Code Section

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 26. AIR RESOURCES [39000 - 44474]

  ( Division 26 repealed and added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 957. )


  ( Part 5 added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 957. )

CHAPTER 5. Motor Vehicle Inspection Program [44000 - 44127]

  ( Chapter 5 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 892, Sec. 2. )

ARTICLE 3. Quality Assurance [44030 - 44045.6]
  ( Article 3 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 892, Sec. 2. )


(a) The consumer protection-oriented quality assurance portion of the motor vehicle inspection program shall ensure uniform and consistent tests and repairs by all qualified smog check technicians and licensed smog check stations throughout the state, and shall include a number of stations providing referee functions available to consumers.

(b) (1) All licensed smog check stations shall utilize original equipment and replacement parts that are certified by the department. The department may enter into a contract for the supply or service of certified equipment with the manufacturers and service providers of this equipment. The department shall afford to the smog check station the option to purchase the equipment or service directly from the contractor or any other provider of certified equipment or service, as determined by the department. A contract executed pursuant to this paragraph may authorize compensation to the contractor as provided in subdivision (c) of Section 44037.2.

(2) The department shall charge a fee for certification testing of the equipment or the replacement parts. The fee for certification testing of equipment shall be fixed by the department based upon its actual costs of certification testing, shall be calculated from the time that the equipment is submitted for certification testing until the time that the certification testing is complete, and shall not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000). The fee for certification testing of replacement parts shall be determined by the department based upon its actual costs of certification testing, shall be calculated from the time that the replacement part is submitted for certification testing until the time that the certification testing is complete, and shall not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).

(3) The department shall adopt, and may revise, standards for certification and decertification of the equipment, that may include a device for testing of emissions of oxides of nitrogen. The department shall adopt, and update as necessary, equipment standards that may include a test analyzer system containing any or all of the following components:

(A) A microprocessor to control test sequencing, selection of proper test standards, the automatic pass or fail decision, and the format for the test report and the recorded data file. The microprocessor shall be capable of using a standardized programming language specified by the department.

(B) An exhaust gas analysis portion with an analyzer for hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide that is designed to accommodate an optional oxides of nitrogen analyzer. An oxides of nitrogen analyzer shall be required in the enhanced program areas.

(C) Equipment necessary to perform visual and functional tests of emission control devices required by the department.

(D) A device to accept and record motor vehicle identification information, including a device capable of reading barcode information pursuant to regulations of the state board. The device shall have the ability to identify, with the cooperation of the Department of Motor Vehicles, smog inspections performed on vehicles sold by used car dealers.

(E) A device to provide a printed record of the test process and diagnostic information for the motorist.

(F) A mass storage device capable of storing not less than the minimum amount of program software and data specified by the department.

(G) A device to provide for the periodic modification of all program and data files contained on the mass storage device, using a standardized form of removable media conforming to specifications of the department.

(H) A device that provides for the storage of test records on a standardized form of removable media conforming to specifications of the department.

(I) One or more communications ports conforming to the specifications established by the department as necessary to provide real time communication, or communication that is consistent with maintaining a superior quality assurance program and efficient information transfer, between the test equipment and the centralized computer database through the computer network maintained by the department pursuant to Section 44037.1.

(J) An interface capable of monitoring equipment used with loaded mode testing, idle testing, onboard diagnostic testing, or other tests prescribed by the department.

(K) A real-time computer data program that would prevent a certificate of compliance from being issued if a vehicle is identified as having an excessive variance from computer data for that vehicle, mismatched information, or other irregularities.

(L) Any other features that the department determines are necessary to increase the effectiveness of the program, including, but not limited to, a loaded mode dynamometer for purposes of oxides of nitrogen detection, and other equipment necessary to detect nonexhaust-related volatile organic compound emissions, such as those found in fuel system evaporative emissions and crankcase ventilation emissions.

(c) (1) The department shall not require smog check stations to use equipment that meets revised standards for certification and decertification of equipment pursuant to subdivision (b) earlier than January 1, 2013.

(2) If existing smog check stations licensed pursuant to this chapter or training institutions certified pursuant to Section 44030.5 are required to make investments of more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) to acquire equipment to meet the requirements of this subdivision, the department shall submit recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature for any appropriate mitigation measures, including, but not limited to, subsidies, equipment leases, grants, or loans.

(3) The department may defer the requirement for any equipment, external to the chassis of the test analyzer system, needed to read barcode information, until a substantial portion of the vehicles subject to this chapter are equipped with barcode labels.

(4) Prior to the imposition of a requirement for equipment meeting the requirements of subdivision (b), every smog check station shall use equipment meeting the specifications of the department in effect on January 1, 1996.

(d) The quality assurance portion shall provide for inspections of licensed smog check stations, data collection and forwarding, equipment accuracy checks, operation of referee stations, and other necessary functions. If the services are contracted for pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 44014, the department shall prepare detailed specifications and solicit bids from private entities for the implementation of the quality assurance functions.

(e) The department may revise the specifications for equipment annually if the cost thereof is less than 20 percent of the total system cost. A more comprehensive revision to the specifications may be required not more often than every five years.

(f) (1) Equipment manufacturers shall furnish to the department, and shall install, software and hardware updates as specified by the department. The department shall allow equipment manufacturers six months, from the date the department issues its proposed specifications for periodic software and hardware updates, to obtain department approval that the updates meet the proposed specifications and to install the updates in all equipment subject to the updates. During the first 30 days of the six-month period, the manufacturers shall be permitted to review and to comment upon the proposed specifications. However, notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the department may order manufacturers to install software and hardware changes in a shorter period of time upon a finding by the department that a previously installed update does not meet current specifications.

(2) The department may establish hardware specifications, performance standards, and operational requirements for the certification and continuing certification of the equipment specified in subdivision (b).

(3)  A manufacturer’s failure to furnish or install required software updates or to meet the specifications, standards, or requirements established pursuant to paragraph (2), is cause for the department to decertify the manufacturer’s test analyzer system or to issue a citation to the manufacturer. The citation shall specify the nature of the violation and may specify a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day the manufacturer fails to furnish or install the specified software updates by the specified period. In assessing a civil penalty pursuant to this paragraph, the department shall give due consideration, in determining the appropriateness of the amount of the civil penalty, to factors such as the gravity of the violation, the good faith of the manufacturer, and the history of previous violations.

(4) The citations shall be served pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 11505 of the Government Code. The manufacturer may request a hearing in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. A request for a hearing shall be submitted in writing within 30 days of service of the citation, and shall be delivered to the office of the department in Sacramento. Hearings and related procedures under this paragraph shall be conducted in the same manner as proceedings for adjudication of an accusation under that Chapter 5, except as otherwise specified in this article.

(5) If within 30 days from the date of service of the citation, the manufacturer fails to request a hearing, the citation shall be deemed the final order of the department.

(6) Any failure to comply with the final order of the department for payment of a civil penalty, or to pay the amount specified in any settlement executed by the licensee and the Director of Consumer Affairs, is cause for decertification of the manufacturer’s test analyzer system.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 258, Sec. 10. (AB 2289) Effective January 1, 2011.)