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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 19. Public Safety
Agency 30. Department of State Police
Chapter 70. Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Regulations
12/5/2022

19VAC30-70-10.1. Official inspection station appointment.

A. These procedures are applicable to the application process for initial appointment, reclassification of appointment, change in ownership, change in name, and reinstatement of the appointment for an official inspection station following a period of suspension or revocation.

For investigations involving changes to the original report, only those areas of inquiry that have changed need to be reported.

For changes in station name, location, and classification only, a narrative report is not required. These requests may be reported on the Form SP-164. This report should include information pertinent to the change. A statement should be included to report verification of information contained in the station's new application for appointment.

1. Any garage or other facility that routinely performs motor vehicle, motorcycle, or trailer repairs may apply to the Department of State Police by contacting their Safety Division office for an application packet for appointment as an Official Safety Inspection Station.

a. The Department of State Police will forward an application package to the applicant.

b. The application forms are to be completed and returned to the supervising trooper processing the application within 45 days.

c. The application shall include the names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and social security numbers for the applicant and each person who will supervise or otherwise participate in the program. Each person is also required to execute an Authorization for Release of Information Form (SP-170-D) and a Criminal History Record Request (Form SP-167). When a corporation with other established inspection stations is applying for an additional location, it shall not be necessary for the corporate officers to complete the Form SP-167 or undergo the usual background investigation. In these situations, the Department of State Police is only concerned with the personnel who will be responsible for handling and securing the safety inspection supplies.

2. Each inspection station application is reviewed, and the applicant must meet the following criteria:

a. The facility must have been in business at its present location for a minimum of 90 days.

(1) This requirement does not apply to a change in location for a previously appointed station.

(2) This requirement does not apply to a repair garage that is an established business and is expanding its mechanical convenience to the general public by the addition of other repair locations.

(3) This requirement does not apply to a business license as a franchised dealer of new vehicles.

b. The facility must perform motor vehicle, motorcycle, or trailer repairs routinely.

c. The station must have on hand or be willing to purchase the necessary equipment as identified by the Department of State Police for performing safety inspections.

d. The station must employ or be willing to employ at least one safety inspector with the appropriate license for the desired station's classification.

e. The facility's physical plant must meet the specific standards for the station classification for which the appointment is required.

3. Each applicant station must undergo a background investigation to determine if the business and associated personnel meet the following minimum criteria:

a. A review of the history of management and all persons employed who will participate in the inspection program must reflect general compliance with all federal, state, and local laws.

b. The character, attitude, knowledge of safety inspection requirements, mechanical ability, and experience of each individual who will perform or supervise safety inspections must be satisfactory.

c. The applicant and all participants must be familiar with and agree to comply with the Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Manual. Each vehicle presented for safety inspection must be inspected in strict compliance with the Code of Virginia and the Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Manual.

d. The business establishment must be financially stable. Its future existence should not be dependent upon appointment as an inspection station. The applicant and all persons to be associated with the inspection program must be in compliance with any judgment order or meeting all financial obligations, or both. The applicant and all persons to be associated with the inspection program must be in good financial standing for a period of at least one year.

Following any change in ownership, new ownership must show financial stability for a minimum of 90 days prior to their official inspection station appointment.

4. Each business must agree to provide the necessary space, equipment, and personnel to conduct inspections as required by the Department of State Police. Facilities and equipment must be maintained in a manner satisfactory to the superintendent. All safety inspectors must read and be thoroughly familiar with the instructions furnished for Official Inspection Stations and agree to abide by these instructions and to carefully inspect every motor vehicle, trailer, and semi-trailer presented for inspection as required by the Official Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual. Businesses must operate inspection stations in strict accordance with the Code of Virginia and the Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Manual. The appointment of an inspection station may be canceled at any time by the superintendent and are automatically canceled if any change in address, name, or ownership is made without proper notification.

5. Any applicant whose application is voluntarily withdrawn may not reapply sooner than six months from the date of the withdrawal. Any applicant whose application is denied may not reapply sooner than 12 months from the date of the letter notifying the denial.

6. Each business to be appointed will be assigned one of 11 classifications based upon the physical plant specifications or other criteria as follows:

a. Unlimited: The inspection lane shall be level or on the same plane and in good condition for 60 feet. The front portion of the lane shall be level or on the same plane for a minimum of 40 feet. The entrance shall be at least 13-1/2 feet in height and no less than nine feet in width. Space should be adequate to allow a tractor truck towing a 53-foot trailer access to the inspection lane.

b. Small exemption: The inspection lane shall be level or on the same plane for 40 feet. The entrance opening shall be at least 10 feet in height, eight feet in width, and adequate to accommodate vehicles 40 feet in length. Any vehicle exceeding 10 feet in height may be inspected if the building entrance will allow such vehicle to completely enter the designated inspection lane.

c. Large exemption: The inspection lane shall be level or on the same plane and in good condition for 60 feet. The front portion of the lane shall be level or on the same plane for a minimum of 40 feet. The entrance shall be at least 13-1/2 feet in height and no less than nine feet in width. Space should be adequate to allow a tractor truck towing a 53-foot trailer access to the inspection lane. This classification is required to inspect only vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) exceeding 10,000 pounds.

d. Motorcycle: The inspection lane shall be level or on the same plane. The entrance shall be adequate to accommodate the motorcycle and the operator.

