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General Laws

Section 142M. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

“Commissioner”, the commissioner of environmental protection.

“Department”, the department of environmental protection.

“Dynamometer”, a device which applies a load to a vehicle’s drive wheels while operating in a stationary, secure position to simulate actual driving conditions for an emissions inspection.

“Electronic network”, or “network”, a computerized communication system including, but not limited to, the computers, communications devices and software for such system which links emissions analyzers, the department’s emissions database, and the registry of motor vehicles’ registration database and which allows the department and the registry to store and analyze data on motor vehicle emissions inspections, motor vehicles and emissions inspectors.

“Emissions analyzer”, a device which measures the volume of air pollutants and gases in motor vehicle exhaust or a device which analyzes a motor vehicle’s computer system relating to emissions.

“Emissions inspection”, a component of the periodic staggered inspection of motor vehicles required by section 7A of chapter 90 which may include, but shall not be limited to, the inspection of a motor vehicle’s emissions control equipment, including its computer system relating to emissions, the measurement of air pollutant concentrations or mass in vehicle exhaust with an analyzer while the vehicle is operated on a dynamometer, the verification of vehicle fuel system integrity and the entry of a complete emissions inspection record in the registry’s database for the vehicle being inspected, as prescribed by the department in regulations and performed by an emissions inspector.

“Emissions inspection certificate” or “inspection certificate”, a printed statement, instrument or device in a form prescribed by the registrar, in consultation with the commissioner, which provides inspection information and facilitates effective enforcement of the emissions inspection and maintenance requirements of this section and chapter 90.

“Emissions inspection facility”, a facility, licensed by the registrar under section 7W of chapter 90 for conducting motor vehicle emissions inspections and other related duties.

“Emissions inspector”, a properly trained person, licensed by the registrar and certified by the department and meeting the department’s requirements for performing motor vehicle emissions inspections.

“Emissions repair technician”, a person registered with the department and meeting departmental training standards for diagnosing and repairing motor vehicles which fail an emissions inspection.

“Emissions inspection and maintenance program” or “I&M program”, a component of the periodic staggered motor vehicle inspection required by section 7A of chapter 90 which shall include motor vehicle emissions inspections, including accurate and effective testing of vehicles, using emission testing equipment, visual and functional tests of evaporative systems, rigorous compliance and enforcement activities and quality assurance and quality control procedures which promotes effective emissions repair and maintenance of the motor vehicle.

“Evaporative emissions test”, a test administered to determine whether there are leaks in a vehicle’s fuel or evaporative control system, such as purge functions of a vapor canister.

“Emissions waiver certificate”, a written statement, instrument or device indicating that the requirement of compliance with the emissions standards and criteria for the emissions component of the motor vehicle inspection program has been waived for a particular motor vehicle.

“On-road test”, a field test designed and conducted to assess the emissions of motor vehicles.

“Registrar”, the registrar of motor vehicles.

“Registry”, the registry of motor vehicles.

“Tampering”, (i) the act of removing or rendering inoperative any device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine in compliance with regulations under section 203(a) of the federal Clean Air Act prior to its sale and delivery to the ultimate purchaser; or (ii) for any manufacturer or dealer knowingly to remove or render inoperative any such device or element of design after such sale and delivery to the ultimate purchaser.

“Vehicle identification number” or “VIN ”, the unique number assigned to each vehicle by the vehicle manufacturer identifying specific vehicle characteristics, such as make, model, model year, pollution control devices and the particular vehicle itself.

