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Letter: Help save Missouri’s state safety inspection program and save lives

AASP-Missouri Executive Director Ron Reiling takes his message to state legislators to stop a bill to kill vehicle safety inspections

Editor’s note: Below is a notification and letter from AASP-Missouri Executive Director Ron Reiling regarding state vehicle safety inspections and legislation that threatens it and vehicle owner safety. Please reach out to your Missouri state legislatures and make your voice heard.

Here we go again,
Please take a moment to contact legislators (see email list below) and try to help them understand how important the Missouri state safety inspection program is and what you see on a daily basis in your shops — and the types of things customers decline everyday. This bill will kill the program in a couple years.

At minimum just drop them an email that says you OPPOSE HB2499.
Below is the email I sent to the House members. The House email list is below so you can copy paste if you would like.

Bill Summary:
HCS HB 2499 — MOTOR VEHICLE INSPECTION SPONSOR: Eggleston COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted “Do Pass with HCS” by the Standing Committee on Downsizing State Government by a vote of 9 to 3. Voted “Do Pass” by the Standing Committee on Rule—Administrative Oversight by a vote of 10 to 4.

Currently, safety inspections are not required for registration of a motor vehicle having less than 150,000 miles for the 10-year period following the model year of manufacture. This bill changes that exemption to motor vehicles having less than 150,000 miles and is model year 2012 or newer.

Honorable Representatives,
AASP-Missouri and its members and their employees OPPOSE HB2499 to make changes to the Missouri State Safety Inspection Program that will lead to it being phased out.
Please OPPOSE HB2499.

Many of you are new legislators so I would like to give you some information you may not be aware of. The last time we visited this was in 2019 when the sponsor tried to repeal the program. This ended with an amendment added to another bill that changed the trigger mileage for Safety Inspection to 150,000 miles or 10 years. This is how it has been the last few years as it passed.

Did you know that 51 percent of Missouri’s fleet is 10 years old or older?
The average failure for a vehicle safety defect is 18 percent. This number increases with the age of vehicles. Vehicles 11-15 years old = 20.8 percent defective rate, vehicles age 16-20 = 25.4 percent defective rate.

Please keep in mind that the Missouri State Safety Inspection Program and GVIP Federally Mandated Emission Inspections are two separate inspections that are tied together. Another element of the program includes the School Bus Safety Inspections that will not be funded without the Safety Inspection Program. St. Louis, St. Charles, and Franklin Counties will STILL BE REQUIRED to obtain an Emissions Inspection.

Here are a couple things we have heard about the program from legislators in the past:
• It’s inconvenient. We do many things every day that are inconvenient. Once every two years is hardly inconvenient. Saving lives has now become inconvenient?

• People always get things repaired when there is a problem. They take care of what is needed. If you watch while you are driving you will see vehicles with headlights, tail lights and brake lights out on a consistent basis. This is a simple and obvious failure that goes unrepaired. How can you expect drivers to find serious defects under their car? If they did do what they are responsible for we wouldn’t need laws for mandatory car insurance and mandatory seatbelt laws to name a few.

• It’s a $30 million tax cut. This is not a tax, it is a fee for services rendered. If you want to hang your hat on a tax cut maybe it should be for more than $6 a year. (Fee is $12 every two years). You can’t fill your gas tank or even take your family out to dinner with this “huge” tax cut.

• Inspections don’t make any difference in accidents. The MSHP report, The Carnegie Mellon University report and the 2017 University of Texas Study say different!

— Missouri State Highway Patrol Safety Inspection Study (Fatal Crash Analysis) is from 2010 the last page(15). Nationwide fatalities due to mechanical failure are 1 out of every 65.9 in states with no safety inspections. In Missouri it is 1 out of 130. That’s almost twice as many in states with no inspections.

• From Carnegie Mellon University (2015).

— 1–2 fewer safety related fatalities per billion VMT in a state with versus without a safety inspection program. Based on this paper’s model results, they find Pennsylvania benefits from between 127 and 187 fewer fatalities each year, as a result of the vehicle safety inspection program. Applying the value of a statistical life to these fatality avoidance’s, this benefit of lives saved is then compared to user costs of the inspection program. The authors of the Cambridge paper conclude that in every case, the benefits outweigh the calculated program costs by at least $100M, making the program worthwhile to continue to implement. Future work should include an in depth analysis of current inspection program costs, including costs to both the user and the state, versus the program’s benefits in reducing fatalities.

• 2017 University of Texas Study that was requested by the Texas Legislation. The findings from this study’s analysis indicate that the Inspection Program saves lives and enhances safety. The CTR team strongly recommends the following:

— Retain the Inspection Program.

— Conduct a further study to consider whether potential additional inspection items, such as tire age and recall information, should be included in the Inspection Program to further enhance highway safety in Texas.

• Cars are so advanced today we don’t safety inspections. This is true from the collision aspect of newer vehicles but does not do anything for safety items such as steering and suspension, brakes and exhaust just to mention a few items.

• When I get my oil changed they inspect my car. The inspection you receive from getting an oil change is not even in the same ballpark. Missouri’s Safety Inspection is one of the most comprehensive in the industry, not a quick 30-point glance to see what you can find.

• There were 15 deaths (2018) due to mechanical failure with Bi Annual Safety Inspection program.

What will it be without?
Here’s what you are not hearing:

• School bus inspections are funded through the State Safety Inspection Program. (You can contact MSHP to verify) How will it be funded now? Put more burdens on school districts?

• School Bus Safety Inspections: (increased safety risk for children) If the Safety Inspection Program fades away so will the funding to perform the school bus inspections. How will these mandated inspections be funded? Put the burden on the school districts? It would also eliminate any administrative penalties (i.e. suspensions, revocations) for official “school bus inspection” stations for failing to conduct a proper school bus inspection that is required to be conducted by an “official inspection station” 60 days prior to the beginning of a school year. (307.375 RSMo)

• States without safety inspections have twice as many fatalities due to mechanical failure than Missouri does. This data does not included accidents that occurred with no injuries.

• Two million dollars of road funding will be lost. Two million of the 30 million collected from the program goes to the road fund. Is this wise with a crumbling infrastructure we keep hearing about?

• State Highway Patrol troopers will be pulled off of the roads to do trailer ID/OD and school bus inspections. Fewer Troopers on the road patrolling.

This bill is bad for Missouri, and UNFAIR to lower income citizens who must drive the older vehicles because of their economic situation.

Contact the automotive service and repair shops in your district and ask them about the defects they find when performing a Missouri State Safety Inspections and other defects that the customers decline for repairs on a daily basis.

Convenience should never override safety period.

Please feel free to contact me.
Ron Reiling, AAM
Executive Director
2920 Elmcrest Drive
St. Charles, MO 63301

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