. A third offence will attract a $2000 fine as well as an automatic three month suspension of vehicle registration.
The smoky vehicle camera system is designed to detect, identify and record smoky vehicles using smoke detectors, video and still cameras to detect the vehicles, and optical character recognition software to capture the identity of large 'smoky' vehicles.
The process of smoky vehicle detection in the M5 east tunnel:
- Cameras detect smoky vehicle (200m of video footage taken).
- Report sent to OEH for review.
- OEH officer determines whether vehicle is compliant or not.
- If non-compliant, OEH sends advisory letter to vehicle owner:
- The majority of vehicles are checked and repaired.
- Failure to comply can result in court action.
For more information, or to report a smoky vehicle, please visit the Environment Protection Authority website or phone 131 555.