State and local authorities say they are cracking down on drivers using altered and counterfeit inspection stickers.
The effort, coordinated by State Police, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Environmental Quality, has netted more than 200 fraudulent stickers over the past 10 weeks, officials said.
“We’re more aware of it now than we’ve ever been,” said Lt. J.B. Slaton, a State Police spokesman. “If someone’s riding around with a fraudulent motor vehicle inspection sticker, the potential is there for them not to have valid insurance or to have a suspended driver’s license.”
Jean Kelly, a DEQ spokeswoman, said the crackdown is ridding the roads of vehicles with safety and emissions problems and also targeting motorists who are driving illegally.
“You have a lot of people whose cars won’t pass inspection,” Kelly said. “People that dodge it for whatever reason, whether they know it or don’t know it, are contributing to the problem environmentally as far as we’re concerned.”
DEQ administers the Motor Vehicle and Inspection Maintenance program, which includes Baton Rouge and four surrounding parishes. The inspection, which costs motorists $18, is designed to meet air quality standards and reduce pollution.
“The program was something we had to institute because we were out of attainment and didn’t meet the standard for ozone,” Kelly said, referring to statutory requirements under the federal Clean Air Act amendments of 1990.
Of the confiscated stickers, officials said, 34 percent were issued to drivers who had a suspended license, while 26 percent involved motorists without insurance.
Twelve percent of the delinquent drivers had warrants out for their arrest.
“Those are reasons why people get these fraudulent stickers,” Slaton said.
Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said reserve deputies have been volunteering their time to assist in the crackdown.
Authorities have not yet arrested inspectors distributing fraudulent stickers, but Slaton said there are cases under investigation. He said motorists can be cited for driving without an inspection if they are caught with a fake.
“We have zero tolerance and are conducting our normal inspections of the (motor vehicle inspection) stations,” Slaton said.