You Thought AB-32 Was Bad, Now CARB Wants OBD-III Transponders In Your Vehicle

Russ Steele

CARB has an RFP on the street for an On-board Diagnostics III study to use vehicle transponders for smog reporting and more. It is the “more” we need to watch out for.

Most modern cars have OBD-II, a self-diagnostic and reporting capability. The systems gives vehicle owners or a repair technician access to state of health information for various vehicle sub-systems. CARB is most interested in how your smog prevention systems are working, thus in CA we have to submit to smog testing in order to renew our vehicle license. On vehicles equipped with OBD-II that is done at a smog testing facility equipped with an OBD-II analysis computer,  which reports to CARB. Apparently that level of monitoring is not enough for CARB, they now want to have your smog data transmitted to road side monitors as you drive down the freeway.

In this study, the contractor will evaluate how inspections of radio-transponder equipped vehicles could be performed, taking into account effectiveness, cost, convenience, and public reaction. 

It will soon become impossible to drive with the little red check engine light on until it is time for a smog check, your car will be reporting you to road-side stations. Then what? Well here comes the big surprise – Cooperative Techniques

The cooperative techniques comprise devices that are installed on automobiles. These devices would receive a coded radio frequency signal that would produce a progressive speed reduction or shut down the automobile. The speed reduction and shut down could be incorporated in the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) III system . . . 

It wasn’t enough for CARB to raise the price of fuel with carbon taxes, low carbon fuel standards, and mandated milage increases, they now want to disable your vehicle if you are breaking their rules.  While it is all about smog now, they can monitor the kind of fuel you are using, if you have modified you car in any way, and if you are not driving responsibly.  It is only one step to add a link from the vehicles GPS to monitor where you have driven, and the speeds you drove to get there. In fact the OBD-III without the GPS will be able to report your throttle position to the roadside monitor which can be used to calculate your speed.  Are automated traffic tickets for not driving responsibly to save the planet from global warming in our future?  Remember, these are people who wrote AB-32!

You will end up paying for this device on your car that can be controlled by some bureaucrat at CARB,  who will have total control over your vehicle. It will also give the CHP a means to take control of your vehicle engine should they decide they need to pull you over.  This capability might be good if you car is stollen, but you will be giving up a lot of privacy for having this capability built in to your vehicle.

You can read more about the CARB RFP at SEMA.

I am not ready to give CARB control of my vehicle, so I am taking good care of the one I have now, as a new one may have a build it CARB spy that is reporting my every move.  However, OBD-III raises some 4th Amendment search and seizure privacy issues:

”The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated… also see Art. I, Sec. 19 of Calif. Constitution. 

Please let you Representative know that you will not stand for this CARB violation of the 4th Amendment and the California Constitution.


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

3 Responses to You Thought AB-32 Was Bad, Now CARB Wants OBD-III Transponders In Your Vehicle

  1. Bob W says:

    When I hit the second quote I couldn’t stop laughing.

    And then the reference to “your car” is priceless!

    • Roy says:

      I found nothing funny about this article. I also don’t find it funny to be virtually strip searched every time I fly either. The inalienable rights we were granted and which are spelled out in the Bill of Rights inspired by the Declaration of Independence have suddenly become secondary to “Public Safety.”

  2. Michael Anderson says:

    This is a horrible idea. The CARB people need to get a grip.

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