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DriveHealthy Campaign and CAP program clears the air
The Bureau of Automotive Repairs CAP program saves the earth and your wallet.
By Brian W. CarterSentinel Staff Writer
According to the World Health Organization, 2.4 million people will die this year and countless others will suffer from ailments due to unclean air. One of the major contributors is the emission from our vehicles we drive everyday. The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) has started a campaign, along with the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) to cut down on air pollution.
BAR operates by protecting consumers dealing with automotive repairs. They register and regulate automotive repair dealers, investigate violations of the Automotive Repair Act, resolve customer complaints and refer cases to law enforcement authorities. They also administer licenses statewide programs for repair facilities and technician services.
In 1982, California was the 29th state to adopt the vehicle inspection and maintenance program (Smog Check). BAR is mandated by the law to perform smog checks to reduce air pollution caused by motor vehicles.
In 2008, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), BAR, elected leaders, government officials and local consumers began their DriveHealthy campaign that helps educate people on vehicle maintenance. The campaign highlights important facts and tips on how consumers can save time, money and health.
At DriveHealthy.com, the campaign includes a variety of initiatives in their goal: community outreach, partnerships with other groups and promotional material, marketing and multi-lingual campaigns.
"If you look at everyday driving, a lot of people don't maintain their vehicles," said Bill Rawuka, BAR representative. "The general idea is, if you do the basic maintenance to your car, it can help prevent major automotive expenses."
The DriveHealthy campaign's main focus is to help with the clean air initiative and reduce air pollution. BAR hopes that by making people aware of vehicle maintenance, air quality will improve.
The CAP program is a part of the drive to improve air pollution and is the only systems check where failing is beneficial. Through CAP, BAR provides financial assistance to consumers who fail a Smog Check inspection.
"There are some requirements people have to meet," said Rawuka. "You get the biennial notice that your car is due for a smog check, you have to be referred to a smog check station, and if your vehicle fails and...all the initial controls on the vehicle, if they're not tampered with, or any missing, or modified...then at that point a person can apply for the CAP program," he continued.
The program also offers two ways to help consumers receive assistance: income eligible and directed vehicle eligible. Income eligibility is for any consumer who meets the income guidelines based on federal poverty guidelines. Consumers would have a co-payment that would go towards diagnosis and repair.
Directed vehicle eligibility is based on your registration notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If the DMV registration notice states that a test is needed in the case of your vehicle, and your vehicle fails the test, you may qualify for financial assistance in diagnosis and repair. Qualified consumers can receive up to $500 for emission repairs.
"The stations that do the repairs, they're called Gold Shield stations," said Rawuka. "They have to meet certain qualifications to get that status, so basically, we're looking at the best of the best for smog technicians repairing vehicles," he continued.
When the owner's vehicle has been approved for assistance, they must take their vehicles to a Gold Shield repair station. Gold Shield stations are licensed smog check facilities, independently owned and under contract with the State of California.
CAP also offers vehicle retirement for consumers who choose not to repair their vehicles. This offer has no income eligible or directed vehicle eligibility. Applicants who have been approved must take their vehicle to an authorized dismantler.
The vehicle must pass the visual and operational inspection before having it retired. Owners can receive up to $1,000 for voluntarily giving up their vehicle.
The Auto Body Inspection Program will allow consumers to get their auto body repairs for free! This free inspection can be granted by a BAR representative. The representative would have to verify that procedures on the vehicle were done according to the invoice, and the consumer or their insurance has paid for the parts and repairs received.
Appointments can be set up with a BAR representative who will come their home or office for on-site inspections. The owner must give a copy of the auto body repair invoice and a list of repairs needed.
BAR emphasized the importance of consumers maintaining their vehicles. Some consumers may think that because their area has no air pollution or small levels, that it isn't important to get smog checks, but it is important. The wind continually carries the pollutants of our vehicles to other places, particularly in basin areas where it settles.
"Anybody who has a car, the best thing to do is to get the owners manual, and look at what the manufacturer recommends for maintenance," said Rawuka. Other tips for maintaining your cars are oil, air, and fuel filters, check tire pressure, inspect hoses, wiring and belts regularly and respond to your engine warning lights.
"I know people have told me they have driven a car for six months to a year," said Rawuka. "If they would have taken care of it right away, it wouldn't have been that expensive, but they waited, so now by driving, it's damaged other parts of the car," he continued.
We all need to make sure we're not contributing to bad health by not fixing our cars. BAR has a started a program that will enable people to fix a dangerous problem. The DriveHealthy Campaign and CAP program are here to help our cars run better and make the air cleaner. So Go Green... get your car checked out today.
For more information about BAR and its programs, please contact the public affairs office at 1(800) 952-5210. Make sure to check out the DriveHealthy campaign at DriveHealthy.com.