Staffing shortage creates long lines, prompts closures at emissions testing centers

Posted at 11:45 AM, Sep 22, 2021

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WTVF) — A staffing shortage at emissions testing centers has created long lines for drivers and even prompted at least one location to close.

The vehicle inspection center in Brentwood is closed. Operators posted a sign on the window telling drivers to go to another location. As a result, long lines have been reported at the location in Cool Springs.

Johnathan Grantland was waiting in the line in Murfreesboro on Wednesday. He said he understands the long lines. "It’s like that everywhere nowadays, just have to wait," Grantland said.

He said usually the Smyrna emissions center is busier. “I’ve got all day to wait, so I’m in no hurry," Grantland said.

He blames unemployment benefits for the worker shortage. However, the federal unemployment benefits for the pandemic ended in early September. "That goes back to your president as far as I’m concerned. They should stop cutting, giving all these people their breaks, and start putting people back to work," Grantland said.

On January 14, 2022, the state is doing away with testing in Williamson, Rutherford, Sumner, and Wilson counties. However, if you live in Davidson County you still must go do emissions next year.

The state announced the update back in August, saying it comes after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a revision to the state’s air quality plan.

If you live in a county where emissions testing is ending, and you need to renew your registration before Jan. 13, 2022, you will still be required to get the vehicle emissions test. If you need to register after Jan. 13, 2022, you will not have to undergo emissions testing.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) released a statement, saying in part: "TDEC is aware of reports of extended wait times at some vehicle emissions testing stations in Middle Tennessee. The issue as reported to the Department by Opus is related to staffing."

NewsChannel 5 reached out to Envirotest, a subsidiary of Opus Inspection that runs the centers, but did not hear back.