Proposal in Missouri legislature would do away with mandatory vehicle safety inspections

Vehicle Safety Inspection

A proposal in the Missouri legislature would do away with mandatory vehicle safety inspections.

Currently, state law requires mechanical inspections every other year once a vehicle is five-years-old, with certain exceptions. They’re also necessary in order to renew a motor vehicle license.

During a hearing of the House Transportation Committee in Jefferson City, Republican Representative J. Eggleston of Maysville, the bill’s sponsor, noted 34 states do not have mandatory inspections in place. He presented the committee with insurance data he gathered that showed inspections have no influence on fatality rates in states.

The two-term lawmaker represents Daviess, Harrison, DeKalb, and Gentry counties. He said road safety is chiefly affected by conditions outlined in a recent report from a legislative task force on transportation – seat belt usage, distracted driving from handheld devices and impaired driving – as well as the speeds being traveled.

Eggleston also presented the committee with research on traffic fatalities in New Jersey, which eliminated vehicle safety inspections in 2010. He noted their numbers after inspections are actually as good or better than the numbers before they got rid of inspections. Eggleston stated he doesn’t think that not inspecting makes a car safer. But he claims it does show the irrelevance of car inspections.

Eggleston received support on the committee from Republican Kevin Corlew of Kansas City, who also chaired the transportation task force.  Corlew thinks the state government overly burdens its citizens with unnecessary and time-consuming requirements.

Only one interest group, the Missouri Farm Bureau, came out in favor of repealing vehicle safety inspections. A spokesperson said the Bureau’s policy state’s that the examinations don’t improve highway safety.

David Overfelt, Executive Director of the Missouri Tire Industry Association and the Missouri Retailers Association, told the committee that drivers would neglect wear and tear items without mandatory inspections. Overfelt noted that a federal law established in the 1960’s requiring safety inspections, was repealed in 1976 under pressure from numerous states. He also stated that a study conducted by Pennsylvania showed fatalities would increase by 130-to-180 persons a year if its safety inspections were done away with.

Ronald Reiling, Executive Director of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Missouri directly rebutted the claim by Representative Eggleston that there is no connection between safety inspections and fatality rates.  Reiling claimed in states where they do not have the safety inspection program, their traffic fatality rate due to mechanical failure, is twice as much as Missouri is.

Mike Right with the Triple-A (American Automobile Association of Missouri) said his organization opposes the measure because it considers the inspections a plank in the overall traffic safety platform of the state.

The state would lose nearly $4 million in fees per year if the vehicle inspection law were to be repealed. The $12 fee for an inspection largely goes to cover the cost incurred dealership or shop performing the examination. According to bill sponsor Representative J. Eggleston, about $1.50 of the fee is directed to the Highway Patrol which oversees the inspection process and prints out the renewal decals. A small portion goes to Missouri Department of Transportation