BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                               Senator Wieckowski, Chair
                                  2015 - 2016 Regular
          Bill No:           SB 206
          |Author:    |Gaines                                               |
          |Version:   |4/7/2015             |Hearing      |4/15/2015        |
          |           |                     |Date:        |                 |
          |Urgency:   |No                   |Fiscal:      |Yes              |
          |Consultant:|Joanne Roy                                           |
          |           |                                                     |
          Subject:  Vehicle information systems

          Existing law:

          1. Under the federal Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.): 

              A.     Requires the US Environmental Protection Agency to  
                 establish national ambient air quality standards for  
                 certain common and widespread pollutants and regulates air  
                 emissions from stationary and mobile sources.  

              B.     Requires states to adopt enforceable plans to achieve  
                 and maintain air quality meeting the national air quality  

          2. Provides that the state Air Resources Board (ARB) is  
             responsible for developing statewide programs and strategies to  
             reduce the emission of smog-forming pollutants and toxics by  
             mobile sources.  These include both on- and off-road sources  
             such as passenger cars, motorcycles, trucks, busses, heavy-duty  
             construction equipment, recreational vehicles, marine vessels,  
             lawn and garden equipment, and small utility engines.

          3. Establishes the state Motor Vehicle Inspection Program.  (HSC  
             44000 et seq.).  

              A.     Subjects all motor vehicles that are registered within  
                 designated areas to a smog check every two years with  


          SB 206 (Gaines)                                         Page 2 of  
                 specified exceptions.  (HSC 44011(a)).

              B.     Provides an exception to HSC 44011(a) for motor  
                 vehicles six or less model-years old unless ARB finds that  
                 providing this exception will prohibit the state from  
                 meeting specified requirements of the federal Clean Air Act  
                 or the state's commitments with respect to the state  
                 implementation plan required by the federal Clean Air Act.   
                 (HSC 44011(a)(4)(B)).

          4. Restricts the use of data from recording devices installed in  
             vehicles.  (Vehicle Code 9951).

          This bill:  

          1. Prohibits ARB from obtaining locational data or vehicle speed  
             data from a vehicle information system.

          2. Provides that this prohibition does not apply to the Motor  
             Vehicle Inspection Program (i.e. Smog Check program). 

          3. Defines "vehicle information system" as a system which collects  
             data that a motor vehicle records, generates, stores, or  
             collects through a computer or other device embedded or  
             integrated into the vehicle, other than an event recorder, that  
             can by itself or with other information be used to distinguish  
             or individually identify the registered owner of the vehicle,  
             the driver, or the operation, use, or condition of the vehicle.


          1.On-Board Diagnostic Systems.

          According to ARB, on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems, or "OBDs,"  
            are computer-based systems built into the hardware and software  
            of a vehicle's on-board computer of all 1996 and later  
            light-duty vehicles and trucks, as required by the federal Clean  
            Air Act Amendments of 1990.  

          OBD II, California's second generation of OBD requirements, is a  
            diagnostic system incorporated into the vehicle's powertrain  
            computer.  The purpose of the OBD II systems is to detect high  
            emission levels caused by emission-related malfunctions, reduce  


          SB 206 (Gaines)                                         Page 3 of  
            the time between the occurrence of a malfunction and its  
            detection and repair, and also to assist in the diagnosis and  
            repair of the malfunction.  OBD II systems activate their  
            monitoring strategies during normal on-road vehicle driving.  If  
            a problem is detected, the OBD II system illuminates a warning  
            lamp on the vehicle instrument panel to alert the driver, and  
            stores data related to the detected malfunction in the on-board  
            computer so that it will be available to the technician for  
            downloading when the vehicle is serviced.  

          2.California's Smog Check Program.

          The purpose of the state's Smog Check program is to reduce air  
            pollution from vehicles by making sure that cars with excessive  
            emissions are repaired in accordance with federal and state  
            requirements.  Gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and  
            alternative-fuel vehicles that are model year 1976 and newer  
            require a smog check.  

          A smog inspection consists of a tailpipe emission test and an  
            inspection of a vehicle's OBD II.  The tailpipe emission test is  
            a visual inspection in which the technician checks for blue or  
            black smoke emitting from the tailpipe.  As long as there is no  
            blue or black exhaust, the vehicle passes this part of the smog  
            inspection.  The OBD II test requires the inspector to attach  
            vehicle components to a smog check machine and run the test for  
            certain codes.  An OBD II system independently monitors the  
            performance of a vehicle's emission control system and relays  
            that information to the smog check machine.  If the vehicle  
            components pass each code, then the vehicle passes this part of  
            the smog inspection.
          1. Purpose of Bill.  

