NJ to Stop Safety Inspections On Cars


car-inspectionThe elimination of the mechanical, or “safety,” portion of motor vehicle inspection in New Jersey won’t happen today as planned, but it is coming soon, state Motor Vehicle Commission officials said.

A bill eliminating safety inspections and extending the emissions inspection date to five years for new vehicles was passed by both houses of the Legislature on June 28, but an agreement hasn’t been reached with Parsons, the contractor that runs the state’s motor vehicle inspection stations, MVC officials said.

“The legislation that was recently passed gives the Motor Vehicle Commission up to 30 days to implement the changes. We will be making an announcement soon, but the changes will not begin exactly on July 1,” MVC spokesman Michael Horan said.

Horan said the key to when the inspection program will change is the outcome of negotiations with Parsons because the MVC is changing the scope of the work in the contract with the contractor.

The change was proposed in the MVC’s budget as a cost-cutting move to save $12 million, as part of the overall 2011 state budget.

When implemented, New Jersey will join the 29 other states and the District of Columbia that have done away with the mechanical part of the motor vehicle inspection process, many for fiscal reasons.

The change has been opposed by safety advocates and the Sierra Club.

“We were against that. We didn’t mind if the state eliminated motor vehicle inspection stations, so long as they allowed independent contractors to continue inspections,” said William Margaretta, New Jersey State Safety Council executive director. “We think that brake inspections are important, that working turn signals are important.”

Margaretta said he understands the financial issue, which is why he suggested turning inspections over to private garages already equipped and certified by the state to do so and selling state-owned inspection stations to raise cash.

One of the problems in making the case for mechanical inspection is the lack of data showing whether there is an increase in crashes due to badly maintained vehicles in states that eliminated inspection, he said.

Of the 1.9 million vehicles annually inspected in New Jersey, less than 6 percent failed for serious mechanical issues such as brakes, steering or suspension issues, Horan said in an earlier interview. A low failure rate makes it hard to justify the $12 million mechanical inspection program, he said.

Drivers would still be required to take their cars for inspection for emissions testing every two years to meet federal Clean Air Act requirements, he said. But the legislation also gives drivers of newer cars and noncommercial trucks a break on emissions inspections.

Owners of new cars wouldn’t have to get an emissions inspection for five years instead of the current four years. Drivers of used cars from 2006 and later also wouldn’t have to get those vehicles inspected for five years. Motorcycles would be exempt from current inspection requirements.

Safety advocates said a decision should be made after studying how accident rates changed in states that eliminated safety inspections. “The statistics are tough because in states where there are mandatory inspections, they have low failure rates,” Margaretta said. “And it is tough to get data from states without inspection because they don’t code a motor vehicle defect as a (crash) cause.”

He suggested that the inspection failure rate is low because most drivers have their vehicles in good working order when they bring them to be inspected.

“We’d recommend they study it, to get a handle on what the crash rates are in states without inspection,” he said.

MVC officials studied federal accident data, which listed driver error and weather conditions as the top causes of most crashes, Horan said, adding it’s the owner’s responsibility to maintain the vehicle so it is safe.

The state chapter of the Sierra Club also echoed the safety argument and said it is concerned that longer times between emissions inspections will result in more pollution, because cars will go longer without maintenance.

There have been unsuccessful efforts to establish federal standards for state motor vehicle safety inspections. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, introduced bills in 2008 and 2009 to have national standards and require annual safety inspections. The 2009 bill was introduced in January but never made it out of committee.

{APP/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. “Also none of the governments buissness!”

    Since when has road safety been “none of the governments buissness”, Normal.

  2. Not ‘governments’ – government’s.

    Not ‘buissness’ – business

    As for ‘timely’: did you mean ‘time consuming’, Normal?

  3. Thank You nilhouse and the other grammar teacher. Yes, it is none of their concern. If an idiot wanted to harm himself as long as it doesnt put anyone else in danger it does not warrant legislating or mixing in…. [cigarette smoking, shechita, or forcing you to drive a solar powered golf car.]

  4. I just want to take my vehicle through and be done with! Who cares about TINT! I have a medical issue allowing me to have it; but if the legal tint is as clear as NOT having any, what’s the point of having to get a PERMIT! The state is gonna get their money any ways they can!