House Bill 451, introduced by Missouri State Representative J. Eggleston, seeks to eliminate the Missouri vehicle safety inspection program. This legislation is similar to House Bill 1444, which did not pass in 2018. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and other aftermarket associations oppose the legislation. For many years, the Missouri program has been touted as one of the best programs in the U.S.
In addition to the Missouri State Patrol, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and most recently the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas, published reports supporting the value of their home-state programs in preventing accidents, injuries and deaths.
ASA has hosted vehicle safety inspection forums around the country highlighting the value of these programs. Participants included state motor vehicle administrators, law enforcement, aftermarket associations and others emphasizing the value of these programs. One of the programs was held in St. Louis, Missouri where repairers detailed the importance of the Missouri program.
Presently, there are 15 state inspection programs. Mississippi, New Jersey and the District of Columbia programs have been eliminated in recent years. There were over 30 programs when Congress tied state vehicle inspection to federal highway funds. Once these programs were not mandated, the numbers decreased rapidly.
In addition to preventing accidents, injuries and deaths, proponents of vehicle inspection have encouraged the use of these programs to educate consumers about vehicle recalls. Airbag and other recall notices have overwhelmed consumers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Despite website revisions and partnerships, NHTSA has lagged in educating vehicle owners and assuring responses to recall notices.
The Missouri legislation is particularly troublesome with its track record of moving in the state House. As of this writing, the bill is nearing floor consideration.
In a letter to the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, ASA stated: “ASA is a proponent of state vehicle safety inspection. Study after study has demonstrated that these programs prevent accidents, injuries and deaths. ASA has used the Missouri program as an example for other states of a successful vehicle safety inspection program. Data collected by Missouri in years past has been helpful in better understanding the importance of these programs by comparing states that have vehicle safety inspection programs with those states that do not. We ask that you oppose House Bill 451 and the elimination of Missouri’s vehicle safety inspection program.”
ASA is not alone in working to protect state vehicle inspection programs across the U.S. Recently, aftermarket partners Auto Care Association and the Tire Industry Association (TIA) joined together to oppose Missouri House Bill 451.
The Auto Care Association, in a letter to Missouri legislators, highlighted a comprehensive University of Texas study: “After conducting a thorough investigation of the costs and safety impacts of eliminating the motor vehicle safety inspection for passenger vehicles, the findings from this study’s analysis indicate that the Inspection Program saves lives and enhances safety. The research team strongly recommends the following: Retaining the Inspection Program and Conducting a further study to consider whether potential additional inspection items, such as tire age and recall information, should be included in the Inspection Program to further enhance highway safety in Texas.”
TIA called for Missouri legislators to oppose the bill: “On behalf of our members, we urge the House to reject HB 451. TIA believes the Inspection Program in the state of Missouri saves lives and enhances safety. Strong research has been conducted to support this claim. Removing the state inspection program could lead to more fatalities on Missouri roads, unsafe vehicles, and a loss of revenue to businesses and the state. For these reason, we urge the House to reject HB 451.”
The average age of vehicles on the road today is nearly 12 years, and the largest growing segment of vehicles is 16 years and older. These aging vehicles need to be able to meet safety standards for repair and maintenance in the interest of public safety for all motorists on the road.”
Members of the Missouri aftermarket and consumers are encouraged to contact their legislators asking them to oppose HB 451.