RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Mechanics are voicing their concerns about Governor Northam’s proposal to eliminate state vehicle inspections in the future.
Tuesday Governor Ralph Northam called for end to the inspections during his budget announcement.
Some drivers feel the yearly inspections are a pointless hassle, but some mechanics said highways safety is really at stake.
"On this side of the inspection program we see the cars that come in the shop where the brakes are metal on metal, the wheels are falling off because of ball joints and the customers have no idea of what's going on with their car," said Todd Meredith, Owner of Top Notch Tire in Sandston.
Meredith feels Northam's proposal to eliminate state inspections could be bad news for drivers.
“If you drive around the roads in Tennessee, where they don’t have an inspection program, you’d be scared to ride on the roads with the cars they have down there,” he said.
For longtime customer Ashley Wills, she said her personal experience at last year’s inspection is why she’s against the elimination.
"My motor mounts were broken in my car and I was unaware,” she said. “I heard a clunking noise, but drove around on that for several months, and it wasn’t until my inspection that Todd told me it was a huge issue.”
Governor Northam believes eliminating yearly inspections can save Virginians $150 million each year.
“I don’t have any problem with it,” said driver Cindy Spain. “Florida does just fine with periodic inspections if somebody gets pulled over.”
“Data shows there is no connection between highways safety and these inspections,” Northam said Tuesday. “That’s why 35 other states don’t have them.”
However, the Virginia Auto Association points to data from State Police saying, "Data compiled from the State Police show almost 20% of the vehicles presented for the safety inspection procedure, fail due to safety related items. A vast majority of these failures are critical vehicle components such as steering, suspension, brakes and tires.”
“I’ve seen too many Honda’s towed in here with ball joints broken in half and wheels hanging off of them,” Meredith said. “I’ve seen cars go into ditches because wheels have come off because of safety issues that could have been caught with an inspection.”
“At the end of the day safety is a huge concern,” Wills added.
The proposal would have to be approved by both the VA House of Delegates and the Senate before anything would move forward.
In a statement from the Virginia Auto Association it said:
“Concerning Governor Northam’s initiative to remove the state’s safety inspection program, The Virginia Automotive Association will oppose all legislation to end the program. We have serious concerns over public safety on our streets and highways without this program… Without the program, that is 1,634,740 unsafe vehicles on Virginia’s roadways. Based on the very few complaints the State Police receive, our citizens are satisfied with the program. The statistics speak for themselves and we have very strong concerns over the Governor’s initiative.”
The 2020 General Assembly session convenes Jan. 8.
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