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Virginia offers new roadside emission testing option

Roadside emission testing equipment sits outside the Falls Church Community Center on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. Virginia announced that it will roll out the roadside testing option at locations throughout Northern Virginia to make the biennial inspection process more convenient for drivers. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Drivers who live in Northern Virginia now have a new way to conveniently get their car’s emissions tested without making an appointment or even leaving their car.

It’s called RapidPass and it allows drivers to pass through emissions testing devices along area highways and avoid having to go to a shop to get the test done.

Drivers will see orange cones and an orange road sign that reads “Emission Monitor Ahead” as they drive along a highway, generally on entrance or exit ramps. Among those cones will be two green boxes that use ultraviolet and infrared light beams to test the air of the passing vehicle. A camera snaps a photo to identify the passing car.

If the vehicle passes inspection, the registered owner will get a letter from RapidPass saying the vehicle passed and will provide a way for the owner to pay the $28 state emissions test fee online. The information will then be forwarded to the Department of Motor Vehicles to satisfy that portion of the biennial inspection process.

“RapidPass is all about giving Virginians a choice that offers convenience and saves time and ultimately maintains the Commonwealth’s commitment to a healthier Virginia,” said Lothar Geilen, the CEO of the company that will provide and operate the testing equipment, in a statement.

RapidPass does not completely replace the trip to a service station. Drivers who prefer to go to a shop for their testing may continue to do so. Vehicles that fail the roadside tests will not get a letter and will need to be tested at a shop.

There are 15 emissions systems that will be set up in more than 150 locations across the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford as well as the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. Only residents of these communities are required to have emissions testing done on their vehicles in Virginia.

Drivers who have their vehicles registered outside of the region will not receive letters, regardless of whether they passed or not.

Car owners can learn more about RapidPass and find testing locations at www.rapidpass.org.

Drivers who pass the roadside emission test will receive a notice like this in the mail. Drivers who faill will not receive a letter. (Courtesy Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.)
Drivers who pass the roadside emission test will receive a notice like this in the mail. Drivers who faill will not receive a letter. (Courtesy Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.)

 

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