It is a reasonable response in LA. There are lots of old cars and trucks on the road there because it is warm and dry. That means there is more opportunity for people to drive vehicles that don’t meet smog requirements. One guy doesn’t see many vehicles daily compared to the total number present. Reporting them when seen barely scratches to surface of the total nonconforming ones on the road. If lots of citizens report smoking cars then it will have a meaningful impact.
The vw farfegnugen commercial for “flame” was pretty accurate.
I remember an interview a while back with an emissions expert. Turns out (like in many things) 90% or the problem emissions come from 10% of the vehicles (roughly). So reporting the few gross polluters gets at the heart of the problem.
I had a work truck reported once for excessive smoke. Our trucks park by people all the time, so I try to stay on top of emissions issues as best I can. By the time I got the notice about the excessive smoke, I had already repaired the issue- leaky injector. It was a bit of a pain to prove to the powers that needed to know that I had repaired the issue BEFORE they informed me about it. I had to go to a special test station and prove to an “official” that it wasn’t smoking any more.
If I had let it keep smoking until I got the notice, I could have just filed my repair order with the complaint and all would have been good. But because I was proactive, I had to waste a good chunk of a day proving myself. That aspect was rather frustrating.
Laws which encourage one one citizen to turn against another, reporting on what you think someone else may be doing wrong etc, those can result in a sort of tit for tit situation that’s good for nobody. But I guess in some situations, esp those involving health and safety, it is probably necessary.
Where this sort of thing can go amiss are minor complaints, like someone complaining about their neighbor’s garbage can left on the street for a couple hours too long. If a neighbor blocks the other neighbor’s driveway with inconsiderate & illegal parking, that pretty much has to be complained about. But garbage cans, not so much.
There’s no encouragement and no incentive
I don’t get a bounty or any kind of financial compensation