Code Section Group

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 26. AIR RESOURCES [39000 - 44474]

  ( Division 26 repealed and added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 957.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

PART 5. VEHICULAR AIR POLLUTION CONTROL [43000 - 44299.91]

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

CHAPTER 5. Motor Vehicle Inspection Program [44000 - 44126]

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

ARTICLE 1. General [44000 - 44005]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 892, Sec. 2. )

44000.
  

By the enactment of the 1994 amendments to this chapter made pursuant to the act that added this section, the Legislature hereby declares its intent to meet or exceed the air quality standards established by the amendments enacted to the federal Clean Air Act in 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 7401 et seq., as amended by P.L. 101-549), to enhance and improve the existing vehicle inspection and maintenance network, and to periodically monitor the performance of the network against stated objectives.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 27, Sec. 4. Effective March 30, 1994.)

44000.1.
  

It is the intent of the Legislature that the amendments made to this part by the act that added this section during the 1999–2000 Regular Session not negatively affect the ability of the state to achieve its emission reduction goals.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 67, Sec. 12. Effective July 6, 1999.)

44000.5.
  

(a)  The Legislature further finds and declares that the motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program implemented under this chapter has, since 1984, provided beneficial emission reductions without undue inconvenience to California vehicle owners, and vehicle owners will benefit from the maintenance by the state of a substantially decentralized program giving them a choice among thousands of independent licensed stations able to perform both inspection and repair of vehicles.

(b)  With the enactment of this chapter, the Legislature does not intend to create a statutory presumption that any motor vehicle, solely by virtue of make, model, or year of manufacture, shall be classified or categorized as a “gross polluter” or a “gross polluting vehicle.”

(c)  (1)  With the enactment of this chapter, the Legislature does not intend to place an unreasonable burden on fleet vehicles with respect to compliance with smog inspection and maintenance regulations.

(2)  Fleet vehicles shall not be included in the certification requirements established pursuant to Section 44014.7.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1088, Sec. 1. Effective September 30, 1996.)

44001.
  

(a)  The Legislature hereby finds and declares that California has been required, by the amendments enacted to the Clean Air Act in 1990, and by regulations adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency, to enhance California’s existing motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program to meet new, more stringent emission reduction targets. Therefore, the Legislature declares that the 1994 amendments to this chapter are adopted to implement further improvements in the existing inspection and maintenance program so that California will meet or exceed the new emission reduction targets.

(b)  The Legislature further finds and declares all of the following:

(1)  California is recognized as a leader in establishing performance standards for its air quality programs and those standards have been adopted by many other states and countries.

(2)  Studies show that a minority of motor vehicles produce a disproportionate amount of the pollution caused by vehicle emissions. Those vehicles are referred to as gross polluters.

(3)  The concept of periodic testing alone does not act as a sufficient deterrent to tampering, or as a sufficient incentive for vigilant vehicle maintenance by a significant percentage of motorists. Gross polluters continue to be driven on the roadways of California.

(4)  (A)  New technology, known as remote sensing, offers great promise as a cost-effective means to detect vehicles emitting excess emissions as the vehicles are being driven. This type of detection offers many valuable applications, especially its use between scheduled tests, as an inexpensive, random, and pervasive means of identifying vehicles which are gross polluters and targeting those vehicles for repair or other methods of emission reduction.

(B)  Another new technology, the development of emissions profiles for motor vehicles, allows the motor vehicle inspection program to accurately identify both high- and low-emitting vehicles. This technology may allow the full or partial exception of certain vehicles from biennial certification requirements to the extent determined by the department.

(5)  California continues to seek strict adherence to federal and state performance standards and to results-based evaluations that meet the state’s unique circumstances, and which consist of all of the following:

(A)  Acceptance of the shared obligation and personal responsibility required to successfully inspect and maintain millions of motor vehicles. Specifically, that obligation begins with this chapter, and extends through those regulators charged with its implementation and enforcement. Through the enactment of the 1994 amendments to this chapter, the Legislature hereby recognizes and seeks to encourage, through a number of innovative and significant steps, the critical role that each California motorist must play in maintaining his or her vehicle’s emission control systems in proper working order, in such a way as to continuously meet mandated emission control standards and ensure for California the clean air essential to the health of its citizens, its communities, and its economy.

(B)  A focus on the detection, diagnosis, and repair of broken, tampered, or malfunctioning vehicle emission control systems.

(C)  Flexibility to incorporate and implement future new scientific findings and technological advances.

(D)  Consideration of convenience and costs to those who are required to participate, including motorists, smog check stations, and technicians.

(E)  An enforcement program which is vigorous and effective and includes monitoring of the performance of the smog check test or repair stations and technicians, as well as the monitoring of vehicle emissions as vehicles are being driven.

(c)  The Legislature further finds and declares that California is, as of the effective date of this section, implementing a number of motor vehicle emission reduction strategies far beyond the effort undertaken by any other state, including all of the following:

(1)  California certification standards exceed those of the other 49 states, increasing the cost of a new car to a California consumer by one hundred fifty dollars ($150) or more.

