Smog checks come to San Diego

Ocean Beach caught by surprise

There are no consequences to drivers who refuse to participate.
  • There are no consequences to drivers who refuse to participate.

Some drivers in Point Loma were thrown for a loop on Tuesday after being waved over for a smog checkpoint set up along Nimitz Boulevard.

“Looks like they are testing two at a time. CHP present. Never seen this ever before in my 40 years in California,” Shanna shared via Facebook. “It was still there at 2:00 pm...between Harbor and Rosecrans, on Nimitz. And, of course Rosecrans/Nimitz intersection was a cluster.”

Matt Woodcheke from the California Department of Consumer Affairs, explained the checkpoints.

“The California Bureau of Automotive Repair’s roadside inspection program (with the assistance of the California Highway Patrol) provides an overview of the emissions emitted by vehicles driven on California's roads to help ensure the State is meeting federal standards for reducing ozone-forming pollution generated by motor vehicles, and helps BAR to evaluate the performance of the smog check program.”

“The Bureau of Automotive Repair conducts these unannounced, voluntary, roadside inspection surveys year-round.”

There was an inspection point today (Aug 8) on 47th Street, northbound between Market and Hilltop.

Because it’s the California Highway Patrol (CHP) waving people over, drivers who encountered the checkpoint in Point Loma expressed concerns about what was going on.

The most important thing to know is that participation is voluntary. CHP is not detaining you. These are surveys only, and there are no consequences to drivers who refuse to participate and no consequences if you fail. At the end of the approximate ten-minute test, you will be given a copy of the test results.

But how do they decide where to conduct them?

“The surveys are performed in the areas of the state with large vehicle populations and air quality issues, including the Central Valley, the San Francisco Bay area, the greater Los Angeles area, Inland Empire, and San Diego area,” Woodcheke told me. “The Bureau randomly selects ZIP codes in these areas and then identifies suitable sites where it can safely conduct the surveys.”

“The roadside program has been around since 1985 but it’s not surprising that you’ve never seen one,” Woodcheke said. ”There are four teams that conduct the inspections and they work all over the state. They check about 10,000 vehicles a year at roadside inspections, which sounds like a lot but with over 35 million registered vehicles in the state, it’s pretty unlikely to run across them.”

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Comments

What’s voluntary when a member of state’s law enforcement agency stops you from traversing freely on a public roadway? I thought the whole idea of the state forcing vehicle owners into smog check stations every two years was to verify compliance! Doesn’t the number of “fails” at the smog test station tell us anything about compliance? This so-called voluntary check is another example of your rights being trampled upon.

Freedom of association, or non association and, The rights of the people to be secured in their persons, their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized.

By stopping you from freely moving on a public roadway, the government has seized your property for inspection without a warrant justifying such seizure. Additionally, the government has not SPECIFICALLY explained nor provided reasonable suspicion why YOUR vehicle is in violation of any law.

The story is missing some details. If this is all voluntary, what is the point of doing it? Not all vehicles in the state are subject to Smog Check, depending on where they are registered, for those that are, no further checking should be necessary. I thought the Bureau of Auto Repair was established to keep crooked repair shops from victimizing the public. But it is now gathering data for some vague purpose. Know what I think? It's just another state bureaucracy that exists to provide jobs, and probably overpaid jobs at that. IOW, a waste of tax dollars.

Deja vu all over again! 😂 I was stopped at same spot on Nimitz in 1967 as a high school junior with my license less an a year old. I had my parents’ Volvo 122 and the CHP officer asked how I could be driving such a nice car. He detained me almost a half hour while running a check to see if the car was stolen (even though my name matched up with my dad’s name on the registration slip). I called the CHP office the next day to complain, and the San Diego regional commander apologized and invited me to his office (the old hq on Camino del Rio South near Ward Road). I went. I thought his action was pretty classy, and still do 51 years later.

Yes you do actually have to stop. You actually gave consent when you signed your drivers license. Now if you read the whole article you would see that doing the check was voluntary. When I was 15 with my permit, I remember car inspections. They would check your headlights, tires, and other safety related items. Now they use a digital reader and I don’t understand what the complaint is.

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