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Car inspections

Good question: What exactly are car inspections useful for?

Texas is one of 19 states left that require a periodic [vehicle] safety review – down from a peak of 31 states in the 1970s. The District of Columbia recently disbanded its inspection program because of high costs and a lack of evidence that the inspections saved lives.

There is no serious discussion about eliminating Texas’ program, which includes an emissions test in Dallas and some other locations.

But state officials and insurers acknowledge that more could be done to determine what the inspections are accomplishing.

“The state needs to start collecting data and establish a baseline,” said Jerry Johns, president of Southwest Insurance Information Service, an Austin-based industry trade group. “If it is not working, then abolish it. But we don’t think that would be the case.”

It’s a good story about something I doubt I’d ever thought about. One thing the inspections are good for is raising a bit of cash for the state. On balance, I have no problem with the inspection program, whatever it may actually accomplish, but I’d be happier if we got more serious about emissions testing. Maybe some day.

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One Comment

  1. joypog says:

    hmm that’s interesting. I gotta say given that an inspection caught that my car had a cracked exhaust manifold (a 1981 Datsun that I eventually had to sell cause I got tired of fixing it) and another caught that my rear turn signals were the wrong color, I can’t really complain too much. Our air in Houston is so crummy I think smog checks must help somewhat. That said, a “kick the tires” yearly inspection without a smog check seems like a total waste of everyone’s time and money.

    But then again I’m from california so maybe I’m brainwashed. I’d love to see a study that showed one way or the other.