Texas lawmakers are considering a new bill that would abolish annual vehicle inspections. Currently, Texas is one of only 15 states that require these inspections.
All vehicles in the state must pass a comprehensive safety inspection to ensure vehicles comply with safety standards. In addition, 17 of the 254 counties in the state require emissions testing for gas-powered vehicles less than 25 years old.
In the local metroplex, emissions testing is required in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, and Tarrant counties. This emissions testing requirement would not be affected by the bill under consideration.
House Bill 3297, introduced in March, would eliminate the state safety inspection requirement. The bill would instead require vehicle owners to pay a $7.50 fee for their registration renewal or a $16.75 fee for registering a new vehicle. These fees would go to the Texas Mobility Fund, which supports Texas transportation infrastructure and public transportation systems.
The bill passed in the House on May 5 by a vote of 105-40. It was introduced in the Senate and forwarded to the State Affairs Committee on May 8, where it was approved in a vote of 8-3. The bill was placed on the Senate’s intent calendar on Wednesday and is now awaiting discussion on the floor.
“Vehicle inspections are costly, time-consuming, and provide little benefit to public safety,” said Senator Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston), a sponsor of this bill, at a committee hearing on May 11, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
However, some opponents of the bill say that eliminating the inspections would cause a safety concern. The inspections ensure that basic safety features, such as lights, horns, brakes, windshield wipers, and other items, are in good working order.
“The first line of defense … for the safety of our fellow Texans is going to be actually a safety inspection,” said Seargent Jose Escribano of the Travis County Constable’s Office, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
However, Middleton noted that many cars already have features that will alert drivers to potential safety issues.
If the Senate passes HB 3297 before the legislative session adjourns on May 29, it will move on to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his signature.
Gov. Abbott recently signed a new bill into law that would levy a new tax on electric vehicle registration in the state, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.