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.