Fake Vehicle Safety Inspections for State Revenue

It’s time to end the vehicle safety inspection program in Mississippi. The inspections are not actually performed. It’s just a state revenue scheme.

Vehicle safety inspections were born when car parts manufacturers decided the program would help them sell many new parts. The manufacturers paid lobbyists. The lobbyists sold the idea to mechanics, who also believed they would sell more parts. The state legislature passed the bill and citizens reluctantly bought into the vehicle safety inspection idea.

 

By law, a mechanic can charge $5 for a vehicle safety inspection sticker. The mechanic keeps $3 and he sends $2 to the State.  Mechanics are paid by the hour. The list of items to check for an inspection is long. There is no way for a mechanic to do a complete inspection without losing money on his hourly work rate. Because the inspection program isn’t profitable for a mechanic, he installs the sticker without a complete inspection.

 

A complete vehicle safety inspection includes checks of:

windshield for cracks, all windows for tint

horn, wipers, lights (aim the headlights)

remove a wheel to check brake linings

check for hydraulic leaks, brake hoses

check suspension parts, ball joints, tie rod ends

check tire tread depth

check exhaust system for leaks

test drive the vehicle (not on a rainy day) to test alignment, stopping ability, etc.

 

Some believe the program might keep junk cars off the road. Ironically, vehicles made before 1961 aren’t required to have an inspection.

 

Motorcycles are also required to have vehicle inspection stickers. The stickers aren't waterproof and there is no safe place to stick them on the motorcycle. Motorcyclists have to carry inspection stickers in their wallets.

 

Only the State highway patrol can write a ticket for an expired or missing vehicle inspection sticker. Cities and counties receive no revenue from inspection stickers, nor for tickets written for sticker violations. Many people believe the money from inspection stickers goes into the highway patrol retirement fund. That’s not true. $2 of the fee goes into the state general fund to be spent for whatever the legislature wants.

 

Every year since 2008, many bills were introduced to end vehicle inspections. In 2013, a bill by Representative Cecil Brown (D-Hinds) passed the House: 115 to 5 to end the inspection program.

 

Representative Pat Nelson (R-DeSoto) voted yes to end vehicle inspections  saying, ”It started out as probably a good idea, but it’s become a nuisance. Only about a fourth of states still have them and there is little accountability that shops are even doing the checks.”

 

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves did not support the bill to end vehicle safety inspections. He allowed the bill to die in a Senate committee. I asked Lt. Governor Reeves on his Facebook page why he killed the bill. Someone with “Tate Reeves” as a screen name answered that the State needs the revenue.

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Update: Legislators tried again in 2014 to end the fake vehicle inspection system in Mississippi. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves didn't get the inspection sticker repeal bill out of Sen. Fillingan's committee where the bill died. The House passed the bill 111-4!

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Note: The penalty for mechanics not performing inspections properly:


Miss. Code Ann. § 63-13-29
MISSISSIPPI CODE of 1972
*** Current through the 2014 Regular Session and 1st and 2nd Extraordinary Sessions ***
TITLE 63.  MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC REGULATIONS  
CHAPTER 13.  INSPECTION OF MOTOR VEHICLES
Miss. Code Ann. § 63-13-29  (2014)
§ 63-13-29. Penalties for violations of chapter

   Any person violating the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($ 50.00) or sentenced to not more than six (6) months in the county jail, or both.

HISTORY: SOURCES: Codes, 1942, § 8258-10; Laws, 1960, ch. 408, § 10, eff from and after January 1, 1961.
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Note: Who is responsible that vehicle inspections are done:


Miss. Code Ann. § 63-13-15
MISSISSIPPI CODE of 1972
TITLE 63.  MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC REGULATIONS  
CHAPTER 13.  INSPECTION OF MOTOR VEHICLES
Miss. Code Ann. § 63-13-15  (2014)

§ 63-13-15. Licensing of official inspection stations; qualifications of inspectors; inspection of stations; list of inspection stations
 
   (1) The commissioner of public safety shall annually issue permits for and furnish instructions and all necessary forms to official inspection stations for the inspection of vehicles as required by this chapter in the issuance of official certificates of inspection and approval.
 
(2) Application for permit shall be made on an official form and shall be granted only when the commissioner of public safety is satisfied that the station is properly equipped and has competent personnel to make such inspections and that such inspections will be properly conducted. A fee of ten dollars ($ 10.00) shall be charged any person or facility seeking a permit as an official inspection station, or a renewal thereof, for the purpose of defraying the cost of administering the processing of the application.
 
(3) The person making the actual inspection for the station or under whose immediate personal supervision such inspection is made shall have not less than one year's practical experience as an automotive mechanic. No person shall be designated by such station to make such inspections for it unless the person has been approved for that purpose by the department of public safety.
 
(4) The commissioner of public safety shall properly supervise and cause inspections to be made of such stations and may, after reasonable notice, suspend or revoke and require the surrender of the permit issued to a station which he finds is not properly equipped or conducted. The commissioner of public safety shall maintain and post at the office of the department of public safety lists of all stations holding permits and of those whose permits have been suspended or revoked.
 
HISTORY: SOURCES: Codes, 1942, § 8258-06; Laws, 1960, ch. 408, § 6, eff from and after January 1, 1961.

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commented 2013-08-28 06:54:30 -0500 · Flag
Game Wardens (Conservation Officers) have NO GENERAL POLICE powers…..

SEC. 49-1-43. Powers and duties of director of Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

(1) The director shall have general supervision and control of all conservation officers, and shall enforce all the laws and regulations of the state relating to wild animals, birds and fish, and shall exercise all necessary powers incident thereto not specifically conferred on the department.

(7) Nothing in this section shall be construed as granting conservation officers general police powers.
commented 2013-08-27 21:01:49 -0500 · Flag
SO: only the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol may enforce the Inspection Sticker Act.

Office of the Attorney General
State of Mississippi
Opinion No. 1999-0495

September 17, 1999

Re: Inspection Sticker Violations

Tommy Doty
Councilman, City of Tupelo
407 Blackwell
Tupelo, Mississippi 38801

Dear Mr. Doty:

Attorney General Mike Moore has received your letter of request and has assigned it to me for research and reply. Your letter asks:

I need an opinion as to whether or not a municipality may writeNext Term a tickets for inspection sticker violations or to carry it a little further, can sheriffs’ departments and, also, other county lawmen and all or just State troopers?

In response, it has long been the opinion of this office that only the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol may enforce the Inspection Sticker Act. This opinion is based on Chapter 317, House Bill 274, General Laws of 1977 (copy attached). The title of Chapter 317, Laws of 1977 clearly indicates that the intent of the act is “to provide that enforcement of the act be placed solely in the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol.”

If we may be of further service to you, let us know.
Very truly yours,

Mike Moore
Attorney General

David K. Scott
Special Assistant Attorney General

1999 WL 1075189 (Miss.A.G.)
Mississippi for Liberty
To promote liberty in Mississippi by engaging in the legislative process, the election process and supporting other pro-liberty organizations around the state.