In a recent move that has sparked discussions and debates, Texas has eliminated the vehicle station inspection requirement. This change in policy has significant implications for vehicle owners across the state. So, what were the reasons behind this decision, its potential impact on road safety, and what Texas residents should be aware of moving forward?
For years, Texas has implemented a vehicle station inspection program aimed at ensuring that vehicles on the road meet safety and emissions standards. These inspections required vehicle owners to have their cars inspected annually. The inspections covered various aspects such as lights, brakes, tires, emissions, and other safety components.
So – here’s the contradiction that has torn at me over this. Personally, I’m of the opinion that “the less government, the better”. With very few exceptions, I can’t think of when the government is involved in something, that it does a better job. I think the state safety and emissions inspection system would work if it was done better. It needs reform; a better process, and for it to be more strict. Notice how I’m all about the government getting (more) involved and wanting them to increase restrictions. This is totally not me. We shuttle vehicles down to the local state inspection place for our clients- and being a former State Inspector myself and owner of ABR Houston, “I can tell you that the vast majority of vehicles are not getting a proper state inspection process”.
That’s the problem. If state inspections were taken seriously, cars and trucks would be getting at least flagged/failed for safety deficiencies…. but they aren’t. It’s just a benign process you go through and most of the time don’t even get out of the car….. and unless you get one of “those guys” who actually performs the state inspection correctly and thoroughly, vehicle owners are not getting the information and understanding their vehicle is unsafe.
That’s the problem. Modern vehicles have so much engineering built into them, that you can still drive an absolute pile of junk 70 mph down the road and not know that they are a major liability to themselves and those around them. It’s not like cars from 30-40 years ago, where it would basically put you on the side of the road when there was a major issue. Modern cars are just amazing at hiding major deficiencies from the drivers, until it’s too late.
That’s the problem. Vehicle owners think they can effectively maintain and repair their modern vehicle. The truth of the matter is, most drivers can’t comprehend how complex and difficult modern vehicles are to work on. Heck, run flat tires and TPMS (tire pressure monitoring systems) have been around for 20+ years now, and they still are ignored by drivers. 20 years! This is just one example of how modern vehicles have surpassed the vast majority of vehicle owner’s ability to do much more than put gas in it and drive it.
That’s the problem. “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery” is a translation of a Latin phrase that Thomas Jefferson used: “Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Who’s to tell me about my personal vehicle and what I can or can’t do? This tugs on my Libertarian aspect of this conversation. It’s my vehicle, my life, my responsibility, and my consequences if I choose to not maintain or fix my vehicle, right?
That’s the problem. What if they got rid of the state safety inspection process, and gave independent shops and dealerships the authority to “ground” a vehicle? “I’m sorry, but in our professional opinion, your vehicle isn’t roadworthy or safe.” What’s to keep this authority or power from being abused? I would love this ability, but this *again* is a contradiction to the “less government and authoritarian grip /more freedom” world that I associate myself with.
That’s the problem. Now, The police will be the person who’ll be performing a safety inspection on the side of the road and issuing fix it tickets. Will this garner a new set of laws on what is considered a fix it ticket, and what would make the vehicle get towed away and impounded? How much training will a police officer (who’s job isn’t to be a technician or a state inspector) have on this new process? How much will this affect our already overloaded judicial system?
That’s the problem. People argue that the state inspection process makes vehicle’s safer, but does it? 15 states require a vehicle inspection- but no real factual data backs up that those states are “safer” than non-inspection states. When a car passes inspection, drivers might take more risks due to a false sense of security. In Nebraska, the accident rate decreased when the vehicle inspection program was abandoned.
So, what’s the solution?
CEO – ABR Houston