CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - Starting next year, state inspections of your car could come screeching to a halt.
In his budget proposal unveiled earlier this week, Governor Ralph Northam added a surprising cut: annual vehicle inspections. The Governor says the move will save Virginians about $150 million a year. People in the auto service industry say it could end up costing lives.
Governor Northam’s push to scrap annual car inspections comes just one year after the government raised the prices of state inspections to help mechanics cover costs. Mechanics in Charlottesville say they did not see this coming.
“It came as a surprise to everybody," University Tire and Auto employee Adam Dowdell said. "Definitely don’t want to see it from a safety standpoint, because my family your family. We’re all on the road, we definitely don’t want to be around unsafe vehicles.”
In his budget proposal, Governor Northam cites there is no statistical evidence linking state inspections and highway safety. Auto technicians dispute that.
“Statistically speaking almost 20% of the vehicles presented statewide, do not pass state inspections," Dowdell said, citing studies by the Virginia Automotive Association. "That roughly equates to about 1.9 million of our vehicles that are on the road with us are unsafe by the state standards.”
Mechanics say the benefits of inspections go beyond keeping drivers safe.
“A lot of times because most people will let that little thing turn into a big repair and just continue to drive it that’s when the car becomes unstable," Archer said.
“It also allows the customers that visit to the shop to see something that might be on the horizon for them,” Dowdell added. “That way you can address things in a more timely fashion that suits their financial needs.”
The Governor also aims to slash the fee for annual car registration in half. He says that could save drivers an additional 130 million a year.