DMV's computer erroneously calls for smog tests on new cars : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Today: October 20, 1999 at 10:49:58 PDT

DMV's computer erroneously calls for smog tests on new cars


The Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety's troubled new computer system has experienced yet another glitch -- this time a problem that could have resulted in motorists paying for smog tests that were not required.

Kevin Malone, spokesman for the DMV, said the "minor software problem" in the Genesis computer system in September caused notices to be sent out on registration renewals, improperly requiring some 1998 and 1999 automobiles to be smog-tested. The problem has since been corrected, Malone said

Nevada law requires smog tests only on vehicles manufactured after 1967 and on new models starting with their third registration.

It is estimated that of the 160,000 registration renewals that went out in the first few weeks in September a couple thousand had messages requiring newer model cars be smog tested, Malone said.

"We got quite a few calls on it," Malone said. "We simply told people to write a note on the registration renewal form noting that their cars are not required to be smogged and then mail the renewals to Carson City."

The glitch affected mostly 1998 model year cars that were purchased as closeouts in 1998 at the time the new 1999s were coming out. Those cars would not require smog tests until 2000. However, 1998 models purchased brand new in 1997 would be required to be smogged for the first time this year, their third year of registration.

Malone said the DMV plans no refunds for drivers who got the unnecessary smog checks, which cost about $20 in Southern Nevada.

Malone said that based on the high volume of calls and e-mails to the DMV a large percentage of car owners caught the computer error and alerted the agency before getting unnecessary smog checks.

The glitch is the latest in a string of problems with the $35 million DMV computer system that went on line Sept. 7. The computer errors have led to waits as long as eight hours before a motorist could get to a DMV clerk's window. Waits reportedly are down to about two hours now.

-- Homer Beanfang (, October 20, 1999

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