(b) Pursuant to this section, the department shall develop the standards, requirements and rules and regulations for the emissions component of the periodic staggered inspection program established pursuant to section 7A of chapter 90. It shall be the responsibility of the department, under authority of this chapter, to provide the direct primary oversight of the operational and environmental aspects of the emissions component of the inspection program. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the leasing or purchasing of a dynamometer, an emissions analyzer or any necessary computer hardware or software by an emissions inspection facility from the network contractor; provided, however, the network contractor shall provide access to the data acquisition and management network to any emissions inspection facility who purchases or leases a dynamometer, emissions analyzer or necessary computer hardware or software through sources other than the network contractor so long as such equipment complies with testing equipment specifications as established by the commissioner in consultation with the registrar. Any requests for proposals for contracting with a network contractor shall require that the commissioner, in consultation with the registrar, shall have oversight over the charge assessed by the network contractor for access to the data acquisition and management network to emissions inspection facilities who purchased equipment through sources other than the network contractor; provided, however, that notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the commissioner and the registrar may require emissions inspection facilities to obtain, lease or purchase such equipment from the network contractor upon the determination that allowing emissions inspection facilities to lease or purchase such equipment through sources other than the network contractor would result in an increase in the inspection fee. Said determination shall be made by the commissioner and registrar, in consultation with the secretary of administration and finance, only upon a finding that no feasible option exists by which emissions inspection facilities may obtain such equipment through sources other than the network contractor without increasing the inspection fee. The amount of said fee for said inspection shall be uniform statewide. It shall be the responsibility of the registrar, under authority of chapter 90, to license inspection facilities and inspectors and to register vehicles complying with the inspection program requirements and to conduct audit and enforcement activities related thereto. The department, on behalf of the commonwealth, shall be responsible for submitting all appropriate and required program regulations on the motor vehicle emissions component of the inspection and maintenance program and applicable revisions to the state implementation plan to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in accordance with the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act. The department, in conjunction with the registry, may develop and implement a demonstration or pilot of the motor vehicle emissions inspection program or elements of such program to evaluate the effectiveness of such program, or elements of such program, in successfully reducing air contaminants emitted by motor vehicles in the commonwealth as required by federal law.

The emissions component of the inspection program shall be required statewide, shall be conducted on a staggered basis throughout the year and shall be required of each subject motor vehicle at least every two years unless otherwise exempted or specified by the department. The commissioner shall establish rules and regulations specifying which motor vehicles shall be subject to the motor vehicles emissions component of the inspection program.

The commissioner shall establish rules and regulations establishing standards and criteria for motor vehicle emissions inspections, giving consideration to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s performance standards for the enhanced emissions inspection and maintenance program and the level of emission reductions necessary to achieve and maintain federal and state ambient air quality standards. Such standards and criteria may include, but shall not be limited to, a requirement to test motor vehicle emissions for hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen. The standards and criteria may be different for different model years and types of vehicles.

Street rods and custom vehicles, as defined and registered pursuant to section 2H of chapter 90, shall receive an emissions waiver certificate. Specially constructed vehicles and replica vehicles, as defined and registered pursuant to said section 2H of said chapter 90, and registered on or before April 30, 2012, shall receive an emissions waiver certificate. Specially constructed vehicles and replica vehicles, as so defined, registered after April 30, 2012 shall be subject to emission control requirements based on the model year and configuration of the engine installed in the specially constructed or replica vehicle, whether the engine is an original equipment manufacturer’s production engine, rebuilt engine or crate engine. Regulations relative to emissions compliance for replica or specially constructed vehicles registered after April 30, 2012 may establish maximum limits on the annual number of vehicle miles traveled by these vehicles; provided, however, that any such limit set, shall not be set at less than 3,000 miles per year. If the model year of the engine installed in the specially constructed or replica vehicle requires an onboard diagnostic system, the vehicle shall be subject to an onboard diagnostic system emissions test applicable to the certified configuration, including any exclusions or exemptions otherwise granted to that certified configuration.

The commissioner, in consultation with the registrar, shall establish rules and regulations relative to testing equipment specifications, including emissions analyzers, quality assurance and quality control procedures for testing equipment, calibration gases, failure rates, emission standards, testing procedures, data collection and data analysis, and program evaluation.