(2)  State board regulations mandate increasing availability for sale of low-emission, ultra-low emission, and zero-emission vehicles, including, by 2003, 10 percent zero-emission vehicles.

(3)  Effective in 1996, state board regulations mandate the reformulation of gasoline for reduced emissions, at an estimated increased production cost of 5 to 15 cents per gallon due to refinery modifications and higher production costs.

(4)  Cleaner diesel fuel regulations, more stringent than federal standards, took effect in California in October 1993, increasing diesel fuel costs by 4 to 6 cents per gallon.

(5)  California law provides for vehicle registration surcharges of up to four dollars ($4) per vehicle in nonattainment areas for air quality-related projects.

(6)  California law taxes cleaner fuels at one-half the rate of gasoline and diesel fuel.

(7)  California law provides tax credits for the purchase of low-emission vehicles.

(8)  California requires smog checks and repairs whenever a vehicle changes ownership, some 3 million vehicles annually, in addition to the regular biennial tests.

(9)  Low-value vehicles are discouraged from entering California due to the imposition of a three hundred dollar ($300) smog impact fee on vehicles that are not manufactured to California certification standards.

(10)  California imposes sales taxes on motor vehicle fuels and dedicates most of those revenues to mass transit. This increases the cost of fuels by seven cents ($.07) per gallon.

(11)  Transportation sales taxes in most urban counties also generate substantial funding for transit and other congestion-reduction measures, costing the average urban California resident fifty dollars ($50) to one hundred dollars ($100) annually, which would be the equivalent of another 8 to 16 cents per gallon of fuel.

(Amended by Stats. 1997, Ch. 803, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1998. Note: Conditional amendments by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1192, were repealed by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1154.)

44001.1.
  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that additional reductions of motor vehicle emissions could be achieved by effective repairs to motor vehicle emission control components.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the department work with the California Community Colleges and other training institutions to identify funding mechanisms that encourage the development of innovative training programs for motor vehicle technicians that focus on reducing air pollution from vehicles needing repair and to increase the number and skill level of motor vehicle technicians.

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

44001.3.
  

The Legislature hereby finds and declares as follows:

(a)  Under the state’s previous smog check program, a motor vehicle owner could obtain unlimited repair cost waivers and, therefore, avoid repair of a polluting vehicle.

(b)  As a result, many vehicles were reregistered year after year and allowed to continue to pollute the air.

(c)  Repairing high-polluting and gross polluting vehicles (which pollute 2 to 25 times more than the average vehicle that passes a smog check) could significantly improve California air quality and allow the state to meet federal clean air goals.

(d)  The existing repair cost limit for smog repairs is a minimum of four hundred fifty dollars ($450) in all areas where the enhanced smog check program operates; fifty dollars ($50) to three hundred dollars ($300) based on the model year of the vehicle where the enhanced program is not fully implemented; and no cost limit for the repair of gross polluting vehicles.

(e)  Without state financial assistance to repair a vehicle, a low-income vehicle owner is forced to either scrap the vehicle or drive an unregistered vehicle.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 804, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1998.)

44001.5.
  

(a)  A duty of enforcing and administering this chapter is vested in the chief of the bureau who is responsible to the director.

(b)  The department shall take those actions consistent with its statutory authority to ensure that the reduction in vehicle emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen meet or exceed the reductions required by the amendments enacted to the Clean Air Act in 1990. The department shall endeavor to achieve these vehicle emission reductions as expeditiously as practicable, but not later than the deadlines established by the amendments enacted to the Clean Air Act in 1990.

(c)  The department shall also ensure that gross polluters are identified and failed when tested pursuant to this chapter and that vehicles meeting the state standards are protected from being falsely failed.

(d)  The department may exercise the emergency rulemaking powers in Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code in order to promptly issue any regulations required to implement the 1994 amendments to this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1995, Ch. 91, Sec. 90. Effective January 1, 1996.)

44002.
  

The department shall have the sole and exclusive authority within the state for developing and implementing the motor vehicle inspection program in accordance with this chapter.

For the purposes of administration and enforcement of this chapter, the department, and the director and officers and employees thereof, shall have all the powers and authority granted under Division 1 (commencing with Section 1) and Division 1.5 (commencing with Section 475) and Chapter 20.3 (commencing with Section 9880) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code and under Chapter 33 (commencing with Section 3300) of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations. Inspections and repairs performed pursuant to this chapter, in addition to meeting the specific requirements imposed by this chapter, shall also comply with all requirements imposed pursuant to Division 1 (commencing with Section 1) and Division 1.5 (commencing with Section 475) and Chapter 20.3 (commencing with Section 9880) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code and Chapter 33 (commencing with Section 3300) of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1433, Sec. 14.)

44003.
  

