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.
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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.”