Tina Watson sees more good than bad in a new Missouri law that lets car owners go longer without state-required inspections.


Tina Watson sees more good than bad in a new Missouri law that lets car owners go longer without state-required inspections.
The law takes affect Friday, and means an estimated 650,000 vehicles will be exempt from inspections in 2010.
Missouri currently requires vehicles to be inspected every two years.
Supporters say the change provides a slight cost savings and cuts back on government red tape. Critics say it could lead to a wealth of safety problems.
With a husband and two daughters, Watson still favors the biannual system. She got her three-year-old used sports utility vehicle inspected Monday in Hannibal.
“If people aren’t monitoring their vehicles, that could lead to a lot of problems,” Watson said. “I can see some of the safety concerns is you don’t have something taken care of right away.”
Many auto body shop owners have conflicting emotions about the impact of the new law.
Like Watson, Al Johnston of Al’s Tire Service in Hannibal has safety concerns.
“In five years, anything can happen,” Johnston said. “Your brakes can wear out in two years depending on how much you drive.”
Ferren Sanders of Oakwood Automotive in Hannibal said people shouldn’t worry.
“The new cars, for the first five years, is not going to be a concern,” Sanders said. “There’s not that many problems in the first five years of a car’s life.”
Missouri Department of Revenue Director Alana M. Barragán-Scott said in a statement that motorists should “monitor the condition of their vehicles and get them repaired if they believe there are mechanical problems.”
Motorist Eric Smith of Hannibal said too many people wait until the last minute to make auto repairs.
“I think it’s good to have your car inspected more often than every five years,” Smith said.
Sanders said most mechanics already look for more serious wear and tear when they do routine work such as an oil change. He said some shops will lose money, but not enough to put them out of business.
“It’s definitely going to cut down on the amount of inspections, but I don’t think it will be that big of a thing,” he said.
The law will not apply to autos made in 2004 or earlier and interstate commercial vehicles or school buses. If you have a car with a model year 2007, it won’t need an inspection until 2012.
Basic inspections cost $12 for cars and trucks and up to $10 for motorcycles, but examining stations are allowed to add extra fees.
An inspection still must be done within 60 days of the application for a title or renewal of plates.
In addition to the SUV, the Watsons have two other vehicles. Watson said she and her husband are strict about maintenance.
“I have kids, and I want to make sure I’m not broken down on the road,” she said. “That’s my worst nightmare, even with cell phones.”