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Oregon Introduces Emissions Tracking Transponder
Oregon introduces in-car black box monitor for emissions compliance

Oregon DEQ
The state of Oregon is introducing a transponder box that will allow officials to track and ticket motorists for emissions-related violations. The $39 box is being marketed as a convenience to residents because it eliminates the need for emissions testing as part of the biannual car registration ritual in major metropolitan areas. The program is in a testing phase now and will be introduced on a voluntary basis next year.

The transponder box hooks up to a car's On Board Diagnostics (OBD2) port and constantly monitors the vehicle's emissions system. It transmits a unique identifier to an unspecified number of roadside sensors that will record who drives by, when, and whether any fault codes are present. If a violation is found, the owner has 45 days to have the car fixed before a ticket is issued.

The head of Oregon's Vehicle Inspection Program says that he's not interested in using the infrastructure to issue speeding tickets. Officials on the east coast made similar claims regarding the E-ZPass system which does use transponder technology to monitor speeding. The automated toll transponder is used to issue warning letters and cancel the contract of "frequent" speeders.

Oregon has not had a significant problem with OBD2-equipped vehicles failing inspection. In 2004, the state performed nearly 300,000 OBD2 tests with 97 percent of the vehicles passing. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which runs the inspection program, is also experimenting with less intrusive options to make the process easier. Some areas will now have 24-hour self-serve OBD2 testing kiosks and motorists may be able to purchase an OBD2 plug-in module that can transmit emissions codes from home at renewal time without the use of the transponder.

Article Excerpt:
"I don't care where they've been or how fast they're driving," assures Ted Kotsakis, head of the state Vehicle Inspection Program, who's leading development of the new system.
Source: Would you pay $39 to never wait at DEQ again? (The Oregonian, 9/18/2005)

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