Thursday, May 17, 2007

Automobile Annual Inspections—Q & A with Gadabout

Gadabout recently received a question from a reader in Missouri concerning annual inspections for automobiles. The question was framed as a fairness issue for the poorer classes since inspections cost money, often result in untimely repairs and amount to a disproportionate tax. This is a very good topic, and I really am happy to assist here.

The bottom line for automobile inspections is that they should improve public safety through properly operating equipment; such as headlights, brake lights, tire ware etc. If a state inspection system is viable, effective, robust, reasonably priced and uncorrupted, then the program is doing its job as intended by the governing body. If it is in place merely for Profiteering on behalf of shady repair shops praying on the weak and uninformed, then the program is broken.

Gadabout first encountered an inspection requirement in Virginia several years ago and found it to be a nuisance since I generally kept my cars in tip-top operating condition. As time passed, I came to appreciate the requirement once I realized that most cars in Virginia seemed in pretty good shape. For the few times that I had malfunctioning lights and so forth, I found it convenient to have them replaced at reasonable prices and be off again after a short time in the shop. I don’t believe I have been ripped off during one of these inspections. That indicates to me that the system is working here in our great Commonwealth.

But inspections do take a toll on lower income families in many ways. First off, they cost money. Secondly, if repairs are mandated, then families are forced to pay for services or the car essentially losses it right to drive on the roadway system. Lastly, if the car is found not road worthy, then the lower income person may be forced to miss income opportunities since the car is not available for employment. A bad scene, indeed.

To assuage these financial burdens of consequence, both the public and private sectors have opportunities to assist. The public sector can reduce tax burdens in areas of vehicle registration, driver license renewals, and personal property tax (if any), as well as other programs to assist lower income groups. The private sector can assist with used tire charity programs, free repair networks and various gifting programs to help those in need.

Gadabout firmly believes automobile inspection programs (that are expertly managed) save lives, and should continue. When the program affects lower income groups, then it is up to the public sector (supported by the private sector to fill gaps) to assist when necessary. Gadabout says, “drive safe and keep the tires rotated!”


Jimmy Ray said...

I firmly aggree with your assetment of this issue.

I'm like you, my cars are in tip top shape. That isn't because some of my fellow drivers havn't tryed to hurry these very expensive tools of transportation to untimly meeting with the crusher in the sky.

So it's hard for me to understand why anyone would allow their second most important personal property (after house) to become so bad of shape it can't run any more... Let lone pass a saftery inspection.

But when your needing to buy milk for the baby or change the oil in your chevy, I guess the chevy has to wait....

But I must say some folks need to learn to keep willie in his britches and try not to have another screaming brat to your sreaming brat collection. So maybe your famly can aford a oil change, some light bulbs and wiper blades.

VR Jimmy Ray

Gadabout Jack said...

Yep, keeping "Willie in his britches" is always a good way of taking care of the population thing.

Side Note: Advance Auto Parts will install wiper blades for free, and since they do it all the time it takes less than a minute for installation.

Anonymous said...

Wrap that rascal!

Gadabout Jack said...

Wrapping works too.