AB 471 Implementation Updates

Assembly Bill (AB) 471 (Low, Chapter 372, Statutes of 2021), signed into law in September 2021, requires the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to establish a new vehicle safety systems inspection and certification program. The bill also requires automotive repair dealer (ARD) registration application forms to include educational certifications of applicants. AB 471 also authorizes BAR to establish an informal review process for BAR-issued citations to ARDs and provide a remedial training option for certain BAR-issued citations. Following are recent implementation updates.

Citation and Remedial Training Program for Automotive Repair Dealers

The ARD citation program and the remedial training and provider certification were initiated as two separate programs. However, while drafting the regulation text, it became clear the two programs overlapped, and thus have been combined into one regulation package.

The proposed regulations, which would be implemented no sooner than July 1, 2023, will create a new citation program for violations of the Automotive Repair Act. The program calls for an informal appeal process for ARD citations and the formation of a three-member panel to review informal appeals. In addition, the program will create a remedial training program which will allow a cited ARD to, once every 18 months, prevent disclosure of their citation if the violation is deemed minor in nature.

BAR finalized and submitted the proposed regulation package to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). DCA and the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) approved the regulation package and BAR submitted the package to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The Notice of Proposed Regulatory Action was published in the Notice Register on October 7, 2022, initiating the public comment period from October 7 thru November 21, 2022.

ARD Application and Educational Certifications

The proposed draft regulations update the existing ARD registration application to include an ARD’s email address, and, if the applicant is engaged in mobile automotive repair, the motor vehicle license plate number. Additionally, the draft regulations define the types of educational and professional certifications BAR will accept as part of the application process. BAR is planning future enhancements to the Auto Shop Locator to display ARD certification information.

BAR also finalized and submitted the proposed regulation text and all required documentation for this regulation package to DCA. The next steps include DCA and BCSH approval of the regulation package followed by submission to OAL, after which there will be a 45-day public comment period.

Vehicle Safety Systems Inspection Program

BAR is in the process of developing a new vehicle safety systems inspection and certification program for salvage-titled vehicles. The new program is designed to help inform consumers buying these vehicles of any potential issues with the safety systems and components due to a prior collision. The program will combine the current brake and lamp inspection programs into one program and will look to add other safety systems to the inspection. AB 471 requires that regulations for the new program be adopted by January 1, 2024. Implementation is expected on or soon after that date.

On April 20, 2022, BAR held a public workshop to discuss the development of the new safety systems inspection program based on feedback received from a survey taken by stakeholders earlier in the year. On July 21, 2022, BAR held a second public workshop to discuss the proposed regulation text and draft of a vehicle safety systems inspection manual. At both public workshops, BAR received valuable feedback from industry and other stakeholders, which has been instrumental in guiding the development of the program. BAR is working on finalizing the proposed regulation text and inspection manual. Once the proposed text is finalized, it will be submitted to DCA for review, along with all required documentation and information. The proposal will require DCA and BCSH approval of the regulation package followed by submission to OAL, after which there will be a 45-day public comment period.

BAR’s engineering and technology services branches are working to develop a new inspection system for safety systems, modeled after the BAR On-Board Diagnostic Inspection System (BAR-OIS). The system will include new inspection protocols and will support the issuance of electronic certificates of compliance, similar to the issuance of Smog Check certificates of compliance.

For more information on implementation efforts, including updates on upcoming public workshops and regulatory actions, join BAR’s email list, and visit the Public Workshops and Regulatory Actions pages at www.bar.ca.gov.

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