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Potential Changes to Heavy-Duty Truck Inspection Programs FAQs


  Potential changes to the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Inspection Program (HDVIP) and Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP) may affect you. The HDVIP is a roadside inspection program conducted by CARB enforcement staff and is applicable to diesel and gasoline heavy-duty vehicles operating in California. The complementary PSIP is an annual self-testing program for smoke opacity and is applicable to California-based fleets of two or more heavy-duty diesel vehicles. These programs have been in existence for over twenty years and used to identify vehicles with excessive smoke emissions. However, they were established before the use of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) as retrofit or original equipment. The current opacity standards of 40 percent (for 1991 and newer diesel engines) and 55 percent (for 1990 and older diesel engines) were established in the 1990’s for vehicles operating without DPFs. Since then, Heavy-duty (HD) vehicles have significantly reduced tailpipe particulate matter (PM) and opacity emissions through improvements in emission control technology such as the introduction of DPF aftertreatment systems. Vehicles operating with a properly functioning DPF emit at opacity levels at or near 0%. The potential changes to the HDVIP and PSIP are intended to update the in-use opacity limits to be able to identify vehicles with malfunctioning PM emission control systems.

The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) provide basic information related to the existing programs and CARB activities related to potential regulatory revisions to the HDVIP and PSIP to reduce the opacity threshold. Public workshops to discuss potential changes to these programs have been helpful in getting feedback from affected stakeholders about the CARB proposal. Your participation is encouraged at future public events. For workshops and meetings and additional information please see the website at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/hdim/hdim.htm.

  • FAQs

► 1. What are California’s current heavy-duty vehicle inspection programs? ▼ 1. What are California’s current heavy-duty vehicle inspection programs?
  • CARB’s Heavy-Duty Vehicle Inspection Program (HVDIP) and Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP) were adopted to control excessive smoke emissions and tampering from heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses. The regulations, title 13 CCR, sections 2180-2189 for HDVIP, and title 13 CCR, sections 2190-2194 for PSIP, governing these programs were last amended in 2013. The objective of the programs is to ensure that all of California’s heavy-duty vehicles are properly maintained, are not tampered, and do not produce excessive smoke.

► 2. How do the HDVIP and PSIP programs work? ▼ 2. How do the HDVIP and PSIP programs work?

Heavy-Duty Vehicle Inspection Program (HDVIP)
All heavy-duty trucks and buses operating in California are subject to HDVIP roadside inspections by CARB staff. This includes vehicles registered in other states or foreign countries. CARB inspectors may conduct unannounced tests at border crossings, CHP weigh stations, fleet facilities, and randomly selected roadside locations. Vehicles are inspected for excessive smoke and tampering, and engine certification label compliance. Owners of trucks and buses found in violation are subject to minimum penalties starting at $300 per violation.

For program details view the HDVIP Pamphlet

Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP)

PSIP is an annual self-testing program for smoke opacity and is applicable to California-based fleets of two or more heavy-duty diesel vehicles. The PSIP program requires that fleet owners conduct annual smoke opacity inspections of their HD diesel vehicles and repair those with excessive smoke emissions to ensure compliance. CARB randomly audits fleets maintenance and inspection records and tests a representative sample of vehicles. All vehicles that do not pass the test must be repaired and retested. All testing records must be maintained for a period of two years. A fleet owner that neglects to perform the annual smoke opacity inspection on applicable vehicles is subject to a penalty of $500.00 per vehicle, per year.

Beginning January 1, 2010, Assembly Bill 1488 (Mendoza) has required diesel vehicles (passenger cars and trucks) manufactured after model year 1997 with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,000 pounds or less to be included in the California Smog Check Program.
For program details, view the PSIP Pamphlet at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/enf/hdvip/psip_pamphlet.pdf and the related Advisory 351: Enforcement of California's Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP)

► 3. What are the current allowable levels of smoke opacity in HDVIP and PSIP? ▼ 3. What are the current allowable levels of smoke opacity in HDVIP and PSIP?
  • The current allowable levels of smoke opacity are as follows:
    All 1991 or newer engines – must not exceed 40 percent opacity
    All pre-1991 engines – must not exceed 55 percent opacity
    All testing must conform to the Society of Automotive Engineers J1667 snap-acceleration test procedure.

► 4. Why do the opacity limits need to be updated? ▼ 4. Why do the opacity limits need to be updated?
  • - CARB’s current regulatory programs to inspect for excessive smoke and tampering (HDVIP and PSIP) have been in effect for over twenty years and have been effective. However, they were established before the use of exhaust after treatment such as DPFs and selective catalytic reduction systems. The high existing opacity limits are no longer relevant for vehicles equipped with DPFs. Heavy-Duty vehicles with properly functioning DPFs should operate at near-zero opacity levels.

    California now needs an updated Heavy-Duty Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program. An important first step is to revise the current opacity thresholds to identify trucks in need of repair due to damaged PM emission control systems.

► 5. What are the potential program changes? ▼ 5. What are the potential program changes?
  • Potential amendments to the HDVIP and PSIP programs include reduced opacity limits, a requirement to report PSIP test results, and requiring training and certification of contracted smoke testers. The table below depicts the proposed opacity limits:


► 6. Is this part of longer-term development of a Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program? ▼ 6. Is this part of longer-term development of a Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program?
  • Yes, CARB staff plans to continue development of a more comprehensive Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program which reflects the current state of advanced engine and exhaust emission control technologies and on-board diagnostics systems. One promising concept being explored is use of on-board diagnostic (OBD) interrogation for 2013 and newer vehicles equipped with on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems. A heavy-duty repair shop/mechanic licensing program is also under development.

    The current intent is to present a proposal to the Board for their consideration in the 2020 timeframe.

► 7. Where do I get additional Information? ▼ 7. Where do I get additional Information?
  • Visit https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/hdim/hdim.htm for information on development of regulation.

    If you have questions regarding potential regulatory changes to the HDVIP and PSIP, please contact Jason Hill-Falkenthal, Ph.D. at (916) 322-4683 or via email at jason.hill-falkenthal@arb.ca.gov. If you have questions regarding development of a longer term comprehensive heavy duty Inspection and Maintenance program, please contact Krista Fregoso at (916) 445-5035 or via email at kfregoso@arb.ca.gov.
    Visit http://ccdet.org/ for information on preventive maintenance techniques

► 8. How can I provide my input to the regulatory process? ▼ 8. How can I provide my input to the regulatory process?
  • CARB staff is requesting your feedback on the recommendation for reducing the opacity limit and other regulatory changes to the existing programs. With stakeholder and industry input, staff plans to propose regulatory amendments to the Board in October 2017.

    Please attend upcoming workshops or provide your comments and input to the listed contacts.

    To receive information on upcoming workshops, sign up on the following listserve: http://www.arb.ca.gov/listserv/listserv.php (Choose Heavy-Duty Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance).


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