Texas may abolish annual vehicle inspections, but Metroplex drivers aren’t off the hook

Texas may soon join most other states that have done away with annual safety inspections on vehicles.

State lawmakers are considering removing the requirement for yearly inspections in noncommercial vehicles, though emissions inspections would still be required in some counties, including the Metroplex.

“Vehicle inspections are costly, time consuming and provide little benefit to public safety,” Republican Sen. Mayes Middleton told lawmakers during a May 11 committee hearing.

The majority of states do not require periodic car safety inspections, according to Kelly Blue Book.

The proposal, filed by Republican Rep. Cody Harris of Palestine, could be brought up for debate in the Senate this week. Lawmakers adjourn the legislative session May 29. If it passes out of the Senate without amendments, the legislation would head to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

Opponents of the bill have raised concerns about unsafe cars on road. The inspections check for things like brakes, steering, horn, mirrors and other vehicle safety features, said Jose Escribano, who works on a task force for a Travis County constable’s office.

“The first line of defense...for the safety of our fellow Texans is going to be actually a safety inspection,” he said.

Middleton noted that many cars now have features that detect potential problems with vehicles.

Opponents also raised concerns with the jobs that could be eliminated by not requiring the annual inspection.

Vehicle owners would pay a $7.50 fee when they renew their registration and a $16.75 fee when they buy a new car. Most of the money would go to the Texas Mobility Fund, which helps finance construction for state highways.

A separate bill to remove the inspection requirement didn’t get the votes to pass out of the Senate Transportation Committee in March.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.