Patrick Ishmael

Vehicle maintenance isn’t typically the sexiest legislative topic, but one proposal offered in the Missouri House may make it hot in 2019, to the chagrin of at least a few auto mechanics across the state:

[The bill proposes that] the state law be repealed that requires vehicles of five years or older to be inspected every other year. Rep. J. Eggleston, R-Maysville, said the bill would put the responsibility of having vehicle inspections in the hands of drivers.

“I have no doubt that problems are detected in the inspections and are corrected,” Eggleston said. “The point I was making though, is these problems would, by and large, be detected and corrected anyways even without the inspections.”

Eggleston said he has done a large amount of research on the subject and that states where inspections are no longer required have not seen a major increase in safety problems.

“I’ll be honest when I first heard the topic, I was against getting rid of the inspections and my investigation was to set out and prove that they were helpful,” Eggleston said. “I was trying to prove a former legislator wrong, and I ended up proving him right and proving me wrong.”

Eggleston says that putting an end to the inspections would save Missourians $30 million each year in fees alone. As Eggleston notes, this  isn’t technically a tax, but is practically speaking indistinguishable from one. Tax or not, he argues, that’s millions back in the pockets of Missourians statewide. And he’s right. The issue is already making some headway in the legislature.

The article quoted here, from the St. Joseph News-Press, is worth a full read, as it gets into some of the objections mechanics have against the change, including the fact that sometimes the inspections turn up problems that have to be fixed. I’m sure that’s sometimes the case. But is the cost of a state-mandated inspection worth the cost to Missouri consumers? Or, is its continued existence more a benefit to mechanics, who can get a fee and potentially a customer, if they find anything amiss? Expect to hear a lot of debate over this during the next couple of months.


About the Author

Patrick Ishmael
Director of Government Accountability

Patrick Ishmael is the director of government accountability at the Show-Me Institute.