Skip to main content

The Next Time You Are Tempted To Roll Coal, Don’t, Someone Might Get Hurt

For a couple of years, various authorities have urged drivers to dashcams because they are great protection. They are also great at helping authorities find hit-and-run drivers.

In the last year or two, car owners have been urged to get and use dashcams because you never know when the footage will come in handy. Here’s a case in point, from a few months back:

Small SUV Making Poor Traffic Judgements

It seems that a small SUV was tooling along at well above the speed limit. The driver, who, one presumes, is buzzed on something or other decides to move through traffic by practicing what we at Torque News like to call the butter knife move. It’s like taking a butter knife, putting on a lot of butter and just covering a dinner roll with lots of the delicious stuff. For a driver, the equivalent of the butterknife move is looking ahead in traffic; seeing enough holes in traffic to complete a maneuver in one safe swoop.

Unfortunately, our buzzed friend managed to push one driver from one of the middle lanes into the far right lane, where he forced another driver into and beyond the breakdown lane. The third driver in this poorly executed, likely drunken move ended up tagging the steel barrier as did the driver pushed into him. Meantime, our butter-knifing friend decided to swing back toward the high-speed lane, and as he did, he forced the third car into the center barrier. We don’t know if the airbags popped, but the crash smashed up that vehicle as well.

Up to this point, there was nary a scratch on the buzzed driver or his vehicle. From the vantage point of the car that shot the footage continued to hang back filming and waiting – even as the driver of the photo car was telling his partner to dial 911 -- the final stages of this debacle unfolded. It seems now that the butter-knifing vehicle managed to tangle with a fourth car, knocking the stuffings out of his own, and making a mess of the other vehicle.

While there are those vehicles that are involved in roadway incidents. It's only a small subset of vehicles that do this. By far, most consumers plan their purchases around exciting packages like the F250 Tremor.

Bystanding Vehicle Filmed The Entire Episode

The key here is that the photo vehicle shot the entire episode, and, as its driver documented later, they stopped and waited for the Highway Patrol to arrive on the scene where they made their video available to the troopers. No matter what the buzzed driver tried to say or do, with the whole incident recorded, there was no way around it; the camera had him. It was all recorded. If there were no dashcam recording this – and if the butter-knifing driver was better at handling his car – the chances are good that he might have steamed his way through traffic and he might have escaped justice. (We don’t honestly know what happened, but, assume something did).

Watch Ford F350 Super Duty News and Click To Subscribe To Torque News Youtube Channel For Daily Ford and Automotive Industry News Analysis.

So, what was the point of all this? Well, it seems that a Tesla Model 3 driver and his wife can be thankful that the automaker has put a ton of technology, including a good camera, into the electric. Here’s the story:

Last week in Clearwater, Florida, a husband and wife were driving home on a local highway in the wee hours of the morning. Part of the tech package included a neat dashcam and its integrated equipment. Exiting the highway, the Tesla was moving along another road when the operator saw a Ford F350 Super Duty gaining rapidly.

Ford F350 Super Duty Swerves Right

Passing the Tesla, the driver of the Ford F350 suddenly swerves to the right, cutting the Model 3 off, smashing into what looks like the left front fender of the electric. The impact of the crash forced the Tesla into a spinout. Thankfully there were no injuries. Meantime, the F350, having done its damage, sped off into the early morning.

Unbeknownst to the F350 driver, Tesla’s built-in dashcam filmed the whole incident. Authorities were able to find and identify the vehicle and its driver. And, thanks to the same footage, the company that insures the F350 is now paying to fix the Tesla.

There is a significant issue growing out of this incident. One can assume the F350’s engine is likely the Powerstroke 6.7-liter turbocharged V8, that, when driven responsibly is a good engine. When used irresponsibly, well, it’s a much different story.

Ford F350 Super Duty Was Emitting Lots Of Exhaust

Reports about the actions of the F350 said it was emitting a ton of black exhaust as it sped along, just before the impact. The driver was obviously “rolling coal” at the environmentally-friendly electric. Unfortunately, the maneuver itself is not illegal. Yes, it is entirely legal to pass someone in a diesel, while laying down a massive cloud of black smoke. Toyota Priuses have been the target of these antics for years. It is a way that some diesel truck drivers make their displeasure known about eco-vehicles.

This issue with this particular crash is that there were a crash and spinout involved. This could have injured the Tesla’s occupants. At this point, it is unknown if the truck driver faces charges. He may face charges of reckless operating or endangerment or a combination of several.

And, though this does give some diesel drivers a way to let the driving world know their pique at e-cars, it is perhaps high time for one state or another to start things rolling so that if someone wants to “roll coal” at someone, the only stuff they can use is from some specialty fuel shops.

Follow Marc Stern, the Ford F150 Reporter for Torque News with news and tips about Ford trucks at @iraradioguy or on Facebook at mstern001.

The Ford Authority


Diesel Technol… (not verified)    July 31, 2019 - 2:19PM

First up: Rolling coal is always bad, and not supported by the industry. Modifying vehicles so they emit plumes of black smoke has no place on the road – it’s unsafe, bad for the environment, and gives diesel engines a bad name. We all need to make sure that today’s clean diesels are operating in the way that manufacturers intended. It’s unfortunate that a very small fraction of drivers choose to do this. It is not representative of the manner in which diesel engines were designed to operate, and does not represent the current world of diesel technology that people have worked so hard to make clean.

Second: The Federal Clean Air Act, under section 203(a)(3)(A), prohibits “any person knowingly to remove or render inoperative any device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine in compliance with regulations under [Title II of the Clean Air Act regarding mobile sources] prior to its sale or delivery to the ultimate purchaser, or for any person knowingly to remove or render inoperative any such device or element of design after such sale and delivery to the ultimate purchaser.”

Marc Stern    July 31, 2019 - 11:07PM

Thanks for the knowledge and I agree with you wholeheartedly. It is a shame that the minority of drivers acts in this manner. And, it is also a shame that they may tamper with their diesels so they can "roll coal" It may be right on the line of legality but it still does not excuse this mindless act, especially when innocent third parties are injured. And, if they aren't injured, at least, there are potential crashes and other issues that have to be addressed. I agree with you 100 percent.

Coal-roller fan (not verified)    November 6, 2019 - 11:07AM

I don't know whats wrong with rolling coal... it is very fun and entertaining... no reason why it should be illegal... you guys sound like ur rooting for EV's. NOT a good thing.