Missouri lawmakers consider axing vehicle safety inspections

Feb. 16, 2018

This ought to end well

A proposal in the Missouri state legislature would do away with mandatory vehicle safety inspections. State law presently requires mechanical inspections of vehicles every other year once a vehicle is five years old. Such inspections are required for an owner to renew their motor vehicle license.

A bill has been sponsored by Rep. J. Eggleston (R. – Maysville), who noted that 34 states do not have mandatory inspections in place.

“There really doesn’t seem to be, at that glance, any correlation between safety inspections and actual safety,” Eggleston is quoted as saying.

Eggleston argued that seat belt usage, distracted driving from handheld devices and impaired driving, along with vehicle speed are the main culprits of road incidents, not lack of vehicle inspections. He also presented to legislature research on traffic fatalities in New Jersey, a state that did away with vehicle safety inspections in 2010.

“The numbers after inspections are actually as good or better than the numbers before they got rid of inspections,” Eggleston said. “I don’t think that not inspecting makes a car safer. But I think that does show the irrelevance of the car inspections.”

Eggleston received support from other Republicans.

Rep. Tom Hurst (R. – Meta) said vehicle inspections are troubling because their results vary widely, depending on where they are performed. He described a situation where a dealership had given his Jeep approval during an inspection, but a week later after he brought it back because of a sound he was hearing, they told him his brakes were shot.

David Overfelt, Executive Director of the Missouri Tire Industry Association and the Missouri Retailers Association, was quoted as saying that a federal law established in the 1960s requiring safety inspections was repealed in 1976 under pressure from numerous states. He also stated that a study conducted by the state of Pennsylvania showed fatalities would increase by up to 180 persons per year if safety inspections were quashed.

Ronald Reiling, Executive Director of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Missouri came after Eggleston’s claim that there is no connection between safety inspections and fatality rates: “States that do not have the safety inspection program, their fatality rate due to mechanical failure, is twice as much as Missouri is.”

Missouri would lose nearly $4 million in fees per year (the fee is $12 per vehicle) if the vehicle inspection law were to be repealed.