Mississippi Senate Passes Bill to End Vehicle Safety Inspection Requirement

By JEFF AMY | February 13, 2015

Some Mississippi senators haven’t gotten an up-to-date vehicle safety inspection. Now they want other Mississippians to be able to forget about it, too.

Senators on Wednesday passed a bill to repeal the requirement that vehicle owners get a $5 safety inspection each year. It got a push from Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who endorsed the measure for the first time this year.

The bill goes to the House for more debate.

Proponents, including Republican Sen. John Polk of Hattiesburg, say too often no inspection is conducted. They also say cars are better-built now, and safety inspections are less needed.

The brief safety inspection is supposed to include a check on whether headlights, windshield wipers, turn signals and the horn are working. But some senators say inspection stations don’t even do that much.

Senate President Pro Tem Giles Ward, R-Louisville, said inspections have “outlived their usefulness. I do not disagree that maybe a more stringent inspection sticker would promote safety. But my inspection process is taking my driver’s license out of my wallet and taking a $5 bill out of my wallet.”

Ward said he sent Senate pages out last month to look at vehicles driven by senators and staffers. Of those 88 cars and trucks, 23 had expired stickers and two had no stickers at all.

“We have a responsibility, if we’re going to keep laws in effect, to at least abide by them,” he said.

Sen. Billy Hudson, R-Hattiesburg, was among those who opposed the bill. He warned that abolishing inspection stickers would lead to “more accidents, more injuries and more deaths,” and called for a more effective inspection instead.

“This system is broken,” Hudson said. “It needs fixing. But we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Sen. Kelvin Butler, D-McComb, proposed that the state instead just inspect older vehicles. Polk said he’d be willing to consider such a proposal, but not this year.

The measure retains requirements that tinted windows be inspected.

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