The state House has backed off of a proposal to eliminate vehicle inspections in Missouri. Instead it proposes that inspections would not be required until a vehicle is 10 years old or has more than 150,000 miles on it.
An earlier version of House Bill 451 would have done away with inspections for non-commercial vehicles in Missouri. Bill sponsor J. Eggleston (R-Maysville) said he knew his colleagues had a lot of concerns about that idea, so he reworked it.
“While everyone kind of agrees that cars have gotten a lot better – crumple zones, air bags, and other safety features that have been put in that make them last longer and safer than they used to be – not everybody was cool on totally getting rid of the inspection program altogether,” said Eggleston.
Eggleston said he talked to more than 100 House members from both parties about their issues with the bill before arriving at the current language. It would push back from 5 years to 10 the age at which regular inspections of a vehicle must be done, and creates the requirement that inspections begin when a vehicle has 150,000 miles on it.
Many lawmakers said they were pleased with the changes and Eggleston’s efforts to step back from his original proposal, but some still opposed the bill.
St. Louis representative Donna Baringer (D) argued that rolling back the vehicle inspection requirement will allow more unsafe vehicles on the road.
“While I am responsible and I will have my car inspected, we had 16,000 people that were driving in 2018 on our roads that didn’t care, and it’s their lack of actions that will end up killing me on the highway,” said Baringer.
Baringer said there is no automatic way for the state to know when a given vehicle has reached 150,000 miles until it is sold.
Representative Doug Beck (D-St. Louis) said inspections target parts that wear down over time and should receive regular attention.
“I go down the road sometimes and I see some cars on the side of me that I’m real suspect if they’ve gone through any type of inspection … that will increase tenfold and we’ll have a lot of cars out there that shouldn’t be on the road, and I think it’s going to endanger families’ lives – innocent people that live by the law and do what they’re supposed to do,” said Beck.
Some argued HB 451 no longer goes far enough and argued it should still propose a complete elimination of vehicle inspections. They said none of Missouri’s eight border states require inspections.
“Have you ever driven through any of those states?” Steelville Republican Jason Chipman asked Eggleston.
“Sure,” said the bill sponsor.
“How did you make it back here? It must have been dodging all those terrible vehicles that don’t get inspections that are just falling apart constantly. How did you make it back to this body?” a sarcastic Chipman asked.
“You know, it really didn’t look a whole lot different [from] our state,” said Eggleston.
Eggleston stressed that school bus inspections in Missouri would not be changed under his legislation, and used cars will face the same inspection requirements they do now.
The House voted 102-45 to send his bill to the Senate.