Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club

The Dashboard A publication of the
Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club.
A not-for-profit corporation.
A chapter of Bow Tie Chevys
and Classic Chevy International.
August 2003

Legislator sees no need for annual inspections

By Mike W. Ray
Media Division Director
Oklahoma House of Representatives

OKLAHOMA CITY - In response to published complaints recently about "ratty cars" traveling on Oklahoma roads, a veteran state legislator asserted July 28 there is no need to reinstate annual inspections because drivers of deficient motor vehicles can be ticketed already. "Why penalize every driver, when only a relatively small number of vehicle owners are causing the problem?" said Rep. Richard Phillips. The Warr Acres Republican was the principal author of one of a pair of measures that abolished annual vehicle inspections in Oklahoma two years ago.

Most drivers in Oklahoma are conscientious and sufficiently concerned about the safety of themselves, their passengers and others on the road that they have their engine oil and equipment such as tires, windshield wipers and lights checked periodically by a mechanic, Phillips said. Furthermore, he emphasized, law enforcement officers are already empowered to issue citations to owners of unsafe cars and trucks. State law mandates all motor vehicles operating on roads, streets and highways in Oklahoma must be equipped with functioning headlights, taillights, stop lights, turn indicators, brakes, horns, seat belts, windshield wipers, and mirrors. Every motor vehicle must be equipped with a muffler "in good working order . to prevent excessive or unusual noise and annoying smoke," state law decrees.
State statute requires every tire on any vehicle operating in Oklahoma to "have rubber on its entire traction surface at least one inch thick above the edge of the flange of the entire periphery."
Another section of law provides that, "No person shall drive or cause to be moved on any highway any motor vehicle . unless the equipment . is in good working order. and said vehicle is in such safe mechanical condition as not to endanger the driver or occupant or any person upon the highway."

The Legislature voted to scrap vehicle inspections for multiple reasons, Phillips recalled. The inspection price was set by the Legislature at $5, of which the station owner was allowed to keep $4. State lawmakers not only resisted raising the price, they even balked at doubling the price to $10 but limiting inspections to every other year instead of annually.

"A thorough vehicle inspection would take 15 to 30 minutes to complete," Phillips estimated. "If the mechanic is getting $60 or more per hour for his labor, $4 is not enough to even check the air pressure
in the tires."

Because of the low compensation rate, many stations discontinued vehicle inspections. Consequently, many rural residents had to drive long distances to find a mechanic to inspect their vehicles each year.
"I have no desire or intention to resurrect motor vehicle inspections," Phillips said Monday. "Law enforcement officers already have the authority to require drivers to either fix their malfunctioning vehicles or get them off the road altogether."


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