July 2022 BAR Advisory Group Committee Meeting and Vehicle Safety Inspection Program Regulatory Workshop Summary

From ASCCA Legislative Advocate, Jack Molodanof:

Below is a summary of my notes from the BAR Advisory Group Committee meeting and Vehicle Safety Inspection Program Regulatory Workshop that took place in Sacramento on July 21, 2022. 



BAR Advisory Group Committee Meeting 


Introductions. BAR Chief, Patrick Dorais made opening comments that included, BAR celebrating 50 years as Bureau and introduced BAR staff in the audience.  Members of the BAR Advisory Group Committee introduced themselves. 


DCA News & Updates.  The Governor signed bill allowing for government entities to continue remote meetings along with in-person as long as specified guidelines followed. The DCA representative provided updates on new DCA staff.  


Legislative Bill and BAR Regulations Update.   


Legislative bill update included summary of the following: AB 646-Expunged Convictions; AB 1733-Open Meetings; AB 2350- Zero Emissions Aftermarket Conversion Project; AB 2496- Vehicle Exhaust Systems and the following Catalytic Converter Bills: AB 1740, AB 2407, AB 2682, SB 986, & SB 1087.  


Discussion and concerns surrounded AB 2682, which requires auto shops that install or replace catalytic converters to ensure that they are permanently marked with VIN and requires smog stations to visually inspect and notify customer whether or not converter engraved with VIN.  Questions regarding the letter/number font size, placement, etc. of the VIN on the catalytic converter as well as details of the visually inspection.  Regulations may need to be implemented to clarify and properly enforce, if the bill passes and signed by Governor.  


Regulations Adopted in 2022 included: Smog Check Repair Assistance; License and Regulation Training and STAR Program Update. Pending Regulations: Smog Check Equipment-Bio Metrics; Smog Check Inspection Equipment-DAD Specification Update; Citation & Remedial Training Requirements for ARD’s; ARD Registration Application Requirements & Vehicle Safety Inspection Program.  


See link for Presentation. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/bag/202207/legislation-and-regulations.pdf 


Storage Fee Referrals. In response to concerns raised from the insurance industry about unreasonable storage rates charged by shops, BAR created a dedicated email to respond to vehicle storage and fee issues. BAR reviews and determines the appropriateness of storage fees and makes recommendations. BAR also educates ARD on laws pertaining to storage fees. Over 30 processed referrals to date and 16 cases have resulted in storage fees being reduced or eliminated.  About 15 cases resulted from adjuster/insurer delays in picking up total loss vehicle. Discussion and concerns were raised re: insurer delays in inspecting vehicles (insurers have within 6 business days to inspect vehicle damage after being notified of claim) which increases storage rates and failure of insurers to pay for required repairs which also causes delay.  Comments included allowing shops to also use dedicated email to contact BAR re: storage issues, instead of only insurers.  BAR will continue to mediate and educate stakeholders regarding the storage laws and fees.  See link for Presentation. 



Enforcement/Licensing Modernization Update.  BAR is in the process of consolidating all DCA regulatory entities into a single licensing and enforcement system. The intent is to modernize business process on-line. See link for Presentation. 



BAR-OIS Smog Check Security Update.  BAR is concerned about security risks re: computers running on the BAR-OIS. BAR recommending all BAR-OIS users move to a Windows 10 or Windows 8.1.  BAR-OIS will be certified for use on Windows 11 at a date to be announced. See link for Presentation.  



STAR Smog Check Program Changes.  Changes include deleting outdated Gold Shield provisions; modifying existing equipment and eligibility standards and establishing a STAR certification suspension rather than invalidation process. See link for Presentation. 



2022 Smog Check Performance Report.  BAR reported that vehicles certified by “high performing” smog check stations failed at lower rate at roadside inspections compared to vehicles certified by stations with lower FPR scores. BAR and CARB believe that smog could have been reduced if all stations operated as effectively as high performing stations. See link for Presentation. 



Enforcement Statistics.  Consumer complaint trends as of 21-22 YTD are as follows: Engine Repair 34%; General Repair and Maintenance 18%; Auto Body 15%; Transmission 8%; Smog 6%; Used Car Transactions 5%; Vehicle Warranty 5%; Unlicensed Activity 2%; Towing and Storage 1%. See link for Presentation. 



Licensing Statistics.  The BAR has currently 34,093 registered automotive repair dealers in the state. See link for Presentation. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/bag/202207/licensing-statistics.pdf 


Public Comment- Johan Gallo, Cal-ABC provided history of BAR Advisory Group Committee and how it was formed approximately 30 years ago working with Governor Wilson. 


Next BAR Advisory Group Meeting is scheduled for Thursday October 20, 2022 


Vehicle Safety Inspection Program Regulation Workshop 


The BAR held a regulatory workshop regarding the proposed vehicle safety inspection program.  The new program, based on the passage of AB 471, is designed to protect consumers when purchasing revived total loss salvage vehicles.  Many unsuspecting consumers are purchasing rebuilt total loss vehicles that may not have been repaired properly and are unsafe.   The new safety inspection combines the brake and lamp program and adds additional safety criteria before total loss salvage vehicles are approved to obtain revived salvage title certificates.  The salvage vehicle safety inspection consists of the following nine (9) sections: information on technical access and vehicle identification; lightning system; passenger compartment; tires and wheels; braking system; steering and suspension system; body structure inspection; road test; and equipment requirements.  The vehicle safety technician will also possess ASE certification and pass a licenses examination. Comments and concerns included how the program would specifically work and the impact to current brake and lamp licensees.  Suggestions included the need for additional inspection requirements such as pre-accident photo’s showing damage, wheel alignments, measuring, bond or liability insurance requirements for vehicle inspection shops, additional certification requirements for inspectors. BAR will review all comments and suggestions and make changes accordingly. See links below for presentation, text and manual. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/workshops/202207-vehicle-safety-inspection/presentation.pdf 





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