A bill is headed to Governor Abbott's desk which would do away with the state requirement for yearly safety inspections of non-commercial vehicles. House Bill 3297, authored by state Rep. Cody Harris, R-Palestine, has passed both chambers of the state legislature.
While the bill would do away with yearly safety inspections required for vehicle registration, drivers in 17 Texas counties would still need to get annual emissions tests. Those would include Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.
Texas is currently one of just 13 states that require annual safety inspections for registered vehicles.
To offset the loss to state revenue, the $7.50 which the state usually charges as part of the inspection fee would, instead, be added to fees paid as part of the vehicle's registration.
Due to state regulations preventing price gouging, auto inspection providers do not tend to profit significantly from state inspections as it is. With the new bill, drivers, however, will get to pocket the approximately $7 usually paid to inspectors for time and labor.
Mike Yu has been the owner of Midtown Auto Service and Repair for 25 years. He said around 10% of his customers are those who come in for state auto inspections. He worries the new law will lead to more drivers on the road with problems like broken taillights and illegal window tinting.
“When you start doing that, it really does degrade a lot of the cars on the road for safety, and that’s what’s going to end up worrying me later down the line," Yu said. "It’s just going to be the wild West eventually.” However, according to research published by the National Institutes of Health, there is no conclusive evidence that required yearly auto inspections significantly increase road safety.
If the bill is signed into law by Gov. Abbott, it will take effect Sept. 1.