The registrar, in consultation with the commissioner, shall determine the number and location of inspection facilities necessary for the success of the emissions component of the inspection program while considering consumer convenience and cost and achieving an equitable distribution across the commonwealth. Said registrar shall report to the joint committee on public safety and the house and senate committees on ways and means the actual number and location of inspection facilities on or before July 1, 1998. The commissioner may establish criteria and a process to select qualified applicants who shall be authorized to participate in the emissions component of the inspection program. In no event shall the use of state-owned or municipal-owned property as a site for an inspection facility or a test center relieve the owner or operator of the inspection facility from paying to the municipality an amount equal to the local property taxes due if such property was not state-owned or municipal-owned.

The department and the registry, in implementing the requirements of this section, shall acquire personnel, purchase equipment and procure services necessary to achieve the objectives hereunder including, but not limited to, the following: (i) inspection of motor vehicles; (ii) data acquisition and data management; (iii) quality control and quality assurance; (iv) on-road testing; (v) program evaluation; (vi) public communications; (vii) research and development; and (viii) any other purposes related to the development and implementation of the motor vehicle emissions component of the inspection program.

The technical and performance specifications of any equipment determined by the department to be necessary and required in the implementation of the provisions of this section, shall be reevaluated periodically as to its useful life, flexibility and applicability as to changing technological conditions and continued effectiveness in the emissions inspection and maintenance program.

The department and the registry shall contract with or any private entities that demonstrate an ability to manage emissions programs, hereinafter referred to as the network contractor, to develop and manage the network and inspection facilities of said motor vehicle inspection program. The department and the registry shall, as a term and condition of such contract, require the network contractor to: (i) acquire and distribute inspection facility equipment; and (ii) acquire such equipment and the associated maintenance services from one or more suppliers at discount prices through volume purchasing. Such contract shall also include performance standards which shall pertain to the motor vehicle inspection program goals as set forth in the commonwealth’s state implementation plan. Such contract shall also require the network contractor to establish at least five test centers to be evenly distributed across the commonwealth for research, training, repair assistance and for any other purposes related to the implementation and success of the emissions component of the inspection program. The network contractor shall be responsible for achieving such goals as set forth in regulations, policies and contract terms established by the department and registry. Such contract shall require an extensive public education and awareness program prior to the implementation of the motor vehicle inspection program. Such public education program shall include, but not be limited to, establishing and maintaining a comprehensive consumer outreach campaign concerning air quality, sources of pollutants, relevant aspects of automobile maintenance and other topics related to the motor vehicle inspection requirements of chapter 90 and this chapter. Such consumer outreach campaign shall include a consumer hotline to receive motorists’ complaints and to answer questions regarding the inspection procedures, repair information and other related inspection issues.

(c) The commissioner shall establish rules and regulations implementing the motor vehicle emissions component of the inspection program required by section 7A of chapter 90. Such rules and regulations may reflect a phased-in schedule for the motor vehicles subject to the emissions component of the inspection program; provided, however, that such phase-in shall not begin prior to July 1, 1998. The department may continue to implement the motor vehicle emissions inspection program established pursuant to section 142J of chapter 111 while phasing-in the new requirements of this section.

The department shall notify the registrar as to which motor vehicles shall be subject to the motor vehicle emissions component of the inspection program. Said registrar shall give reasonable notification in the form prescribed by said registrar, to the owners of motor vehicles subject to the emissions inspection indicating which emissions inspection procedures shall be required. The registrar shall not issue a registration or, if such registration has already been issued, shall suspend or not renew the registration of any motor vehicle which does not comply with the provisions of this section or any regulation promulgated hereunder.

The commissioner may establish regulations for exempting certain motor vehicles from some or all of the requirements of this section. The following motor vehicles may be exempt from the provisions of this section and may require alternative test procedures: (i) any motor vehicle the model year of which is 15 years before the year in which the inspection occurs; (ii) any motor vehicle or class of motor vehicle that is exempted by regulation or policy by the department because the vehicle or class presents a prohibitive inspection problem or is inappropriate for inspection; (iii) any motor vehicle operated exclusively by electric power; (iv) any motor vehicle that the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the California Air Resources Board new vehicle certification requirements do not require to be equipped with an onboard diagnostic system, as determined by the commissioner; and (v) for one inspection cycle only, any motor vehicle two model years old or less at the time the vehicle is due for inspection.

