Is it time to end state car inspections? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Is it time to end state car inspections?

Mississippi's vehicle inspection law is now coming under closer scrutiny, with critics saying it's not necessary and unenforceable. (Photo source: WLOX) Mississippi's vehicle inspection law is now coming under closer scrutiny, with critics saying it's not necessary and unenforceable. (Photo source: WLOX)
House members have voted five straight years to repeal the law, only to have it die in the senate. (Photo source: WLOX) House members have voted five straight years to repeal the law, only to have it die in the senate. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Every day, hundreds of Mississippians get their cars inspected to make sure they are in proper driving condition. Also every day, hundreds of others don't.

Some state lawmakers say the inspection sticker was a good idea whose time is up. House members have voted five straight years to repeal the law, only to have it die in the senate.

Some auto repair shop owners say they lose potential customers when they fail a car. One of them is David Poulos, Sr.

"Well, it's a possibility that we do lose when they come in here to get a state inspection sticker. They feel like their car is safe and they're upset when we fail the vehicle," Poulos explained.

Some drivers don't like the law. Others, like Donna Fulmer do, but want it evenly enforced.

"I think it's very important. I think they should check more to make sure that everybody gets inspected," Fulmer said.

That enforcement is a problem, according to Sgt. Jackie Rhodes with the Biloxi Police Department.

"Only state badges police officers are allowed to write inspection sticker tickets in the state of Mississippi. Local law enforcement, city police, sheriff's departments are not allowed to write tickets for inspection sticker expirations," Rhodes said.

The stickers cost $5, but are they a money maker for mechanics? Poulos said no.

"Even at $5, we don't make any money because we have to pay the labor and other expenses."

Despite that, other repair shop owners still think the law is still necessary. Rick Wolbrecht owns a shop in Ocean Springs.

"I like to know that the car has brake lights when they are slowing down in front of me so I can tell what's going on, or headlights when they're coming at me in the dark."

One of the criticisms of the inspection law is that it's too easy for people to forget to renew their stickers, they're simply too busy in their lives to remember that sort of thing. To back that up, I checked a shopping center parking lot in Ocean Springs. Of the ten cars I looked at, four had expired inspection stickers.

That seems to reflect what happens at the auto shops, as well.

 

"I'd say that about 30 percent of them are forgotten and expired, and the other 70 percent are coming right out of and they are on the month," Wolbrecht said.

Last year, almost 40,000 tickets were handed out to Mississippi drivers with expired inspection stickers. The average fine is about $120, although that varies by county. If you do get a ticket, you can have the fine waived by proving your car has been inspected when you show up for your court date.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly