Photos by Megan Perez/SCVTV
[KHTS] – Bureau of Automotive Repair employees and California Highway Patrol officers conducted an emissions checkpoint in Newhall Thursday morning on Orchard Village Road between 16th Street and Dalbey Drive.
These voluntary checkpoints are conducted periodically by the BAR throughout the state.
“They are designed to see what emissions look like in the real world, as opposed what we think they should look like,” said Russ Heimerich, spokesman for the state Department of Consumer Affairs, of which the BAR is a part.
While the checkpoint does test emissions, Heimerich said that it is not a smog test in the sense that the vehicle either passes or fails, and it is not punitive.
The purpose is simply to gather information, so that government officials can determine why real world smog checks and repairs don’t reduce emissions as much as expected based the number and type smog checks required by the state Department of Motor Vehicles for registration.
“The smog check program lags behind in the results that we would expect,” Heimerich said.
Heimerich noted that this could be because some smog check stations are not addressing long-term repairs that need to be made to reduce a vehicle’s emissions.
“Smog check stations are doing only what they need to get the vehicle to pass at that time,” he said.
The emissions checkpoint is completely voluntary, and even if a motorist gets pulled over to have their vehicle tested, they can still opt out.
Also, if Bureau employees determine that a vehicle would not pass a smog test, the motorist will not be fined.
Heimerich said that they are “just getting numbers.”
The BAR does not publish the times and locations of their emissions checkpoints, in an attempt to keep the sample size random.