According to a recent report, 1000s of UK drivers are illegally driving modified cars without diesel exhaust filters, an investigation has found.
Due to processing large amounts of particulate matter from diesel exhaust the filters can easily become clogged and likely to break.
To replace the broken filter can cost up to £1000, so to avoid the cost some drivers have opted to have the filter removed.
The procedure to remove the filter is legal and costs only a few hundred pounds, but driving the modified vehicle is illegal and any vehicle found with a modified filter will be subject to a fine of £1,000 for a car or £2,500 for a van.
Eighteen hundred diesel cars in the UK have been found by The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency to be on the road without the legally required diesel particulate filters.
The pollution produced by the particulate matter in the diesel fumes can be damaging to the heart and lungs as well as unborn children in the womb. Noxious fumes created by diesel engines have been linked by The World Health Organisation to 38,000 premature deaths every year.
DVSA Chief Executive Gareth Llewellyn said: “Vehicles found to have tampered with or missing DPF filters will fail their MOT… DVSA continues to pursue such offences and will take action against any MOT garages found to be conducting illegal modifications.”
Jonathon Grigg, Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, said the emissions given off by unfiltered diesel engines are “are not taken seriously enough”.
“By removing the DPF you are taking a toxic vehicle and making it even more toxic. When you breathe in diesel emissions a lot of what goes into your lungs is soot.
“Some of that soot will continue to stay in your lungs even after you breathe out multiple times.
“Living in an urban area you only take in a small amount of these particles everyday, but what we are learning is that over the course of a lifetime that these effects accumulate.”
The long term risks associated with exposure to diesel emissions include increased risk of cardiac and respiratory diseases such as asthma as well as slightly higher chance of getting lung cancer.
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