You May Soon Be Rid of the Annual Vehicle 'Safety Inspection'

Calling it a "rip-off," Texas State Senator Don Huffines  (R-Dallas) wants to do away with the annual safety inspection requirement for cars, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.  

"Even the insurance industry has confirmed that there is no correlation between safety inspections and safety," he says.  "Nobody has better data on vehicle performance than the insurance industry."

While for most it's an annoyance, Huffines says, for low income Texans who work hourly jobs, taking time away from earning a living to have someone quickly glance over your car and check the turn signals is costly.

"It isn't about safety.  I know it's counter-intuitive to think that, but its fact," he explains. "That's why the federal government quit requiring it 41 years ago because they also have studies to show that it's not about safety.”

A 2014 study done by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found no definitive evidence that mandatory inspection programs reduce accidents.  Crash rates are about the same in states that have them as in states those that do not.

Instead, the causes of crashes in Texas are dominated by driver’s mistakes.  A 2014 report done by the Texas Department of Public Safety highlights things like driver inattention, rather than maintenance.  That year, there were 1,163 crashes linked to cell phone use.  A total of 45 were linked to defective or no turn signal lamps, which is a key part of safety inspections.

A One-year safety inspection costs car owners $14.50.  Of that, $5.50 is state revenue, funding the Clean Air Fund and the Texas Mobility Fund.  Two dollars is a vendor fee and $7 is station revenue for services rendered.

A study done by the Texas Public Policy foundation found that, from 2004 to 2014, safety inspections cost Texas drivers $2.4 billion. 

In addition, drivers lost many hours waiting to get an inspection.

"Ending these inspections would eliminate this substantial cost on Texas vehicle owners, cut down on hours wasted (though the required emissions inspections would remain), as well as eliminate the problem with making Texas drivers outlaws who are facing penalties for not getting a required safety inspection that provides minimal safety benefits," the study reads.

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