ADMINISTRATION REVISES START DATE FOR
NEW EMISSIONS SYSTEM TEST
(03/72) TRENTON The McGreevey
Administration announced today that it was revising the
start date for a new test that is part of the state's vehicle
inspection program, beginning the test on August 4, 2003
instead of June 2. The new procedure allows inspectors to
read a vehicle's on board diagnostic (OBD) computer to determine
if there have been any malfunctions in the emissions-related
"The additional time will help us
minimize any glitches in the testing system that might inconvenience
motorists," said Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Our fundamental
goal is to make inspections as user-friendly as possible
while safeguarding the quality of New Jersey's air for the
health of our communities."
When New Jersey last updated its emissions
testing program in December of 1999, requiring the use of
dynamometers for testing tailpipe emissions, the program
changes were implemented prior to the system being fully
tested, resulting in frequent equipment failures and inordinately
long lines at inspection stations.
"We want to avoid rushing a new test
into our inspection program before we have determined that
the system is working properly," Campbell added. He
noted that the later start date will also allow more privately
owned inspection facilities to complete the installation
of the OBD testing systems in time for the roll out of the
"More time is needed to scrutinize
and test this new and important technology," said Diane
Legreide, director of the Division of Motor Vehicles. "
By revising the implementation date and catching problems
before they arise, we can provide a level of service to
residents they expect and deserve."
A vehicle's OBD computer, which is federally
mandated to be installed on all vehicles manufactured in
1996 or later, monitors all emissions-related systems and
stores a code whenever a malfunction is detected. Motorists
are made aware of any problems by the "Check Engine"
indicator light on their dashboards.
Since some emission system malfunctions
do not adversely affect a vehicle's performance, they can
go undetected by the driver for some time. The OBD test
can detect problems as small as a pinhole-sized leak, alerting
motorists of problems before they potentially become more
costly to repair or create an excess of harmful emissions.
The use of an OBD test will replace the
traditional tailpipe emissions test in inspections for most
cars manufactured in 1996 or later.
Since February 2003, New Jersey has conducted
trial runs of the new testing system at centralized inspection
stations. Almost all centralized inspection stations around
the state now are equipped to conduct OBD tests.
New Jersey's 1,400 Private Inspection Facilities
(PIFs) are also in the process of upgrading to the new OBD
test. Although the start date for OBD testing has changed,
PIFs have until the original deadline of May 15 to apply
for state funding to offset the costs of upgrading their
systems. The state is providing $1 million to PIFs committed
to the OBD testing program to help defray the costs of needed
With the new OBD test, New Jersey's motorists
retain the option of having their vehicle inspected at either
a centralized inspection facility or a PIF.