Smog Cheaters

One day last week when I got to work one of my coworkers was talking to a customer. My ears perked up when I heard the customer say something about getting illegal smogs. Later I told my coworker that I was surprised to hear someone admit to multiple felonies. (When two or more people conspire to commit any crime it is a felony. California Penal Code 182. In a fraudulent smog certification the two parties can be the vehicle owner and the technician.)

My coworker said they guy said there was a part he couldn't find for his vehicle (a Ford product) and it wouldn't pass the smog inspection so he paid for a fraudulent certification. I understand that it is sometimes difficult if not impossible to find some parts for older vehicles still subject to inspection. But the state, through the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), has a solution. It is somewhat cumbersome and time consuming but it is legal. Here, taken directly from the BAR's web site, is the exact language:

Emission Parts Locator Service

California's Smog Check Program
Most California vehicles (1976 and newer) must pass a Smog Check inspection every other year in order to renew registration in the state. The Smog Check inspection includes: a visual inspection to verify that all required emission systems are present; a functional inspection to verify that specific emission control systems are functioning; and a tailpipe inspection to verify that the vehicle's exhaust emissions are within established standards.
Repair of Emission Control Systems
As part of the Smog Check Program, all vehicles with missing, modified, or disconnected emission control systems must be repaired. In some cases, the required part(s) can be difficult to find. The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) suggests that motorists first check with their new car dealer, local auto parts stores, and automotive recyclers to find the needed parts. However, if the parts are not available locally, BAR offers a special service to help motorists find them.
Emission Parts Locator Service
BAR contracts with the Foundation For California Community Colleges to provide a toll-free, statewide telephone Emission Parts Locator Service. The program's employees help motorists locate those hard-to-find emission control parts they need to bring their vehicles into compliance.
How Does the Parts Locator Service Work?
A telephone agent provides each caller with the names and telephone numbers of three or more suppliers that may have the required part(s). The motorist then contacts the suppliers, and may purchase the part(s) from the supplier of their choice.
However, if part(s) are not available, the motorist must call and advise the Parts Locator. After verification that the parts are not available, the Parts Locator then issues a "Limited Parts Exemption" which is mailed to the motorist. The motorist must then make an appointment at one of BAR's 36 Consumer Assistance and Referee Centers, where the vehicle will undergo a Smog Check inspection. The vehicle must pass all other aspects the inspection before the Referee can issue a Smog Check certificate. Poor of emissions levels, improperly functioning parts, or missing parts may be taken into consideration during the Smog Check inspection.
If the parts are not available at the time of the vehicle's next Smog Check, the motorist must again obtain a "Limited Parts Exemption, and the vehicle will again need to be inspected at a Referee Center. When required parts become available, they must be installed.
Other Services
The Emission Parts Locator Service also provides general information about Smog Check and related programs, aftermarket parts that have been approved by the California Air Resources Board, and refers motorists to other agencies for help when appropriate.
Motorist Convenience
Without the Emission Parts Locator Service, many motorists would not be able to repair their vehicles and complete the vehicle registration process with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Who Should I Call?
Call the Emission Parts Locator Service toll-free at 800-622-7733.

Note that if the part you need is not available you may be issued a "Limited Parts Exemption" that allows you to register your vehicle. Yes you have to go through the same drill in two years but it means you can legally register your vehicle.

How many others out there openly solicit fraudulent smog certifications? How many realize they are committing a felony? Maybe a better question might be how many has the BAR brought charges against? (My guess would be very, very few.)

I don't know any specifics about this customer's vehicle. Even if I did I wouldn't have dropped a dime. It isn't my job anymore and when it was, when I worked on smog inspection enforcement I got slapped down a few times for "targeting" vehicles instead of shops and technicians. I don't know, I thought the job entailed cleaning the air. I guess I was wrong.


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