Testimony: Eliminating Motor Vehicle Inspections (LD 1242)


Testimony in Support of LD 1242: “An Act to Eliminate Certain Motor Vehicle Inspections”

Senator Chipman, Representative Williams, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Transportation, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 1242.

To date, a majority of states do not require vehicle inspections for safety. Only 20 states still have these laws on the books and five of them, including California, Colorado and Rhode Island, require them only every two years. Maine would do well to repeal these mandates on its citizens, too. 

Some claim that Maine’s harsh winters and salty roads accelerate vehicle deterioration, and that comparing Maine to southern states that have repealed their inspection laws is unfair. But winter conditions haven’t prevented Minnesota, North Dakota, and Connecticut—which receive an average of nearly 50 inches of snow a year—from repealing their vehicle inspection programs.

During the State of Emergency, state vehicle inspection and registration requirements were suspended for over nine months, in order to manage a threat to public safety. Car repair shops were deemed essential, but state inspections were not. If this rule was crucial to ensure public safety, Governor Mills would not have suspended it.

Many supporters of Maine’s mandatory inspection law assume that mechanical defects are responsible for a large proportion of motor vehicle accidents, but accidents due to distracted driving, speeding, or altered states are much more likely than poor vehicle maintenance.

Vehicular mechanical failures are such a minor factor in collisions that the Maine Department of Transportation just started including them in their most recent crash statistics report published in 2019. Of course, there is potential for a crash to be caused by more than one factor, but the report shows little more than 3% of the accidents from 2015 to 2019 involved a vehicular issue. Those involving tire, wheel, steering, suspension, transmission, or brake issues made up only 1.75% of the five-year total.

29-A MRSA §1768, sub-§5 designates the authority of the State Police to determine if a driver is operating a “defective vehicle,” including paragraph B which states, “A person who violates this subsection commits a Class E crime if the vehicle is unsafe for operation because it poses an immediate hazard to an occupant of the vehicle or the general public.” State Police do not need a vehicle inspection requirement to maintain public safety on the roads.

Please deem LD 1242 “Ought To Pass” and help more Mainers afford the already-high cost of owning an automobile here. Thank you for your time and consideration.