MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) is seeking help from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on changing vehicle inspection guidelines that mandate automatic failure for a vehicle with an illuminated check engine light.
The new standards began after the State opted to participate in onboard diagnostic (OBD) system checks as part of the inspection process. Since its implementation, many Memphis residents have complained of failing inspection due to a check engine light for non-emission related problems.
It's a problem the 9th District Congressman can relate to; he failed inspection for a check engine light as well.
“Between the stories I have heard from my constituents and my own experience with the emissions testing, I believe the program is deeply flawed,” Congressman Cohen said. “Because the State voluntarily decided to implement this program, I have asked Governor Haslam to work with me to either eliminate it or significantly change it. While I believe we all have a part to play in protecting our air, it is inexcusable that hard-working Memphians have to shell out hundreds of dollars for repairs that will have limited if any emissions reductions benefits.”
In his letter to Haslam, Cohen said it will cost hundreds in repairs to get his check engine light off even though his vehicle passed a tailpipe emissions test.
"I am fortunate that I can afford the $800 it is going to take me to pass inspection, but many of my constituents are less fortunate," Cohen stated.
Cohen also pointed out in his letter that the city's residents generate only a fraction of the emissions problem. "With freight traffic crisscrossing Memphis en route to national destinations and thousands of non-Memphians driving into the city to work and shop, much of the emissions problem is generated by people living outside of the city. However, these individuals contribute nothing to resolving the problem, which I believe is inequitable and unjust treatment."
The check engine light is triggered by the OBD when there are problems with the engine and transmission, the vehicle body, the vehicle chassis, or the OBD system itself.