In North Carolina, all vehicles must submit to a yearly safety inspection. During this inspection, an auto mechanic checks the functionality of your car’s safety features including:
● Headlights, tail lights, blinkers and brake lights
● Foot and emergency brakes
● Exhaust system
● Steering wheel
● Windshield wipers
The Charlotte Observer has an informative graphic illustrating the inspection process. Depending on the age of the vehicle and the county it is registered, you may also be subject to an emissions inspection. This inspection tests the amount of pollution coming from your vehicle. Vehicles manufactured in 1995 or older are exempt from an emissions inspection. If your car is 35 years or older, you are exempt from safety inspections as well.
Do Yearly Inspections Prevent Accidents?
The state of North Carolina began requiring safety inspections in 1966, when mechanical failures were blamed for many crashes. These days, more crashes occur to due to other negligent driving behaviors. North Carolinians spend about $141 million annually on inspection-related expenses. The DMV and Division of Air Quality in North Carolina state that the idea behind yearly inspections is to force vehicle owner maintenance on at least an annual level. During hard economic times, people tend to ignore or put off vehicle problems that can lead to accidents. However, a recent study on the inspection program by the NC Program Evaluation Division shows that the inspections are largely ineffective. Some reasons for this include:
● Lack of consistency undermines the program
● Poor oversight
● Vehicles are safer and their parts last longer than when the program was first instituted
The study also notes that failure rate is low – only about 5%; but, another study shows that this could be due to garages cheating and passing vehicles that legally should fail the inspection. Many states have already scrapped their yearly inspection programs. There was a recent attempt to scrap them in NC with HB 59, but it did not pass.
At Wilson Law, P.A., we believe having your vehicle inspected by a trusted professional on a regular basis is in your best interest. While we know you can’t always prevent an accident, you can make your best effort to avoid them by driving safely and making sure your vehicle’s safety features are functioning properly. If you have been injured in a car accident, our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help. Contact us for a FREE consultation.