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'Less safe' | Houston drivers, mechanics weigh in on possibility of annual car inspections ending

Lawmakers behind the bill call annual vehicle inspections a "waste of time."

HOUSTON — Lawmakers are discussing a bill that would do away with mandatory car inspections in Texas, which is leaving drivers with a lot of questions.

Mechanics said they're worried about what it could mean for the safety of drivers on the road, and many of the drivers KHOU 11 News spoke with think ditching mandatory inspections is a bad idea. But lawmakers behind the bill call annual inspections a "waste of time."

For 40 years, Christian Brothers Automotive has offered vehicle safety inspections.

"I would say 1 out of 10 probably fail, because of tires," Service Manager David Lowery said.

It's a $25 requirement that Texas drivers need to get their yearly vehicle registration.

"One is the safety part of it, and the second part is the emissions part of it," Lowery said.

In the safety inspection, Lowery said they check everything from your vehicle's insurance to your tires, windshield wipers, fluid levels and more.

"I think it's very important considering the amount of road users we have in Houston," Lowery said.

And that's why Lowery's against a new bill that would eliminate the state inspections altogether.

"The problem is most people, they'll take care of their cars and make sure they're running on good tires, but not everyone will comply with that," Lowery said.

And many Houston drivers agreed, saying if inspections go, they wonder what will stand between them and more dangerous vehicles on the road.

"You're going to have cars out there that haven't been inspected right," Ricky Williams said.

"I think it could be less safe," Moses Lacour said.

"I don't understand why they're going to take that away. I mean, you have to keep up with your car," Teresa Lewis said.

However, lawmakers behind the bill call state vehicle inspections a "waste of time" and an "unnecessary burden."

Rep. Cody Harris, the author of the bill, sent KHOU 11 News this statement:

“Texas is one of only a handful of states to require annual safety inspections. The reality is, these inspections are a waste of time for Texas citizens and a money-making Ponzi scheme used by some shady dealerships to upsell consumers with unnecessary repairs. Texans are responsible, fiercely independent, and I trust them to keep their cars and trucks safe while on the road. It’s time for Texas to end this unnecessary burden.”

But for drivers in 17 Texas counties, even if the safety inspection goes away, the requirement for an emissions test will still remain, and that includes Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston and Montgomery counties. How that will work and what it will cost is yet to be decided.

"They would have to come up with a whole new emissions-only sticker I would guess," Lowery said.

The change could go into effect as early as this September, but a Senate amendment could push it back to January 2025 to give the state time to figure out these changes. It needs House approval, before heading to Governor Greg Abbott's desk. If it makes it that far, Abbott could then sign it into law.

Janelle Bludau on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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