Proposed bill could exempt drivers from emission testing
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Emissions testing could soon be a thing of the past for some Hamilton County drivers.
Proposed legislation would exempt vehicles under three years old.
Bill 1080 has the support of Senator Bo Watson of Hixson, Senator Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga and representative Vince Dean of East Ridge.
"In my opinion it's just common sense," Dean told Channel 3 in a phone interview Wednesday.
But some Chattanooga drivers believe all vehicles should be tested.
"I don't think that just because someone buys a car brand new because they have the money to that they shouldn't have get emissions testing just like me," said Jacob Anderson, who has owned his Honda for more than a decade.
"What if there is a problem and it's polluting the environment," questioned Caldwell Huckabay.
Senator Bo Watson points to emission testing data, saying a newer vehicle passes 100 percent of the time.
"It's somewhat of a senseless exercise to make someone go through the emissions testing process when there is zero percent failure rate," he told Channel 3.
The proposed bill would save those drivers time, but not money.
The $10 test fee would still be paid at tag renewal time.
That's good news for Hamilton County and the company it contracts to run the emission testing locations. They won't see a dip in revenue.
But Watson says if it was up to him, he'd waive the fee too.
"Well it would be nice if we could," he added, "but we can't because of the federal regulations around it."
Federal emissions regulations were put into place in six Tennessee counties to battle air quality issues.
fFees collected go to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for that purpose.
The state can't cut those fees, but Watson says saving drivers time is a start.
"We're unable to eliminate the fee, but we can at least save some people time," said Watson.
Still, drivers like Caldwell Huckabay wonder if he has to pay, why not test?
"They mine as well get (the test)," he said.
According to Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles, last year 233,899 vehicles were tested in Hamilton County alone.
Representative Vince Dean says remote testing could soon be coming.
It tests while cars are in motion on the highway. A letter saying the car passed or failed is then sent to the owner.