Prague will start measuring air pollution from cars at road stops
Car traffic in Prague. via Raymond Johnston

Prague will start measuring air pollution from cars at road stops

Prague currently does not check emission compliance on moving vehicles, but that is changing.

City representatives, Municipal Police and Technical Inspection Stations (STK) signed a memorandum of cooperation that will allow for cars to be inspected while they are in operation. A particular problem is cars with particulate filters removed or damaged.

Prague has been seeking to reduce air pollution from vehicles in the long term. “Polluted air has a negative impact on the health of the population. Some 80 percent of air pollution in Prague is caused by car traffic,” Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček (United Force for Prague), responsible for the environment, said.

“Cars with the particulate filters removed or not working account for the largest share. These will be the focus of regular checks. Cars that do not meet the relevant emission limits have nothing to do with the streets of Prague,” he added.

The city is purchasing several special mobile measuring devices, which will be handed over to the police for use in roadside inspections to detect possible defects in the inspected vehicles.

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“The declared cooperation of all interested parties will undoubtedly contribute to the overall improvement of both road safety itself and conditions for a better life for Prague residents and visitors to the capital,” Regional Police director Tomáš Lerch said.

If a serious or dangerous problem is found, the vehicle’s driver is subject to a fine of up to 2,000 CZK on the spot and up to 2,500 CZK in administrative proceedings. At the same time, the technical capability of the vehicle is limited to 30 days in the event of a serious fault, and the vehicle loses its technical capability at the inspection site if it is unsafe. Following the correction of the problem, the vehicle must be inspected at a technical inspection station.

Fines can rise up to 50,000 CZK for people and 100,000 CZK for legal entities, as well as a driving ban for up to a year.

“These inpsections have been under discussion for a long time, and we have now found a solution that is practical and will not disrupt traffic in the streets of the metropolis. On the contrary, I believe that it will improve the quality of life of Praguers,” Hlubuček said.

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The inspection project is not limited in time and will be evaluated as it proceeds.

The most problematic component of Prague’s air pollution is dust particles, which act as carriers of carcinogenic substances. Carbon monoxide blocks the transfer of oxygen in the blood, nitrogen oxides increase the likelihood of respiratory diseases, aldehydes increase the risk of cancer, and, especially in the summer, precursors of ground-level ozone cause respiratory complications for children and elderly people.

Raymond Johnston

Prague-based journalist with over three decades of media experience writing about culture, business, and travel. Folktale and legend expert, and avid photographer. Follow him on Instagram at @raymondjohnston4 or visit his blog

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