Sticker shock? Gov. Northam’s plan to end annual vehicle inspections sparks reaction from mechanic

Local mechanic says safety inspections catch potentially dangerous vehicle issues

ROANOKE, Va. – Michael Dudley has made a living as a mechanic for nearly 40 years, and he often finds problems with peoples’ cars and trucks during their annual inspection required in Virginia.

“The average person doesn’t get under their car and have the ability to look and see what’s going on,” Dudley said.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s budget proposal would make inspections and the accompanying stickers a thing of the past.

“We will eliminate vehicle safety inspections,” Northam said while addressing lawmakers Tuesday.

Northam said eliminating the annual inspection would save Virginia’s drivers $150 million a year. He said the inspections aren’t necessarily needed.

“Data showed there is no connection between highway safety and these inspections," Northam said. "That’s why 35 other states don’t have them.”

However, Dudley said that removing the required inspection could lead to more unsafe vehicles on the roads and that the drivers would not know their cars are dangerous.

“You find bad tires that they can’t tell are bad. You find brakes that have issues,” Dudley said. “I’ve seen frames rusted completely in two, to the point where I told them I wouldn’t want to drive it home.”

Northam’s budget also proposes cutting Virginia’s auto registration fees in half and instituting a 4% gas tax in the Commonwealth.

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