MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Wharton administration is finally doing something about the check engine light issue that's been plaguing Memphis drivers.
A letter is being sent to Governor Bill Haslam, requesting Memphis drivers be allowed to go back to the old system and not worry about the check engine light.
Sometimes the best of intentions result in the biggest of boondoggles. In this case, it starts right at the beginning.
Cars in Memphis are inspected for smog emissions. They aren't inspected in the rest of Shelby County. Using that logic, that means there's a wall of smog that waits for people every day at the city limits.
This check engine light thing is another mess. Some people have found after spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars, the light won't go off; some don't know why it's on.
City Chief Administrative Officer George Little looked into the whole thing.
"The check engine light can suggest there are other problems and the fact that it might be for problems that are yet to come," he said.
Meaning that there's no reason for a car to fail inspection because the light is on, and while there might be problems in the future, an inspection is for the here and now.
Little told abc24.com, "We are in the process of actually sending a letter up to Nashville. It's being drafted."
This program started last fall when the Wharton administration was all for the check engine light law. Then the complaints started coming, and with the complaints came concerns that the expense of trying to get a car inspected would keep many people in Memphis off the road.
"At the end of the day the city did agree to these terms," Little said. "What we are asking for is a modification of the agreement we entered into."
Once again, government moves at the speed of a glacier. If you need to get your vehicle inspected sometime over the next three months or so, you're going to have to deal with the check engine light issue.
But here's something you might not know. If you spend enough money trying to get the car inspected, there's a chance the inspection folks will approve the vehicle even if the check engine light is on.
9th District Congressman Steve Cohen found out about this after his car failed inspections because of its check engine light, even though it was pumping out exhaust as pure a mountain mist.
"Right now the waiver program they have is if you spend up to $650 a car and try to go through three times, you can try to get a waiver to get your license," said Cohen. "That's really too expensive for most people. It really doesn't help so we suggested it be lowered to like, $250."