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Regulatory Actions Hearing - May/June 2006

TITLE 16
Bureau of Automotive Repair

NOTICE OF PROPOSED REGULATORY ACTION
AND PUBLIC HEARING CONCERNING
LAMP AND BRAKE INSPECTIONS, ADJUSTMENTS AND CERTIFICATIONS; STATIONS AND ADJUSTERS

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN the Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Automotive Repair (hereinafter “Bureau”) is proposing to take the action described in the Informative Digest. Any person interested may present statements or arguments orally or in writing relevant to the action proposed at hearings to be held at the following locations on the following dates:


Southern California

May 31, 2006, 10:00 a.m.
Bureau of Automotive Repair
1180 Durfee Avenue, Suite 120
Conference/Training Room
South El Monte, CA 91733

Northern California

June 2 , 2006, 10:00 a.m.
Contractors State Licensing Board
9821 Business Park Drive
Hearing Room
Sacramento, CA 95827

Written comments, including those sent by mail, facsimile, or e-mail to the addresses listed under Contact Person in this Notice, must be received by the Bureau at its office not later than 5:00 p.m. on June 2, 2006, or must be received by the Bureau at the above referenced hearings. Comments sent to persons or addresses other than those specified under Contact Person, or received after the date and time specified above, regardless of the manner of transmission, will not be considered or included in the record of this proposed regulatory action. The Bureau, upon its own motion or at the instance of any interested party, may thereafter formally adopt the proposals substantially as described below or may modify such proposals if such modifications are sufficiently related to the original text. With the exception of technical or grammatical changes, the full text of any modified proposal will be available for 15 days prior to its adoption from the person designated in this Notice as contact person and will be mailed to those persons who submit oral or written testimony related to this proposal or who have requested notification of any changes to the proposal.

AUTHORITY AND REFERENCE

Pursuant to the authority vested by Sections 9882, 9887.1 and 9888.2 of the Business and Professions Code, and to implement, interpret or make specific Section 9882, 9887.1, 9888.2 and 9889.16 of the Business and Professions Code and Section 40616 of the Vehicle Code, the Bureau is considering changes to Article 2 (commencing with § 3305), Article 3 (commencing with § 3315), and Article 4 (commencing with § 3320) of Chapter 1 of Division 33 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, as follows:

INFORMATIVE DIGEST/POLICY STATEMENT OVERVIEW

The Bureau was established within the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) in 1972 with the enactment of the Automotive Repair Act. The Bureau was created by Chapter 1578, Statutes 1971 (Senate Bill 51, Beilenson), which mandated a statewide automotive repair consumer protection program. In the furtherance of its mandate, the Bureau administers statewide licensing and enforcement programs.

Through its statewide offices, the Bureau conducts consumer protection services related to the automotive repair and Smog Check programs. Bureau representatives register, license and regulate automotive repair dealers, lamp and brake stations and adjusters, and Smog Check stations and technicians. The Bureau accepts and mediates complaints from the public, investigates violations of the Automotive Repair Act, Smog Check laws, and associated regulations. When appropriate, cases are referred to the Attorney General’s office for administrative action, or to law enforcement authorities for civil or criminal prosecution. The Bureau shares the commitment of the DCA to ensuring that consumers are provided information about licensees and registrants in a timely, fair and equitable manner.

The Bureau inherited the Lamp and Brake program in the early 1970’s. Previously, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) administered the examinations for the Brake and Lamp Adjusters, and licensed the Brake and Lamp Stations.

California vehicle owners are required to obtain brake and lamp Certificates of Adjustment upon re-registering a vehicle that has been declared a salvage vehicle by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Also, specially constructed vehicles need to have lamp and brake Certificates of Adjustment before they can be initially registered in California. Consumers are also directed to obtain brake and/or lamp Certificates of Adjustment when they receive a “fix-it” ticket from law enforcement. Lamp and brake Certificates of Adjustment are also issued to an applicant for an authorized emergency vehicle permit.

When California motorists are required to obtain a brake and/or lamp Certificate of Adjustment they take their vehicle to a licensed Brake and/or Lamp station to have the vehicle inspected. The licensed adjuster indicates by checking boxes that those components are in a satisfactory condition or adjustments of required equipment have been done. If the vehicle needs repairs, in order to pass, then the vehicle owner must give authorization for the repairs. Once the vehicle passes inspection then a brake and/or lamp Certificate of Adjustment is issued. The certificate is signed by the adjuster and the adjuster’s license number and the station’s license number are recorded on the certificate.

