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International Automotive Technicians Network
Re: Any smog techs test your own vehicles? Conflict of interest?
Posted to Emissions Forum on 3/23/2013 2 Replies


It's a California thing, and it's been around for over fifteen years. My version of the story follows:

DCA and BAR found evidence of cheating in the smog check process, and invented the Test-Only designation, in an attempt to correct it. When a vehicle fails a test miserably, it becomes 'directed', which is the new term replacing test-only, but not changed over in the EIS software message yet. Their reasoning was that test-only centers would receive the gross-polluters, as well as a significant percentage of vehicles with a high statistical tendency to fail, and that the test-only center would have little incentive to improperly test vehicles, since they had no stake in the repair process, or lack thereof. The technician license was the same, but the station license was different. It was not a brilliant success in that arena.

Many people here still call it test-only, but that is no longer accurate, because a large number of test-only centers can no longer certify 'directed' vehicles, due to a computer algorithm known as STAR, which can permit or dis-allow access to 'directed' traffic certification for a station, based on statistical 'evidence', collected and collated from a distance, and enforced without due process. This is their response to evidence that test-only centers appear to be just as likely to improperly pass a vehicle as test-and-repair centers, and their mandate is to prevent that. Improper fails are given FAR lower priority, for reasons unclear to me, since it seems to me that they are supposed to protect customers.



Michael Barry
Quick Stop Smog & More
Sacramento, California, USA

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