MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The city of Memphis is planning on asking the state for a waiver concerning the check engine light controversy.
This year the city changed its auto inspections policy and started using a vehicle computer diagnostic system to check vehicle emissions. The state law for Memphis now is if the check engine light is on the car won't pass inspection, no matter if there's nothing wrong.
In the case of one Frayser woman, the law has left her feeling helpless, depressed, and not knowing what to do. It's a story that many of you might already know all too well.
There she sits, a seven year old Chrysler PT Cruiser. It took a lot of work for Latoya Hunt to save up $2,000. But she did, and as soon as she bought it her troubles began. Her check engine light went on just before she tried to get the car inspected.
"It needed a cam shaft sensor, and they put it on. The engine light is still on and it's still not passing inspection," she said.
Latoya works in a warehouse every day. She has a four year old daughter. This is her first car. She loves the car. The engine sounds great; there's no smoke coming out of the exhaust system.
Here's the trouble. Mechanics don't know why her check engine light won't go off. She now has $2,000 of bureaucratic red tape sitting in her driveway.
"How do I get back and forth to work now? How do I get my daughter back and forth?" she asked. "I don't deal with anyone else. I work and I come home. It's me and my daughter."
There are a lot of Latoya Hunts in Memphis. People who do the best they can, working hard, trying to save a little money.
The whole thing with the check engine light is to try and keep the air clean. But, clean air doesn't mean much to people who are battling life's troubles.
Latoya moved here from Indiana. She's fighting for child support, and her car was a way she could continue to fight. Not any more.
"I have to go all the way to Indianapolis, Indiana on March 19th. And I can't even go because of my car. I can't get, like, any leeway. I don't know what to do."
City Councilman Harold Collins doesn't think it's right either. He's heard from hundreds of you about the check engine light issue.
"What requirement does the federal government or the state government put on us so our drivers can be, in my opinion, discriminated against?" he asked. "We have drivers from all over the tri-county area that don't even have to go through inspection, let alone drive with the engine light on."
Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little says he's also received a lot of calls from people about this.
"If you've looked into this matter you know there's a lot of conflicting information out there. But we do want to balance out the burden on the citizens against the need for clean air to make a reasonable request for relief from the state."
The city is going to ask state officials in Nashville for a waiver, but it won't happen fast. It won't help Latoya Hunt at all.
"I worked hard for this. I worked hard! And it's not fair. It's not right."