The Vehicle Code (VC) contains provisions that specifically relate to lighting equipment (VC, Div. 12, Ch. 2, §§ 24250 – 26106) and brakes (VC, Div. 12, Ch. 3, §§ 26301 – 26522), however there are no specific criteria in statute or regulation as to what constitutes the minimum requirements for an inspection that results in the issuance of a lamp or brake Certificate of Adjustment. There are currently no regulations that further define the VC provisions, reference vehicle manufacturers’ specifications or specify minimum requirements that must be met in an inspection.

Adjusters are required to sign a Certificate of Adjustment, under penalty of perjury, stating that all items inspected are of an approved type, and that the applicable inspections have been performed, and necessary adjustment or repair have been made, as specified by the Bureau and the vehicle manufacturer. However, BAR does not have any specific inspection, repair or adjustment procedures in regulation for issuing lamp or brake Certificates of Adjustment.

Currently, the Bureau has regulations (16 CCR §§ 3316 and 3321) that state what tools and equipment are required by the different classes of stations, however the Bureau has nothing in regulation that defines the inspection/adjustment procedures that need to be performed in order to check off the appropriate boxes on the certificate before a brake or lamp Certificate of Adjustment is issued. The Bureau has a Handbook for Lamp Adjusters and Stations and a Handbook for Brake Adjusters and Stations. Currently these handbooks are “Bureau recommendations” but need to be incorporated by reference into regulation as official Bureau manuals to be followed when conducting brake and lamp inspections for the issuance of Certificates of Adjustment.

The proposed regulatory action will establish, in regulation, the specific inspection, adjustment and repair procedures that must be followed before a Brake or Lamp Certificate may be issued. This will help to ensure vehicle owners’ confidence that their vehicles have been inspected, adjustments have been made and any necessary repairs have been performed to validate that their vehicles’ lamps and brakes are safe, comply with Vehicle Code requirements and meet vehicle manufacturers’ specifications. This is consistent with the Bureau of Automotive Repair’s (Bureau’s) principal mandate to protect the interests of the public. This action is also intended to provide stations and adjusters with clear written criteria that they know must be followed before a Certificate of Adjustment may be issued and would inform them, in advance, that failure to comply could result in an enforcement action. Finally, the proposed action is intended to make compliance easier for the Bureau to assess and achieve, and would facilitate enforcement and dispute resolution, when necessary.

CURRENT REGULATION

Article 2 (commencing with Section 3305) of Chapter 1 of Division 33 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, sets forth general requirements for the licensing and operation of official stations and the licensing and performance of official adjusters. Included in these provisions is the requirement that all adjusting, inspecting, servicing and repairing of brake and/or lamp systems be performed in accordance with standards, specifications, instructions and directives issued by the Bureau and by manufacturers of devices and vehicles.

Article 3 (commencing with Section 3315) of Chapter 1 of Division 33 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, establishes the various classes of official lamp adjusting stations and specifies the requirements for the operation of those stations, and the tools and equipment that each station must possess. One of those requirements is that stations maintain current copies of certain handbooks, manuals, bulletins and instructions, including the Bureau Handbook for Lamp Adjusters and Stations.

Article 4 (commencing with Section 3320) of Chapter 1 of Division 33 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, establishes the various classes of official brake adjusting stations and specifies the requirements for the operation of those stations, and the tools and equipment that each station must possess. One of those requirements is that stations maintain current copies of certain handbooks, manuals, bulletins and instructions, including the Bureau Handbook for Brake Adjusters and Stations.

There is currently no regulation that specifies the inspection, adjustment and repair procedures that must be followed before a brake or lamp Certificate of Adjustment may be issued.

EFFECT OF REGULATORY ACTION

This regulatory action will make changes to existing regulations found in Articles 2, 3 and 4 of Chapter 1 of Division 33 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, as follows:

Article 2. Licensing of Official Stations and Adjusters:

  1. Section 3305 will be amended to require that all adjustments, inspections, servicing and repairs of lamp and brake systems be performed in accordance with the Bureau Handbook for Brake Adjusters and Stations, the Bureau Handbook for Lamp Adjusters and Stations, and current standards, specifications, directives, manuals, bulletins and instructions issued by vehicle and device manufacturers, as applicable. In addition, the February 2003 edition of the Bureau-published handbooks will be incorporated by reference.
  2. Other minor technical, grammatical, editorial or conforming changes will also be made throughout this section. These changes will have no regulatory effect.

