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White Paper: Assessing the Value of State Vehicle Safety Inspections


Texas law requires vehicles registered in the state to pass an annual safety inspection. That is in addition to federally mandated emissions tests in 17 state counties in order to comply with the Clean Air Act. Safety inspections are well-known to Texans. They cover tires, brakes, mirrors, lights, and warning devices. An automobile that passes inspection is valid and legal to drive for one year. A vehicle that fails inspection has 15 days to remedy the failed aspect of the inspection and have the automobile re-inspected at no additional charge.

The Motor Vehicle Inspection Act of 1951 started the vehicle inspection program in Texas. However, safety inspections were a federal program until 1976, with over 30 states participating. That year, the federal government ended its program. In the 40+ years since that time, many states have eliminated vehicle safety inspection requirements. At the end of 2018, only 15 states will have passenger vehicle inspections. Texas should be the next state to eliminate it.

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