- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 6, 2002

The D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles program that is supposed to reduce long waits at the city's sole inspection station began yesterday, but only four of the 14 participating gas stations and auto-body shops were ready to conduct reinspections.
The DMV's inspection station at 1001 Half St. SW opened and closed early yesterday because of the heat the sixth time in eight days it has closed early, causing long waits for frustrated residents.
DMV spokeswoman Regina Williams, who said last week that the program would begin at the start of this week, blamed the gas stations and auto shops for the delays. She said the DMV has been ready to set up every reinspection but that some "weren't prepared to have it done."
"We were under the impression that everyone was up and running and ready to go," Ms. Williams said. "If one of these people weren't prepared or didn't have their computers in place yesterday, it doesn't mean they won't be up and running by the end of the week."
Each reinspection station must have room for a computer that connects to the Information Control Vehicle Inspection System program designed by the DMV's subcontractor, Information Control and a dedicated printer that prints the inspection sticker. They must also have a phone line for Internet access and an Internet provider.
All but one of the seven listed stations had their computer equipment yesterday.
The Shop European Auto Clinic in Northwest didn't receive its computer until about 3 p.m. because Information Control believed the station still needed a computer stand.
The Shop's owner, Diahann Hill, said she has been ready to go since July 31.
"I've done absolutely everything," she said.
The Shop will be able to conduct reinspections today.
There was a "slew of issues" with other reinspection stations, said Mike Bochinski of Information Control, "but we've been banging through them to get them done."
GTS Auto Service in Northwest had problems with Internet access. Singletary Employees at Singletary Auto Body in Northeast said it was "still working out some kinks."
Information Control said Spring Valley Exxon conducted the first reinspection, but workers there were not sure whether any had been done.
Connecticut Avenue Amoco in Northwest, and Fort Dupont Amoco and Johnson Exxon in Southeast conducted reinspections yesterday.
"Has it gone 100 percent like we wanted? No. But the software works, and we're getting it out to the stations," Mr. Bochinski said.
He said nine stations would be operating by this morning and that they would be working on getting three or four more ready today.
The gas stations and auto shops that will conduct reinspections are independent of the city government and have volunteered to do reinspection services. They will perform reinspections for safety violations only and will not test brakes or emissions, according to the DMV.
Vehicles that have passed emissions testing and the brake portion of the inspection test but failed the safety portion at the DMV's inspection station may either be taken back to the main station or to one of the secondary reinspection stations.
Reinspection at the gas stations or auto-body shops costs $25, but additional fees may be charged for repair work if it is needed.
There is no fee at the city's inspection station.
Reinspections were done at about 27 gas stations and auto shops until late 1999, when the DMV decided to switch to the new program because of problems with abuse under the old system, where stolen stickers could easily be sold and affixed to any vehicle, Ms. Williams said.
With the new program, an inspection sticker has a bar code that links it to the assigned car.
If a car owner's vehicle fails the initial inspection and goes to a reinspection station, that person must bring a piece of paper identifying the car so that the reinspection station can find the information on the system.
If the car passes the reinspection, the station will enter it into the system and issue a sticker.
If it fails, the station will enter the reason into the database.

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