AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas drivers will save a trip to the auto shop after lawmakers voted to eliminate the annual vehicle inspection requirement for most vehicles this legislative session.
In 2025, those inspections will be replaced by an annual $7.50 fee — the same as the current inspection fee, but without the need to actually take your vehicle into the shop. Drivers in new vehicles that have not previously been registered will pay $16.75 upon registration. That money will benefit the Texas mobility fund, the clean air fund and the state’s general revenue.
“Vehicle inspections are costly, time-consuming, and provide little benefit to public safety,” State Sen. Mayes Middleton said. “[This bill] saves hardworking Texans tens of millions of hours of their time, not taken away any more from their family or work.”
Some law enforcement officials opposed the bill in front of the Senate State Affairs Committee during the legislative session, arguing annual inspections protect the public from dangerous vehicles.
“The first line of defense for the safety of our fellow Texans is going to be, actually, a safety inspection,” Sgt. Joe Escribano with the Travis County Constable’s Office said. “The reason why is because the safety inspection checks your steering, your brakes, your horn, your mirrors, your stop lamps, signal lamps, seatbelts… your headlights, bald tires, exhaust.”
“Cars with bald tires and bad brakes are not just as safe as cars on the road,” Chairman of the Texas State Inspection Association Greg Cole said.
Owners of auto shops also expressed concerns the lack of an annual requirement would close their businesses.
“This will make the the roads more dangerous. I’m sure you guys have thought about that. I could also talk about the small businesses that will be put out of business and many people will have to be fired and lose their job,” owner of San Antonio based Official Inspection Station Charissa Barnes said. “If this bill passes, then it would destroy our inspection industry, right in the middle of us bringing on emissions testing.”
Texans living in the most-populated counties will still have to appear annually for an emissions test. The 17 counties that require emissions inspections include those surrounding the major metro areas, other than San Antonio: Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Montgomery, Galveston, Williamson, Travis, Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Collin, Rockwall, Kaufman, Ellis, Johnson, Parker, and El Paso.