Lubbock businesses worried for safety, bottom line, as Texas approves eliminating car inspection mandate

Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 11:07 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Come 2025, most Texans will get to skip out on their yearly car inspections. Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 3297 into law, which removes the mandatory requirement for the vehicle checks.

Employees at two small businesses in Lubbock are worried the change could threaten drivers’ safety, and one is worried about his employer’s bottom line.

Gig Pierce, the shop foreman at Scott’s Complete Car Care, says the change will bring new dangers to the road.

“If people are mindful and take care of their vehicles, look at their vehicles real regular that’s one thing. But we’re all so busy that a lot of times, people just don’t do that,” Pierce said. “I don’t want to be driving behind somebody and they don’t have brake lights.”

Kyle Havens, assistant manager at Lube Pro Inspection Xpress, says removing required inspections could not only hurt drivers with car problems, but the other drivers and people nearby.

“Somebody driving around that their headlights don’t work at night or their tires are bald in the middle, so it has a weak spot,” Havens said. “Bad things could happen.”

Only Texans living in the state’s major metro areas will have to pass an emissions inspection. Those 17 counties include Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Montgomery, Galveston, Williamson, Travis, Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Collin, Rockwall, Kaufman, Ellis, Johnson, Parker and El Paso.

Havens says his employer now has to worry about its bottom line, as the shop only performs oil changes, inspections, and makes everyday sales for those inspections like wiper blades and air filters.

“Talking about what are we going to do with this side, how are we going to keep everybody that’s already here employed, you know, all that sort of stuff,” Havens said. “We’re a small, locally owned place, so it’s hard for us to make drastic changes on the drop of a hat.”

Even though drivers won’t have to take their car to the shop, the inspections will be replaced by an annual fee of $7.50. Drivers of new vehicles that haven’t been registered before will pay $16.75 upon registration. The money will go to the Texas Mobility Fund, the Clean Air Fund and the state’s general revenue.

“The state’s still going to get their money, they still charge their fee at the end of the day. So, it’s not really affecting them to much, it’s just small shops like us that have to figure out what we’re going to do,” Havens said.

Supporters of the change say it will save Texans time and money.