Sunday | February 26, 2017
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Letters 11-3-13

Vehicle safety inspections aren’t needed

I believe the state vehicle safety inspection period should be changed for every vehicle to a renewal period of every two years. Better yet would be to abolish it altogether.

A couple of weeks ago, West Hawaii Today printed a notice requesting public input regarding the Department of Transportation’s proposal increasing the cost of the safety inspection program. I guessed from reading the Oct. 30 article that the decision to increase the fee had been made months ago. This was even before the request for public input was announced. Computer hardware and software has already been purchased and distributed to inspection stations. According to the article, the inspectors feel that the inspection process may take an hour to complete. Does anyone actually believe that your auto mechanic is really going to continue to offer the service to inspect your vehicle at what may be a $60 to $80 reduction from his normal hourly rate?

I believe the safety check requirement as performed in Hawaii is unneeded and obsolete and at best only provides a momentary snapshot of the vehicles’ safety equipment as it is being inspected. No one can deny that vehicles today are safer and have built-in redundant safety systems. Fifty or 60 years ago, when this legislation was enacted, this was not the case. Why not recognize this fact and tailor the inspection requirement to fit this new reality. The WHT article offered only one creditable reason for this change: paperwork backup. Vehicle owners pay a yearly registration fee. Why should we be burdened with an additional cost to reduce the DOT’s paperwork problems when it should be covered by the vehicle’s registration fee? Eliminating the safety inspection or extending it biennially will accomplish the same thing at a significantly lower taxpayer cost.

Does the DOT have a backup plan when the number of inspection stations fall and vehicle owners need to make an appointment months in advance for the inspection because too many inspectors opt out of offering the service because it is a time and financial losing proposition?

Michael Flaherty