The commissioner and the registrar shall establish procedures under which fleet operators of fleets of 12 or more vehicles that are centrally fueled and maintained may be authorized under such program to conduct inspections and maintenance activities regarding such vehicles, subject to such audit, review and enforcement under this section as the commissioner and registrar deem appropriate.

The motorist presenting a motor vehicle for an emissions inspection shall pay a fee to the inspection facility pursuant to section 7A of chapter 90.

The registrar shall establish certification, training and continuing education requirements for the safety component of the inspection program. The commissioner shall establish certification, training and continuing education requirements for the emissions component of the inspection program. Such requirements shall be a precondition to the issuance of a license to conduct motor vehicle inspections issued by the registrar. Any person conducting an official motor vehicle inspection without having received such license and certification shall be subject to the penalties set forth in subsection (f).

The commissioner shall take steps to ensure that the capability exists in the repair industry to repair motor vehicles which fail the emissions component of the inspections required herein. Such steps shall include, but not be limited to, training and continuing education for emissions repair technicians and the involvement of vocational or technical schools and various members and sectors of the automobile and automotive repair industry. The commissioner shall establish procedures to register emissions repair technicians and to conduct a performance monitoring program of repair technicians, emissions inspection facilities and emissions inspectors. Such performance monitoring may include, but not be limited to, collection and evaluation of data on repairs. The provision of this paragraph shall not prevent any person not so registered from performing emissions repairs.

The department and the registry may conduct on-road testing of motor vehicles, including trucks and buses, for research, development, inspection or enforcement purposes. On-road testing may include identification of motor vehicles which would pass the emissions inspection and motor vehicles which would fail the emissions inspection. The on-road testing program may include, but shall not be limited to: (i) the use of portable or remote sensing equipment to measure pollutants of a moving motor vehicle; (ii) evaluation of the use of such equipment, alone or with other analytical information, equipment or techniques, as a supplement or alternative to, replacement of or enforcement of the emissions inspection; and (iii) the establishment of test centers to research and evaluate the accuracy and effectiveness of various emissions testing and enforcement methods.

The department and the registry shall create or enter into contracts to create an electronic network linking the department, emissions inspection equipment, the registry and any contractor to the department. Such electronic network shall facilitate implementation, evaluation and enforcement of the emissions inspection and maintenance program by the department and the registry.

The registrar shall establish protocols for communication on the electronic network. At its discretion, the registrar may grant emissions inspection equipment, inspection facilities and inspectors access to the electronic network. The commissioner and the registrar shall require emissions inspection equipment to communicate with the commissioner through the electronic network. The registrar, in consultation with the commissioner shall establish procedures and requirements for connecting and disconnecting emissions inspection equipment and inspection facilities and for granting emissions inspectors access to the electronic network.

The commissioner, in consultation with the registrar, may adopt rules and regulations to implement an emissions inspection and maintenance program for diesel-fueled motor vehicles.

The commissioner, in consultation with the registrar, shall promulgate rules and regulations to establish a program for the issuance of emissions waiver certificates; provided, however, that such rules and regulations shall include eligibility standards and criteria, a procedure whereby motorists may petition for emissions waiver certificates and a notification process to inform motorists of the emissions waiver certificate program and the emissions waiver certificate petition process. Such eligibility standards and criteria shall include, but not be limited to, provisions for the issuance of emissions waiver certificates to any owner of a motor vehicle who displays satisfactory proof that such motor vehicle has undergone emissions-related repairs at a cost that exceeds a maximum cost threshold to be determined by the commissioner and the registrar. The commissioner shall report on the emissions waiver certificate program to the joint committees on public safety and the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before July 1, 1998.

