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Smog Spotter program regulates Nevada’s dirty drivers

If you drive around the Las Vegas Valley enough, you’re bound to see a vehicle that is visibly releasing more smog than is allowed by law.

If you’re new to the valley or just unaware, there is something the average motorist can do to try to limit the number of overly polluting vehicles on area roads.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has offered its Smog Spotter program for over 20 years, helping bust thousands of dirty drivers each year.

In 2018, 8,707 vehicles were reported to the DMV, 5,260 of which were from Southern Nevada. The DMV sent 4,049 letters to registered vehicle owners, and it canceled 186 registrations because of overpolluting vehicles.

Law enforcement officers also cited 20 drivers of gasoline-powered vehicles during traffic stops last year, and 76 citations were issued through Sept. 30 of this year.

DMV spokesman Kevin Malone said repeat offenders are tough to come by because most don’t make the same mistake twice with their driving privilege at stake.

“As a result of the department’s ability to cancel vehicle registration or place a hold on renewals, the Smog Spotter program addresses polluters prior to them becoming repeat offenders,” he said.

By limiting the number of overly polluting drivers on Nevada’s roads, the DMV considers the Smog Spotter program a vital and effective part of enforcing air quality in the state, Malone said.

The DMV’s entire emissions enforcement program, including Smog Spotter, is funded by a $6 certificate fee motorists pay when getting an emissions inspection. The promotional budget for Smog Spotter is about $125,000 per year.

The emissions program includes sworn peace officers in both marked and unmarked units who have the authority to stop drivers to enforce emission control laws.

The officers usually test heavy-duty diesel vehicles but can issue a citation for any smoking vehicle, Malone said.

“It is illegal for a gasoline-powered vehicle to emit smoke under any circumstances, even in rural areas where smog checks are not required,” he said. “We encourage the public to report any Nevada-registered vehicle that is emitting smoke.”

If you see overly polluting vehicles you can report them to the Smog Spotter program via phone at 888-363-7664 or online at smogspotter.com.

Spaghetti Bowl closure

A portion of the Spaghetti Bowl will close to traffic overnight this week.

The U.S. Highway 95 southbound to Interstate 15 southbound ramp will shut down between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 5 a.m. Wednesday, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced last week.

The closure is needed for replacement of a bridge joint casing as part of Project Neon’s remaining punch-list work.

The nearly $1 billion, 4-mile-long upgrade of I-15 from the U.S. 95 interchange to Sahara Avenue was finished earlier this summer.

Saguaro Street roadwork

Lane reductions will affect traffic in Henderson this week.

Beginning Monday and lasting until Nov. 15, Saguaro Street between Taylor Street and Grand Cadence Drive will see lane reductions between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced last week.

The temporary lane restrictions are needed for a $169,000, 0.5-mile-long street upgrade that calls for new sidewalks and handicap-accessible ramps.

Motorists should be cautious in the work zone and heed construction signage.

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