Vehicle inspections over for years


Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Ben Savoia sees them everywhere - the clunkers with rusty bumpers and windows secured by duct tape that make him wonder why Florida ever repealed its vehicle-inspection laws.

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Ben Savoia

Facts

Who wants to know?

  • Name: Ben Savoia

  • Age: 76

  • Occupation: Semiretired pharmacist

  • Residence: Gainesville

Savoia, a Gainesville pharmacist, wrote to Since You Asked to find out what happened to those inspection laws after seeing one too many clunkers on his daily travels.

"You see so many of them that are just obviously unsafe, and it made me wonder why those laws were knocked off," Savoia said.

Ann Nucatola, a spokeswoman for the Florida Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said the state's vehicle inspection laws were repealed effective Oct. 1, 1981, for a variety of reasons.

First, she said, Congress had just passed a law that stopped states from losing highway construction funds for not having a vehicle safety inspection program, meaning Florida could ditch the program without losing federal funding for road projects.

Only 19 states still have vehicle-inspection laws, according to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Also, Nucatola said, state officials decided that the program wasn't cost-effective because it didn't take that many unsafe vehicles off the road, but drew many complaints from the many drivers whose cars consistently passed inspections.

"The program didn't cost a lot of money, but for the amount of vehicles that were being taken off the road, it was decided that it wasn't worth it," Nucatola said. "That's compounded with the many complaints from drivers who had to wait in lines, in their cars, just to be told what they already knew: 'The vehicle you're driving is safe.' "

Savoia said he thinks it's a shame the laws were ever repealed, but said he'll continue to maintain his 2-year-old Honda as if they were still in effect.

"I just think it's a real good idea to keep an automobile up to snuff," Savoia said. "You could kill someone if your brakes fail, and you could prevent it by getting your car inspected."

Amy Reinink can be reached at 352-374-5088 or reinina@gvillesun.com.

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