Ever see a vehicle emitting excessive amounts of smoke on the road? Individuals can do something about it, and their actions could help the region breathe easier. The North Central Texas Council of Governments is celebrating 10 years of administering the Regional Smoking Vehicle Program, one of several efforts aimed at improving air quality in Dallas-Fort Worth and North Texas areas.

Commonly known as RSVP, the program is designed to inform motorists whose vehicles may be emitting excessive smoke from the tailpipe and help them address the issue. With 10 North Texas counties in ozone nonattainment, RSVP allows North Texans to take an active role in the effort to meet the federal standard.

Driving a vehicle with excessive smoke from the tailpipe in Texas is a violation of the state’s Smoking Vehicle Statute, which defines a smoking vehicle as one that emits smoke for 10 or more consecutive seconds and/or whose suspended smoke does not fully dissipate within 10 seconds.

Those who see a vehicle smoking from the tailpipe for a prolonged period of time have two primary ways to anonymously report it:

· Dial #SMOKE (#76653) on their mobile phones.

· Report the offending vehicle by visiting www.smokingvehicle.net.

Since 2007, when NCTCOG assumed responsibility for the program in North Texas from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, more than 40,000 reports of smoking vehicles have been received, with the majority of reports submitted online. While the phone is a viable option and can result in more accurate reports, it is important that people practice good driving habits and refrain from reporting vehicles while behind the wheel.

Each owner of vehicles reported for belching excessive pollutants receives a letter and brochure explaining the time and location his or her vehicle was reported, possible causes of the incident, and potential solutions.

Some motorists receiving letters could be eligible for assistance with vehicle repair or replacement through the AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program.

AirCheckTexas helps North Texans who meet the income criteria by providing vouchers of up to $600 to fix emissions-related problems and up to $3,500 to replace their aging vehicles. Income and vehicle requirements are available at www.airchecktexas.org.