Q. I am reading that Assembly Bill 2225 recently passed. True? As I understand it, this makes classic cars more than 25 years old registered with Historic Vehicle license plates exempt from smog checks. I think this would benefit many classic car owners. I have a 1976 Triumph TR6 and have put less than 5,000 miles on it in the last three years. These cars are used for car shows, car club events, etc., and are not daily drivers. They must be currently registered.
– Mike Folks, Long Beach
A. That bill, authored by Assemblyman Timothy Grayson, D-Concord, was similar to other such efforts to loosen up the smog requirements for older vehicles. It died back in the 2019-20 session – not getting far in the California Legislature.
Twenty or so years ago, there was a rolling exemption that would have helped you, Mike: Vehicles at least 30 years old didn’t need a smog check. But lawmakers, worried these senior citizens might spew out too much pollution if left unchecked, voted to clamp down, and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed and signed a bill into law.
Now, the exemption is locked into a particular year that doesn’t change.
Smog checks are a must “for gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles that are model-year 1976 and newer,” Renee Santos, a spokesman for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, told Honk in an email.
So, Mike, your Triumph just missed the cut off.
There are exceptions, Santos noted. For example, newer vehicles don’t need smog checks and neither do motorcycles and, of course, electric vehicles.
Q. If a car has a sticker transponder on it’s windshield, will the cameras on the Orange County toll roads still take a picture of the car’s license plate? I am asking because I have a sticker transponder, and I was charged for six tolls over three consecutive days for trips I did not make; no one else used my car those days. I called the toll roads people to advise them and asked that they look at the cameras’ results for the license plate so they would see it was not my car. I was told they do not take a picture if there is a sticker transponder on a car. Is this true?
– Linda Dunkelberger, Fountain Valley
A. Linda passed along her bill, and she was docked $22.54 for someone taking the 73, 133 and 261 over those three September days. She told Honk her fees had not been waived yet.
On those toll roads, transponders are read and images of the license plates are indeed taken.
“If a transponder is read, and the transponder is associated with a valid FasTrak account, the images of the license plates are unnecessary for toll collection and are deleted,” Eugene Fields, a spokesman for the toll roads, told Honk in an email.
Generally, Fields said, the photos are deleted within 24 hours.
Errors are rare, Fields said, but when they occur, a faulty transponder is often to blame and that is certainly looked into when a customer reports such a problem. Fields said the agency would look into Linda’s situation; Honk, with Linda’s OK, provided him with her contact information.
Honk will try and pass along what happens with Linda’s case to the residents of Honkland.
Motorists having a similar problem, or any other, can reach the operators of these toll roads at 949-727-4800.
(The Transportation Corridor Agencies does not oversee the 91 Express Lanes, another strip of asphalt or concrete in the county where tolls are collected – the Orange County Transportation Authority has that under its umbrella.)
HONKIN’ FACT: A 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo, which Princess Diana tooled around in with a bodyguard riding shotgun (she liked to drive), sold for $850,000 at an auction over the summer. That is 86 times the original price tag. It had 24,961 miles on it and was purchased from Ford, which had gotten the black sedan back, by an undisclosed buyer in England (The Washington Post and CNN).