MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The White House knows our pain, Memphis. The check engine light policy, a tough DMV rule to keep the air clean by weeding out exhaust-spewing junkers and clunkers, is causing frustration and financial hardship in the Bluff City. It's now a topic of conversation on Capitol Hill.
U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen's car failed the inspection, and sent this issue all the way up the flagpole.
When a congressman becomes a victim of a new law, sometimes that's a good thing because now that congressman is mad and wants the new law tossed.
Enter 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen, whose own car couldn't pass inspection because the check engine light was on. After several hundred dollars in bills, they finally had a mechanic determine nothing was wrong, and the light was reset.
Memphis City Councilman Lee Harris went through a similar situation, one that he shares with many of his constituents.
"They're really concerned about this. I mean, I hear about this from the guard as I walk in and out of City Hall. It affects him, it affects me, it affects my parents. There's nobody that doesn't have a story about their engine light being on, even though there's nothing seriously wrong with the car."
The stories are almost always the same. Somebody heads for inspection, finds the check engine light on, goes to garage after garage, and mechanics can't find anything wrong.
"I think we need to modify [this policy]," Harris said. "It's completely inefficient to have folks running all over town checking lights and emissions, not to mention it's not the best use of their time."
What we're hearing from the Feds is, maybe we need to study this. We're not hearing anything from Tennessee state officials, and they're the ones that ordered Memphis to start doing this. That's not going over well with you folks, and it's not going over well with the people getting your complaining phone calls.
Harris said, "I want to see a lot more happening here. I'm actually going to try and work on this a little bit myself, and try to see if there's anything the city council can do. So far the city has suggested there's not, but I think there's some room to do some more."
There is still a problem. As it stands right now, if the light is on, the car fails. Indications are the law will remain the same, at least for the remainder of this year.