(a)  (1)  An enhanced motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program is established in each urbanized area of the state, any part of which is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a serious, severe, or extreme nonattainment area for ozone or a moderate or serious nonattainment area for carbon monoxide with a design value greater than 12.7 ppm, and in other areas of the state as provided in this chapter.

(2)  A basic vehicle inspection and maintenance program shall be continued in all other areas of the state where a program was in existence under this chapter as of the effective date of this paragraph.

(b)  The department may prescribe different test procedures and equipment requirements for those areas described in subdivision (a). Program components shall be operated in all program areas unless otherwise indicated, as determined by the department. In those areas where the biennial program is not implemented and smog check inspections are required to complete the requirements set forth in Sections 4000.1 and 4000.2 of the Vehicle Code, program elements that apply in basic areas, including test equipment requirements for smog check stations, shall apply.

(c)  (1)  Districts classified as attainment areas may request the department to implement all or part of the program elements defined in this chapter. However, the department shall not implement the program established by Section 44010.5 in any area other than an urbanized area, any part of which is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a serious, severe, or extreme nonattainment area for ozone or a moderate or serious nonattainment area for carbon monoxide with a design value greater than 12.7 ppm.

(2)  Districts that include areas classified as basic program nonattainment areas pursuant to subdivision (a) may, except as provided in paragraph (1), request the implementation in those areas of test procedures and equipment required for enhanced program areas and any other program requirement specified for enhanced program areas.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 728, Sec. 91. (SB 71) Effective January 1, 2013.)

44003.5.
  

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an enhanced motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program, including the provisions of the test-only program described in Section 44010.5, is established in the San Francisco Bay Area Basin, consistent with the requirements described in subdivision (b).

(b) The department shall commence operation of the enhanced motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program in the urbanized areas of the San Francisco Bay Area Basin, including directing motor vehicles to test-only facilities, after the department determines that an adequate number of test-only stations, test and repair stations, referee services, and other facilities and equipment necessary to provide reliable and convenient service to vehicle owners subject to the program exist in that basin.

(c) Upon commencing operation of the enhanced program in those areas of the San Francisco Bay Area Basin subject to the requirements of the program, the bureau shall utilize emission standards for oxides of nitrogen, and percentages of vehicles directed to test-only stations similar to those utilized to begin the initial implementation of the program in other enhanced areas of the state. The department shall phase-in more stringent emission standards for oxides of nitrogen and direct higher percentages of vehicles to test-only stations, so that the fully implemented enhanced program in the San Francisco Bay area is consistent with the fully implemented enhanced program in other areas of the state.

(d) (1) On or before January 1, 2004, and concurrent with implementing subdivision (b), the board shall submit for peer review the study produced by the University of California at Riverside and commissioned by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and any other available scientifically credible evidence, to determine the impact of the enhanced motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program on Contra Costa County and surrounding areas. If the peer review concludes that the enhanced motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program in the urbanized areas of the San Francisco Bay Area Basin results in adverse ozone and other air quality impacts in Contra Costa County or parts of Solano, San Joaquin, Alameda, and Santa Clara Counties, the board, on or before January 1, 2004, shall suggest mitigation measures to the Legislature and to the respective air quality districts. These measures may include, but need not be limited to, a recommendation for additional funds to be made available for transit purposes and private passenger motor vehicle maintenance and repair purposes.

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to seek implementation of those mitigation measures suggested under paragraph (1) that are found to be scientifically credible means to mitigate adverse ozone and other air quality impacts, are consistent with this section, and do not adversely impact downwind regions.

(e) Consistent with subdivision (b), it is the intent of the Legislature that the department commence operation of the enhanced motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program in the urbanized areas of the San Francisco Bay Air Basin as expeditiously as possible in order to assist the San Francisco Bay Area and downwind air districts in meeting their federal air quality attainment requirements.

(Added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 1001, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2003.)

44004.
  

(a) The motor vehicle inspection program provided by this chapter, when implemented in a district, shall supersede and replace any other program for motor vehicle emission inspection in the district.

This chapter shall not apply to any vehicle permanently located on an island in the Pacific Ocean located 20 miles or more from the mainland coast.

(b) The motor vehicle inspection program provided by this chapter shall be in accordance with Sections 4000.1 and 4000.3 of the Vehicle Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 701, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2005. Inoperative April 1, 2005, pursuant to Stats. 2004, Ch. 704, Secs. 5 and 7.)

44005.
  

(a)  The Department of Motor Vehicles shall cooperate with the department in implementing any changes to enhance the program to achieve greater efficiency, cost effectiveness, and convenience, or to reduce excess emissions in accordance with this chapter.

(b)  The program shall provide for inspection of specified motor vehicles, as determined by the department, upon initial registration, biennially upon renewal of registration, upon transfer of ownership, upon the issuance of a notice of noncompliance to a gross polluter pursuant to Section 44081, and as otherwise provided in this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1997, Ch. 803, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1998.)

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