NH state inspections
Bill would change auto inspection to every two years By GARRY RAYNO
CONCORD – Some lawmakers believe auto safety inspections should only be done every two years, but auto service industry representatives and state officials disagree.
Under House Bill 387, vehicles would only to be inspected every two years, not annually as currently required.
The bill would increase the cost of an inspection sticker from $3.25 to
$6.50 so the state would not lose money, and proponents argue that would mean a two-year savings of about $2 million because fewer stickers would have to be printed.
Supporters maintain how often a car is inspected does not correlate to the number of deaths on the nation’s highways.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Eric Schleien, R-Hudson, said according to national statistics, if safety is the concern, it would be better to determine a driver’s likelihood of having a heart attack at the wheel or falling asleep while driving because that causes more deaths than a faulty vehicle.”Data linked to safety has little to do with what happens on the road,” he argued.
But Gary Rondeau of Hooksett who services mostly Volvos said suspension, ball joints and mostly tires are critical to a safe automobile.
He called annual safety inspections a necessity, noting many people do not mean to operate unsafe vehicles but they do.
“To support this bill is ludicrous,” Rondeau said.
Dick Horan of Precision Imports in Manchester, showed transportation committee members auto parts he removed from the high-end cars he services.
Many of these cars wear out tires in 6,000 to 8,000 miles because of the way they are set up, he noted.
Horan said using the number of deaths per 1,000 is not necessarily a good indicator of how dangerous a faulty vehicle is.
“I’m not worried about my family who is informed and will fix something that is wrong,” Horan said. “The guy who feels he doesn’t need to get his car inspected is the guy I’m worried about.”
Several bill supporters said the state is forcing its residents to go to a business every year for an inspection.
“You’re telling citizens they must visit a business every year and buy their product,” said the bill’s prime sponsor Rep. James Spillane, R-Deerfied. He said changing the law to every two years “does not affect safety and protects the liberty of New Hampshire citizens.”
Rebecca Ohler of the Department of Environmental Services reminded the committee safety inspections also include emission tests.
Emissions testing is part of the state’s mitigation plan to address air quality violations under the Clean Air Act.
She told the committee if the yearly inspections were not done, a lot of environmental benefits would be lost.
Cars are much cleaner than they used to be, Ohler said, and it is important they remain as clean as when they come off the assembly line.
If the emissions tests are not done annually, she noted, the state could face sanctions, including losing some of its federal highway funds.
The committee did not make an immediate recommendation on the bill.