Clean Piping Is a Felony

Los Angeles residents know that there is still a smog problem, despite the efforts of well-intentioned citizens. Nobody wants to see the number of asthma cases go up any higher. However, there are still some people that do not grasp the enormity of the situation, and are now facing felony charges.

Most Smog Check station owners and technicians are proud of the way that they run their testing procedures, and some try to go above and beyond by using eco-friendly practices. But as is the case in all industries, there are always going to be a few bad apples, and recently some of the bad apples were discovered. The Bureau of Automotive Repair in California conducted sting operations over a period of time in 2009 and shut down seven stations for good.

The seven shops were doing something referred to as clean piping, which occurs when a technician or worker certifies a failing vehicle by using a clean exhaust sample from a vehicle that will pass the Smog Check. According to Chief Sherry Mehl with the Bureau of Automotive Repair, “The goal of California’s Smog Check Program is to reduce air pollution by bringing vehicles into compliance with emissions standards. When a shop illegally certifies vehicles that do not meet emissions standards, it only makes the problem worse. What many people fail to realize is that keeping their vehicles well maintained not only helps clean our air, but also saves them money in the long run.”

At some of the stations that have been indicted, there were vehicles that were being tested and certified that were never even on the premises. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Environmental Crimes Division is prosecuting the cases.

Motorists who attempt to get fraudulent smog checks face civil fines too. Besides clean piping, stations are investigated for manipulating tests or using additives in an attempt to help vehicles pass the Smog Check.

On the bright side, at least these stations have been ferreted out and their licenses will be invalidated forever. And this is a strong message to technicians who are asked by friends to help them circumvent the test – felony charges are the end result. The lesson is that it is better for human health and the environment to simply have clean emissions, and no one is above the regulations. Because eligible motorists can receive financial assistance with repairs, it is really unnecessary to try to circumvent the Smog Check system.