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SMOG Testing Citations & Fines

ASCCA previously reported as part of our Bureau of Automotive Repair Advisory Group (BAG) meeting summary that there has been a big increase in citations and fines for issuing a certificate of compliance using a BAR97 EIS when an OIS test was required.  This is a violation of Section 44050 of the Health and Safety Code.  According to statistics provided by the BAR during the July 23rd, BAG meeting they had already issued 437 citations.  The citations are issued to both the technician and the station, and the fines are issued to the station.  ASCCA has and will continue to encourage BAR to update the BAR97 EIS and OIS equipment software to identify and lock out vehicles that are not eligible to be tested and issued a certificate of compliance.  NOTE: The citations are for issuing a certificate of compliance using the wrong testing platform.

What to Expect

If you are cited you will receive a letter that includes a citation conference date and time to appear in the local office.  During the conference the BAR field office representative will present the actual citation along with evidence.  It is important to note that the field office does not have authority to dismiss or abate fines, but they will review your two appeal options:

1.     Contest through the informal process, which includes writing the Sacramento Office - The shop must make an informal appeal within 30 days (in writing explaining the circumstances) of the office conference and the BAR Chief designee (in Sacramento) will review the matter.

2.     Contest the a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

The shops that ASCCA has communicated with have used the informal appeal process.  Their results have been the BAR’s abatement of the $1,000, but the citations have been reissued.  BAR has indicated that a single (one time occurrence) will not jeopardize STAR status.

ASCCA strongly encourages members to educate your technicians to avoid citations, as the shop owner will receive the fine.  You can access the Smog Check Manual available on the BAR website along with Smog Check Requirements by Vehicle Type, which can be used as references for your technicians.  Provided below is the link to the STAR Program Q&As and the following two questions are specific to this issue. 

5.3 Will my station's STAR certification be affected if an inspector at my station receives a citation?

It depends on the citation. Applicable citations are detailed in §3392.5.1(a)(1) of the California Code of Regulations. Note that among the applicable citations, a single citation with an order of abatement issued to an inspector typically would not affect a station's STAR certification. Testing a 2000 and newer model-year gasoline-powered vehicle, or 1998 and newer model-year diesel vehicle on the BAR-97 Emission Inspection System (EIS) instead of the required OBD Inspection System (OIS) usually results in a citation with an order of abatement. However, citations for other reasons or multiple citations for failing to test on the OIS can be cause for invalidation of a station's STAR certification.

5.5 Can one isolated mistake on a Smog Check inspection force me out of the STAR Program?

It depends on the nature of the mistake. A mistake that leads to a citation or an administrative action is grounds for and can lead to invalidation of a station's STAR certification. In contrast, it generally takes several repeated inspection errors before a station fails to meet any of the STAR performance measures that are based on Smog Check inspection data. Note that typically a single citation with an order of abatement, such as for testing a 2000 and newer model-year gasoline-powered vehicle, or 1998 and newer model-year diesel vehicle on the BAR-97 Emission Inspection System (EIS) instead of the required OBD Inspection System (OIS), would not result in the invalidation of a station's STAR certification. However, citations for other reasons or multiple citations for failing to test on the OIS can be cause for invalidation of a station's STAR certification.

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