Roadside Inspection Program

The Roadside Inspection Program was established by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 44081 which requires BAR, with the assistance of the California Highway Patrol, to inspect the emissions of vehicles while actually being driven on California roadways.

Why are roadside surveys necessary?

The data collected from roadside surveys provides an overview of the emissions emitted by vehicles driven on California's roads to help ensure the State is meeting federal standards for reducing ozone-forming pollution generated by motor vehicles. The data also provides useful information to evaluate and improve the performance of the Smog Check Program.

Where are roadside surveys performed?

The surveys are performed in the areas of the state with the poorest air quality, including the Central Valley, the San Francisco Bay area, the greater Los Angeles area, Inland Empire, and San Diego area. BAR randomly selects ZIP codes in these areas and then identifies suitable sites where it can safely conduct the surveys.

Who performs the roadside surveys?

Roadside surveys are performed by BAR staff. Each team generally consists of three or four individuals, all of whom are ASE certified automotive technicians.

How are the roadside surveys performed?

Vehicles are selected for testing using an automated license plate reader. The consumer is stopped by an officer of the California Highway Patrol and greeted by a BAR representative who provides them with information about the survey's purpose and answers any question they may have. The survey is performed in a manner similar to a Smog Check inspection and usually takes less than 10 minutes.

How do these surveys affect consumers?

Participation in the survey is voluntary. There are no consequences to consumers, regardless of their vehicle's emission control equipment or its emission levels. At the conclusion of the inspection, the participants receive a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) detailing the results of the test.

Does the survey take the place of a required Smog Check inspection?

No. The VIR may not be substituted for a vehicle's official Smog Check inspection report. However, the VIR does provide important information about the vehicle. BAR staff will also alert participants to any mechanical issues that are observed while conducting the inspection.

BAR appreciates your help in improving air quality in California. To learn about more ways you can help to reduce air pollution, visit