(d) The commissioner and the registrar shall establish programs for public information and consumer protection. The commissioner shall establish procedures and requirements for the network contractor to ensure maximum convenience to the motorist.

Each emissions inspection facility shall distribute information to inform the public about the requirements, benefits and other consumer-related matters of the emissions inspection and maintenance program and any other information useful to the better understanding and facilitation of the emissions inspection to the consumer as directed by the commissioner.

Each inspection facility, while performing the emissions inspection, shall be capable of providing consumer protection by generating data on warranty-related recalls in a form and manner prescribed by the commissioner and any other related information deemed necessary by the commissioner. In addition, the commissioner shall establish procedures to advise motorists whose vehicles are subject to either a voluntary emissions recall or remedial action plan, as defined in and pursuant to section 207 of the federal Clean Air Act, to obtain the appropriate repairs.

(e) The commissioner, in consultation with the registrar, shall develop, establish and implement a quality control program to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the emissions component of the inspection program. Such quality control program may include, but not be limited to, procedures for: (i) calibrating, operating and maintaining emissions inspection equipment; (ii) documenting the results from the performance of such calibration, operation and maintenance; and (iii) transmitting such documentation to the department.

The registrar, in consultation with the commissioner, shall develop, establish and implement an on-going quality assurance program to discover and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the emissions component of the inspection program. The quality assurance program shall include, but not be limited to, overt and covert audits of emissions inspection facilities and emissions inspectors, audits of data from emissions inspection facilities, examination of emissions inspection equipment, evaluation of quality control records and procedures and audits of consumer complaints and responses to such complaints.

(f) The commissioner and the registrar or their designees shall have the authority to enforce any provision of this section and may establish rules and regulations pursuant to such authority. Such enforcement authority shall permit officers or agents of the department or the registry to enter the premises of any motor vehicle inspection facility or any contractor to protect the public health and the environment, implement the quality control and quality assurance requirements of this section and for any other reasonable purpose related to implementation and enforcement of the motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program as determined by the commissioner and the registrar.

The registrar shall establish rules and regulations prohibiting any person from issuing an inspection certificate for a motor vehicle that has not been inspected in accordance with, or is not in compliance with, the standards and criteria for motor vehicle inspections as required in this section. The registrar also shall establish rules and regulations prohibiting any person from failing to issue a certificate for a motor vehicle that has been inspected in accordance with, and in compliance with, the standards and criteria for motor vehicle inspections required in this section if such motor vehicle meets the applicable standards and criteria. No person shall alter, falsify or counterfeit an emissions inspection certificate.

The registrar may deny access to the electronic network to any inspection facility or emissions inspector that said registrar has reason to believe is not performing inspections in compliance with the registry’s rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this section or under the authority of chapter 90.

Tampering with any emissions control device or system is hereby prohibited. No person shall take any action that has the effect of causing a motor vehicle to no longer comply with federal law or with the applicable standards and criteria for the motor vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program or with requirements for motor vehicle registration. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the temporary alteration of equipment for motor vehicle repair or for the quality assurance program established pursuant to subsection (e).

The commissioner and the registrar shall have the authority to order any person, inspection facility or contractor to stop or abate a violation of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this section or chapter 90.

Any person who violates any of the provisions of the second or fourth paragraph of this subsection and any person or facility licensed or required to be licensed pursuant to section 7W of chapter 90 who violates any requirement or regulation adopted pursuant to this section or any certificate or order issued thereunder shall: (i) be punished for each violation by a fine of not more than $25,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment; or (ii) be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 for each such violation. Each day or part thereof that such violation occurs or continues shall be deemed a separate violation. The civil penalty may be assessed in an action brought on behalf of the commonwealth in the superior court. The commonwealth also may bring an action for injunctive relief in the superior court for any such violation, and the superior court shall have jurisdiction to enjoin such violation and to grant such further relief as it may deem appropriate.

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