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The Daily Tar Heel

N.C. House Bill 59 may eliminate mandatory car inspections

A proposal to eliminate the requirement for annual vehicle safety inspections might save North Carolina drivers money — but opponents of the bill say the cost could be greater down the road.

N.C. House Bill 59 would repeal the requirement for safety inspections, saving drivers $13.60 annually. The requirement for emissions testing would not be stricken.

The bill ­— originally filed Jan. 31 — passed its first reading and has been in the House of Representatives’ committee on transportation since early February.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, could not be reached for comment.

Tom Crosby, spokesman for AAA Carolinas, said the proposal would sacrifice safety to cut costs for drivers. He said the inspection process, though sometimes inconvenient, reassures drivers that cars on the road have been properly maintained.

“I don’t want somebody out there driving a car that hasn’t been looked at for three or four years with safety violations,” he said.

Crosby said only one comprehensive study on the issue has been conducted in the last 13 years. The study found that states requiring the inspections had a reduction in accidents ranging from about 1 to 27 percent.

He added that since South Carolina eliminated its safety inspection requirement 10 years ago, it has often been among the top five states for deaths and accidents per mile driven.

But Jon Sanders, director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, which advocates for limited government, said the inspections requirement imposes a time and cost hardship on N.C. drivers and is generally viewed as annoying and redundant.

“Most people are pretty responsible,” he said.

Still, Marc Pons, president of Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center, said the inspection requirement keeps drivers from neglecting to maintain their vehicles.

“You’d be surprised about what people try to get away with,” he said.

Pons said that without the requirement, some drivers might push the envelope and choose to do nothing until their vehicle breaks down or worse.

“People will die as a result of that law,” he said.

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