Testimony: Eliminating Nonstructural Rust from Vehicle Inspections (LD 623)


Testimony in Support of LD 623: “An Act to Modify Maine Motor Vehicle Inspection Standards to Permit
Nonstructural Corrosion That Does Not Directly Affect the Passenger Compartment”

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 623.

Maine’s vehicle inspection program is outdated and unnecessary. A majority of states do not require vehicle inspections for safety. Only 15 states require annual inspections; five others require it only every two years.

Maine drivers spend an estimated $16 million—and countless hours—getting their vehicles inspected each year, despite the absence of evidence that mandated inspections increase safety or reduce the number of accidents and injuries on our roads and highways.

A 2015 report from the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) that reviewed six rigorous studies examining vehicle safety inspection programs found no statistically significant difference in crash rates, fatalities, or injuries between states with and without inspection programs. 

Non-structural corrosion resulting from long-term road salt exposure should not in-and-of-itself disqualify a vehicle from passing inspection. Winter conditions haven’t prevented Minnesota, North Dakota, or Connecticut—which receive an average of nearly 50 inches of snow each year—from repealing their vehicle inspection programs. Crash statistics from these states do not show an increase in vehicular accidents, injuries, or fatalities in the absence of an inspection requirement. 

If the state will still maintain the inspections program, it should lessen the hurdles for drivers to clear in order to pass. LD 623 is needed in order to make the inspection standards clearer and help to avoid the all-too-common situation where different garages will provide different repair estimates, pointing out different aspects of the vehicle which need fixing in order to pass muster. 

Frankly, the state vehicle inspection program hurts low-income Mainers most of all. It is expensive to own a vehicle in Maine, on top of weather-related maintenance. For those who drive around the state frequently, the poor quality roads do a number on our vehicles as well.

Please deem LD 623 “Ought To Pass” and lessen this burden on Maine drivers. Thank you for your time and consideration.