          According to the author, "In 2010, the Air Resources Board and the  
             Bureau of Automotive Repair jointly sponsored AB 2289, which  
             allowed the use of OBD II when performing the biennial smog  
             check in lieu of tailpipe testing.  Utilizing the vehicle's own  
             emission monitoring systems allow for more accurate readings as  
             well as cut down on the consumer's wait time.  While AB 2289  
             did propel technological delivery into the 21st century, it  
             also opened the door for the possibility that state agencies  


          SB 206 (Gaines)                                         Page 4 of  
             may view and retain more information than necessary when  
             performing smog check services.  As technology moves forward,  
             OBD II will continue to retain more sensitive information; one  
             such as the location and speed of the vehicle.  Therefore, the  
             safeguards this bill provides create sound legislation, and  
             will protect the personal privacy rights of individuals?Any  
             information needed for performing a smog check falls outside of  
             the realm of this bill."

          2. Data Obtained for the Public Interest vs. Right to Privacy.

          The volume of cars on the road and the increasing miles traveled  
             daily make automobiles the single largest source of smog  
             forming emissions.  While new vehicles may start out with very  
             low emissions, improper maintenance or faulty components can  
             cause the vehicle emission levels to sharply increase.  Studies  
             estimate that approximately 50% of the total emissions from  
             late-model vehicles are the result of emission-related  

          Also, studies have found that OBD II based inspections catch a  
             greater percentage of vehicles that are in need of  
             emission-related repairs compared to tailpipe emissions tests  
             that have been traditionally used for state Inspection and  
             Maintenance programs.  The Smog Check program utilizes  
             individual vehicle data to improve vehicle emissions statewide  
             and OBDs are an integral component of the Smog Check program.    

          Some have raised concern about the potential vulnerability and  
             accessibility of private data stored in a vehicle information  
             system.  They want to make sure that data obtained from their  
             vehicles do not cross the line from providing non-personal  
             information that improves the public good to an invasion of  

          This bill proposes to strike a balance between sharing data for  
             public benefit and a person's right to privacy by prohibiting  
             ARB from obtaining a vehicle's locational data and vehicle  
             speed data for purposes other than the Smog Check program.   
             These types of vehicle information likely have no bearing on  
             air quality issues.  Although ARB does not currently collect  
             such information, this bill would prevent the board from doing  
             so in the future for purposes other than the Smog Check  


          SB 206 (Gaines)                                         Page 5 of  

          3. ARB Addresses Rumors About "OBD III".

          Some have raised concern that ARB may intend to collect more  
             personal data from vehicles beyond what it currently obtains  
             for the Smog Check program.  

          On its website, ARB states, "First, there is no such thing [as an  
             OBD III].  There has been speculation about a new OBD program  
             that would utilize remote transponders (like those currently  
             used for automated bridges or toll roads) to send information  
             indicating if any malfunctioning component is present in the  
             vehicle in lieu of having the vehicle inspected at a Smog Check  
             facility every one or two years.  Many have referred to such a  
             concept as OBD III.  However, contrary to the rumors, no such  
             program has been adopted by ARB nor have any decisions been  
             made by ARB to pursue such an approach in California.  The  
             concept certainly exists and there are various products  
             consumers can buy to remotely monitor their vehicle.  Some  
             other states are even pursuing pilot programs and allowing  
             consumers who voluntarily equip their vehicles with such  
             devices to be exempted from their inspection programs that are  
             similar to California's Smog Check.  These other states have  
             pursued such approaches as additional ways to reduce consumer  
             inconvenience and costs of participating in the inspection  

          4. Where Does All the Data Go Now?

          Vehicles increasingly collect data about themselves and then  
             communicate that data in some fashion.  This data is generally  
             in a raw form that requires proprietary tools to download and  
             interpret.  It is currently unclear what is happening with the  
             data that vehicles collect; and what is collected and how it is  
             used is rapidly evolving.  Some facts are clear, however,  
             including that most vehicle owners do not know what data their  
             vehicle generates, who has access to that data, and for what  
             purposes it is used.  The law appears to be silent on who owns  
             this data, but as of now, vehicle manufacturers are most in  
             control of it due to their knowledge of the technology  
             installed on the vehicles they sell. 

          5. Double Referral.


          SB 206 (Gaines)                                         Page 6 of  

          Double Referral to Senate Judiciary Committee.  If this measure is  
             approved by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, the do  
             pass motion must include the action to re-refer the bill to the  
             Senate Judiciary Committee.

          Related/Prior Legislation
          AB 2289 (Eng), Chapter 258, Statutes of 2010, authorized the  
          Bureau of Automotive Repair to certify high performing Smog Check  
          stations and technicians as STAR certified, which allows them to  
          inspect and repair vehicles that are likely to be high polluters.

          AB 213 (Leslie), Chapter 427, Statutes of 2003, required that if a  
          motor vehicle is equipped with one or more data recording devices  
          (event recorder) for the purpose of retrieving data after an  
          accident, then the vehicle manufacturer must disclose this fact in  
          the owner's manual for the vehicle.  

          SB 33 (Presley), Chapter 892, Statutes of 1982, authorized the  
          Bureau of Automotive Repair to implement, maintain, and enforce  
          the Smog Check Program, which licenses Smog Check stations and  
          technicians to reduce air pollution from vehicles through  
          mandatory testing of vehicle emission control components.
          SOURCE:                    Author  

           SUPPORT:               None on file  

           OPPOSITION:    None on file  

                                       -- END --