Smog Check Equipment Security Enhancements and Fraud Prevention
Unauthorized use of Smog Check inspection equipment exposes consumers to illegal and unethical practices. It also prevents the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) and the Smog Check industry from achieving the emissions-reductions goals of the Smog Check Program. Fraudulent activity often involves unlicensed individuals who obtain confidential access code information (i.e., login and password) from a BAR licensee to perform inspections.
In response to this growing problem, at the July 2020 BAR Advisory Group meeting, BAR announced development of a regulatory proposal to enhance Smog Check inspection equipment security. Specifically, the proposal seeks to implement the following changes:
Require use of a biometric login device and a web camera by licensed Smog Check inspectors when performing a Smog Check using the BAR-97 Emissions Inspection System (EIS) and BAR On-Board Diagnostic Inspection System (BAR-OIS).
Require that Smog Check stations allow BAR access whenever inspections are being performed, even if the inspections occur outside normal business hours.
Require that Smog Check inspectors allow BAR staff remote access to the inspection process, via the internet, when prompted by the BAR-OIS software.
Adding these security enhancements will help deter unauthorized usage of confidential access code information and positively connects the licensed inspector to the inspection. Further, they help to obtain the evidence necessary to identify and criminally prosecute individuals involved in the unauthorized and fraudulent use of Smog Check equipment. This will have multiple benefits. Smog Check inspectors will be better protected from unauthorized use of their access information, as will station owners who can be held liable for unauthorized inspections occurring at their station. Additionally, and most importantly, these changes will protect consumers by ensuring that only properly trained and licensed inspectors are inspecting vehicles at licensed stations.
Adoption of the regulations is anticipated in mid-2021. In preparation for implementation of the mandatory requirements, BAR will conduct a public workshop to discuss the proposal and provide details on the security devices and required processes. In addition, a voluntary enrollment period is planned for early 2021 to allow stations the ability to schedule an advanced appointment with a BAR representative to install and set up the new security devices.
BAR will continue to update licensees on the status of the regulatory proposal and will provide notice to stations of upcoming implementation and compliance dates. For up-to-date information, be sure to review ET Blasts and the Regulatory Actions page at www.bar.ca.gov.