e. Unlimited trailer: The inspection lane shall be reasonably level and in good condition for 60 feet. The entrance shall be at least 13-1/2 feet in height and no less than nine feet in width. This classification is required to inspect all trailers.

f. Small trailer exemption: The inspection lane shall be reasonably level and in good condition for 40 feet. The entrance shall be at least 10 feet in height and adequate to accommodate trailers 40 feet in length. This classification is required to inspect only those trailers not exceeding 40 feet in length or 10 feet in height measured to the highest part of the trailer but not including racks, air conditioners, antennas, etc.

g. Large trailer exemption: The inspection lane shall be reasonably level and in good condition for 60 feet. The entrance shall be at least 13-1/2 feet in height and adequate to accommodate all legal size trailers. This classification is required to inspect only property-carrying trailers exceeding 10 feet in height or 40 feet in length.

h. Safety and emissions: The inspection lane shall be level or on the same plane. The lane must accommodate most passenger cars and light trucks. The emissions equipment must be placed in the lane at a location to allow the inspected vehicle to be positioned with all four wheels on the floor or on an above-ground ramp on a plane to the floor to accommodate headlight aiming and other required inspection procedures. Any above-ground structure must be constructed so as to permit proper steering, suspension, brake, and undercarriage inspection as outlined in the Official Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual. A list of local inspection stations that can accommodate vehicles that cannot be safety inspected due to the pretenses of emissions equipment must be maintained and available for customers. A "bottle" jack or other appropriate lifting equipment may be used for safety inspection on above-ground structures.

i. Private station: The inspection lane shall be level or on the same plane. The entrance and size must be adequate to accommodate any vehicle in the fleet. An applicant who owns and operates fewer than 20 vehicles will not be considered.

j. Private station (fleet service contractor): The inspection lane shall be level or on the same plane. The entrance and size must be adequate to accommodate any vehicle in the fleet to be inspected. This classification will permit the inspection of all vehicles that the applicant has a written agreement to service and repair. An applicant who does not have at least six written agreements to service private fleets with at least five vehicles in each fleet or at least one written agreement to service a private fleet with at least 30 vehicles in the fleet will not be considered for this type of appointment. Vehicles not covered by a written agreement for service and repair, other than the vehicles owned by the applicant's company or corporation, shall not be inspected by a garage having this type of classification.

k. Private station (government): The inspection lane shall be level or on the same plane. The entrance and size must be adequate to accommodate any vehicle in the fleet to be inspected. This classification permits the inspection of all vehicles in the government entity's fleet, the fleet of any volunteer or paid fire department, or any other unit or agency of the government structure having a written agreement with such governmental entity for repair, inspection service, or both. An applicant for this classification must own or have a written agreement to inspect 30 or more vehicles. Vehicles not owned by or covered by a written agreement shall not be inspected by a garage having this type of classification.

7. Classifications listed in subdivisions 6 a through 6 h of this subsection must be open to the public and have at least one safety inspector available to perform inspections during normal business hours as set forth in 19VAC30-70-10.

8. Private inspection station classifications may be assigned to businesses or governmental entities with fixed garage or repair facilities operating or contracting with vehicle fleets.

B. A representative of any official inspection station may apply to the Department of State Police in writing to request a change of the station's status.

1. An application form is forwarded to the applicant.

2. The applicant completes the application form and contacts the Department of State Police in keeping with the application instructions. Applications must include all data as set forth in this section.

3. A Safety Division trooper is assigned to complete the appropriate investigation to affect the change. A change in status investigation includes the following:

a. A review of the existing station file.

b. An update of the file to include personnel, facility, or other significant changes. Criteria for appointment and background investigation procedures for a change in status will be in keeping with this section.

c. Official inspection stations are permitted to continue to perform safety inspections during a change of ownership investigation provided at least one safety inspector is retained from the prior owner.

d. If disqualifying criteria is revealed, the station's appointment shall be canceled until final disposition of the application is made or until issues of disqualifying criteria are resolved.

C. Once an official inspection station has been suspended, regardless of the cause for the suspension, management may request reinstatement up to 60 days prior to the expiration of the suspension period. Stations whose appointments are revoked may complete the application process as set forth for original appointments after the expiration of the period of revocation.

1. The applicant station must submit a letter to Safety Division Headquarters (Attention: Station Files) requesting reinstatement.

2. An application package is forwarded to the applicant.

3. The completed application forms must be returned to Safety Division Headquarters (Attention: Station Files).

4. After review, the application package is forwarded to the appropriate Safety Division Area Office for investigation.

a. The trooper assigned to the investigation compares the information in the new application package to the information in the existing files.

b. The investigation focuses on any changes, inconsistencies, and the inspection station's history while in the inspection program, to include the station's disciplinary record.

c. The applicant station must meet all criteria for appointment as set forth in this section.

d. Any applicant whose application for reinstatement is voluntarily withdrawn may not reapply sooner than six months from the date of the withdrawal of the application.

D. When a request for reinstatement is denied, a station suspended a period of six months or more may not reapply sooner than 12 months from the date of the letter notifying the denial. Following an original appointment investigation for a revoked station, if the revoked station is denied, it may not reapply sooner than 12 months from the date of the letter notifying the denial.

Statutory Authority

§ 46.2-1165 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 35, Issue 25, eff. September 1, 2019; amended, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 25, eff. September 4, 2020.

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