Newer cars could be exempt from TN emissions tests - WSMV News 4

Newer cars could be exempt from TN emissions tests

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Tennessee lawmakers are thinking of changing the rules for vehicle emissions tests, and it could mean thousands of drivers won't have to make that dreaded annual trip to a testing site.

The idea began when a constituent asked his state lawmaker why newer cars had to get emissions tests, and legislators agreed.

"It's a pain in the butt, because I actually had to take time off of work for this. And usually on a Saturday when it is open, the line is wrapped around the block, and I've got three kids," said driver James Goff.

Currently, vehicle emissions tests are required for almost every car in Davidson, Williamson, Wilson, Sumner, Rutherford and Hamilton counties, but some lawmakers say it's time to change that.

"This was an idea that actually came from a constituent," said State Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin.

Johnson proposed a bill that would exempt cars that are three years or newer from having to get their emissions tested, saying those cars have higher emissions controls systems.

"Let's focus on the cars that need to be tested, which are the older cars that might have mechanical issues and things of that nature. But for those with newer cars, they shouldn't have to go through the test," Johnson said.

Several states already exempt newer cars from their emissions tests, and in Tennessee even those who drive older cars seem to support the idea.

They believe taking those cars out of the line will mean a shorter wait for them as well.

"I wouldn't mind. It would actually save a lot of aggravation from sitting in line, since most people have newer cars," Goff said.

Under the Tennessee legislation, exempt drivers would still have to pay an exemption fee identical to the normal emissions fee.

If the plan passes, it would be effective starting January 2014 to give the state time to craft new emissions testing rules.

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