THE BRONX - New York City and state officials say new truck checkpoints are aimed at reducing pollution throughout the Bronx.

Trucks driving down I-95 Wednesday were forced to stop at three unannounced checkpoints along Conner Street where officials inspected the vehicles' safety and air pollution. Officials say the program was designed to reduce asthma rates in the Bronx, which are four times higher than the national average.

Arturo Garcia-Costas, of the New York State Environmental Conservation Department, says soot is dislodged from diesel engines and blown up into the air the community breathes. Garcia-Costas says officials are hoping the random inspections will encourage trucks to maintain cleanliness and follow environmental rules.

Officials say residents who spot increased truck traffic, trucks idling or any changes in pollution should call 311.