  3. Section 3306 will be amended to correct and clarify references to the forms that are to be submitted to the Bureau when a licensee changes its business name or address, or when there is a change of ownership. The specific forms will be identified and incorporated by reference.
  4. Other minor technical, grammatical, editorial or conforming changes will also be made throughout this section. These changes will have no regulatory effect.

  5. Additional minor technical, grammatical, editorial and conforming changes will also be made in Sections 3307 through 3310. These changes will have no regulatory effect.

Article 3. Official Lamp Adjusting Stations:

  1. Minor technical, grammatical, editorial and conforming changes will be made in Sections 3315 and 3316. These changes will have no regulatory effect.

Article 4. Official Brake Adjusting Stations:

  1. Minor technical, grammatical, editorial and conforming changes will be made in Sections 3320 and 3321. These changes will have no regulatory effect.

FISCAL IMPACT ESTIMATES

Fiscal Impact on Public Agencies Including Costs or Savings to State Agencies or Costs/Savings in Federal Funding to the State:

None.

Nondiscretionary Costs/Savings to Local Agencies:

None.

Local Mandate:

None.

Costs to Any Local Agency or School district for Which Government code Section 17561 Requires Reimbursement:

None.

Businesses Impact:

The Bureau has made an initial determination that the proposed regulatory action would have no significant statewide adverse economic impact directly affecting business, including the ability of California businesses to compete with businesses in other states.

The following studies/relevant data were relied upon in making the above determination:

The proposed regulatory action will not have any adverse economic impact on businesses because licensed brake and lamp stations will not be required to do anything differently from what they currently do. Nor will stations be required to obtain and/or use any tools, equipment, handbooks or manuals in addition to what is already required by Sections 3316 and 3321. The proposed regulatory action merely memorializes, in regulation, the brake and lamp inspection protocols routinely followed by the industry today.

Impact on Jobs/New Businesses:

The Bureau of Automotive Repair has determined that this regulatory proposal will not have a significant impact on the creation of jobs or new businesses or the elimination of jobs or existing businesses or the expansion of businesses in the State of California.

Cost Impact on Representative Private Person or Business :

The Bureau is not aware of any cost impacts that a representative private person or business would necessarily incur in reasonable compliance with the proposed action.

Effect on Housing Costs:

None.

Effect on Small Business

The Bureau has determined that the proposed regulations would affect small businesses.

CONSIDERATION OF ALTERNATIVES

The Bureau must determine that no reasonable alternative to the regulation would either be more effective in carrying out the purpose for which the action is proposed or would be as effective and less burdensome to affected private persons than the proposal described in this Notice.

Any interested person may present statements or arguments orally or in writing relevant to the above determinations at the above-mentioned hearing.

INITIAL STATEMENT OF REASONS AND INFORMATION

The Bureau has prepared an initial statement of reasons for the proposed action and has available all the information upon which the proposal is based.

TEXT OF PROPOSAL

Copies of the exact language of the proposed regulations, and of the initial statement of reasons, and all of the information upon which the proposal is based, may be obtained at the hearing or prior to the hearing upon request from the Bureau at 10240 Systems Parkway, Sacramento, California 95827.

AVAILABILITY AND LOCATION OF THE RULEMAKING FILE AND THE FINAL STATEMENT OF REASONS

All the information upon which the proposed regulations are based is contained in the rulemaking file that is available for public inspection by contacting the person named below.

You may obtain a copy of the final statement of reasons once it has been prepared, by making a written request to the contact person named below or by accessing the website listed below.

CONTACT PERSON

Inquiries or comments concerning the proposed administrative action may be addressed to:

James Allen, Regulations Analyst
Bureau of Automotive Repair
10240 Systems Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95827
Telephone: (916) 255-3460
Fax No.: (916) 255-1369
E-mail: jim_allen@dca.ca.gov

The backup contact person is:

Debbie Romani, Staff Services Manager
Bureau of Automotive Repair
10240 Systems Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95827
Telephone: (916) 255-3460
Fax No.: (916) 255-1369
E-mail: debbie_romani@dca.ca.gov

WEBSITE ACCESS

Materials regarding this proposal can also be found on the Bureau’s website at www.autorepair.ca.gov.