Texas Seeks to Bin Annual Inspections

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

texas seeks to bin annual inspections

Earlier this week, politicians in the Lone Star State approved a bill in which the provision exists to eliminate yearly inspections for non-commercial vehicles. If signed into law by the governor, Texans won’t have to run their personal cars through the inspection wringer once the calendar flips into the year 2025.

As you’d expect, there’s plenty of jaw-flapping on both sides of the issue. A lawmaker from the Galveston area has said “Vehicle inspections are a costly and time consuming process that provide little benefit to public safety,” while a smattering of groups are warning about trading “safety for convenience”.

Removing the need for yearly vehicle inspections is a thorny topic. One side claims the requirement is nothing more than a dog-and-pony show, one which can take uninformed motorists for an expensive ride if unscrupulous individuals demand compliance repairs which aren’t actually needed. On the other side of the fence, images are brought forth of clapped-out and unsafe vehicles becoming a menace on our roads.

As always, the truth tends to lie somewhere in the middle. It’d be a stretch to think that Texas roads will immediately devolve into lawless wastelands dominated by rusty Silverado pickup trucks held together with duct tape and a bit of rabbit wire, though there will certainly be bad players who will take advantage of the situation and run a set of dangerously bald tires for yet another year. However, one can rightly argue a motorist with that type of attitude will drive their car anyway, regardless of whether an inspection is required.

Then there’s the musing that inspections are applied unfairly. If Car X is driven 35,000 miles a year but Car Z’s wheels only turn half that amount, there’s a case to be made that X’s wear items will obviously be laid waste far sooner than Z’s – yet both rigs are required to undergo scrutiny at the same intervals. Texas is one of the few states to currently require annual inspections of non-commercial vehicles owned by private individuals. As an aside, should this bill be signed into law, an extra fee will be tacked on vehicle registration costs to continue funding the Texas Mobility Fund. That’s a bank of cash intended to pay for new highways. Right now, most of the basic inspection fee is directed to that fund. Any enormous repair bills are, of course, funneled into the coffers of a garage.

One thing’s for sure – state inspections are a big and, in some corners, very profitable business. Whatever decision is made, someone’s going to be unhappy.

[Image: Author]

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3 of 61 comments
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jun 02, 2023

    In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.

    Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.

    For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.

  • GregLocock GregLocock on Jun 02, 2023

    Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.

    So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.


    • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 03, 2023

      Agree even the oldest hooptie today is a much safer vehicle than that of 20 to 40 years ago. Vehicles are much safer today even the average old one than decades ago. Seat belts, air bags, anti lock brakes, vehicle roofs that are reinforced for roll overs, better rust corrosion treatment, and vehicles are built to have crush zones that lessen the impact to the occupants reducing injuries and deaths. Vehicles might be more boring in design but they are much safer.

  • SCE to AUX A question nobody asks is how Tesla sells so many EVs without charge-at-home incentives.Here are some options for you:[list][*]Tesla drivers don't charge at home; they just squat at Superchargers.[/*][*]Tesla drivers are rich, so they just pay for a $2000 charger installation with the loose change in their pocket.[/*][*]Tesla drivers don't actually drive their cars much; they plug into 110V and only manage about 32 miles/day.[/*][/list]
  • SCE to AUX "Despite the EV segment having enjoyed steady growth over the past several years, sales volumes have remained flatter through 2023."Not so. How can EV sales be increasing and flatter at the same time?https://insideevs.com/news/667516/us-electric-car-sales-2023q1/Tesla and H/K/G are all up for EV sales, as are several other brands.
  • ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."