Safety inspection… pay till you comply?

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Eric: I recently had my VA safety inspection done, and repairs were required. What dawned on me was that, basically, there is unlimited scope and $$ for any repairs that are required. You simply have to comply, no matter what the cost. Now, a friend of mine in MD has emissions inspections (albeit different than safety inspection) and once he hits $450 on repairs the state calls it good. So, is it true that in VA you simply must have a successful safety inspection, no matter the cost? Maybe you know the answer to that one. If this is the case if VA, they can effectively take your car away from you by flunking it on inspection. Thanks


  1. Hey Jean,

    Govt MAYBE may be considered a public utility by statists and minarchists. Problem is that its a mandatory one. And worse still, its never merely providing things for you, it’s also scheming to take things from you and do things to you. The US government is probably in the final stages of transition to a planned economy similar to Great Britain. With possible exceptions in the fields of entertainment and internet.

    We are facing the negation of capitalism and price discovery and a transition to longer leashed version of the Zwangswirtschaft (compulsory economy) type of Socialism.

    The Zwangswirtschaft Type of Socialism

    This type of socialism preserves some of the labels and the outward appearance of capitalism. It maintains, seemingly and nominally, private ownership of the means of production, prices, wages, interest rates and profits.

    In fact, however, nothing counts but the government’s unrestricted autocracy. The government tells the entrepreneurs and capitalists what to produce and in what quantity and quality, at what prices to buy and from whom, at what prices to sell and to whom. It decrees at what wages and where the workers must work.

    Market exchange is but a sham. All the prices, wages, and interest rates are determined by the authority. They are prices, wages, and interest rates in appearance only; in fact they are merely quantity relations in the government’s orders.

    The government, not the consumers, directs production. The government determines, directs production. The government determines each citizen’s income, it assigns to everybody the position in which he has to work. This is socialism in the outward guise of capitalism. It is the Zwangswirtschaft of Hitler’s German Reich and the planned economy of Great Britain.

    AmeriKans have swallowed the fundamental dogma of all brands of socialism and communism. That the market economy or capitalism is a system that hurts the vital interests of the immense majority of people for the sole benefit of a small minority of rugged individualists. That it condemns the masses to progressing impoverishment. It brings about misery, slavery, oppression, degradation and exploitation of the working men, while it enriches a class of idle and useless parasites.

    • No argument from me.
      there are very few things I think need “laws.” Like the old unwritten law: something in front of your house is left alone. You leave your bike on the porch, it’s still there in 6 months unless YOU moved it. Unwritten law, enforced by ostracism of the offenders.

      We dont’ need laws of frontage, curatage, and it’s privately owned public land so you must clean the sidewalk of snow, yadda, yadda, yadda.
      That’s when we’re on the slide back to animal law – in which case, let’s double down and beat them to the bottom, so that they can see our fangs as they fall into our hungry mouths..

      I don’t >>>HAVE<<< to be civilized. I am civil by choice…

  2. Here’s some (not) love for Virginias “safety inspection”. 2007 Vehicle, apparently there’s an issue with the passenger seat detection sensor for the airbag system. Apparently, to repair the sensor requires replacing the entire passenger seat- about a $3k proposition. Oh, and forget junkyard seats, as there are airbags built into the seats, so pulling a seat from a junker without blowing the airbags is an issue. And there’s no cap on safety repairs, so, pony up $3k for an 8 year old car, or you’re hosed. Screw virginia.

    • Hey Ross, I have a buddy at work dealing with a similar issue on a VW Bug. He has the ABS light on for a seat issue. He spent a lot of money converting the car to a grease burner too. It just sits now until he can figure a work around, or pony up the money to replace the seats.

    • Hi Ross,

      Indeed. I’ve been ranting along these lines for a good long while. Wait. It is going to get much worse. Most cars built within the last five years have at least four air bags. The new ones typically have at least six. The odds that something will go wrong with one of them increase with the number of them you’ve got.

      Now add the back-up cameras, the stability control (ABS), the soon-to-be-mandated “keep you from roasting your kid” (even if you haven’t got a kid) alarm.

      All required by law to be intact and in operating condition, else you fail “safety” inspection.

      The end goal, of course, is to get us out of cars entirely.

      That will be “safest” of all.

    • Odds are the sensor is something simple. You should be able to disassemble the seat and get at it. Even if you can’t you’ll be able to access the plug. The inspector won’t go through a bunch of effort to check operation. He’ll rely on the light on the dash.

      So, simply replace the sensor at the plug. If it’s combined in the plug you may need to cut some wires and splice. Another option is to fake the signal from the sensor that all is well. Might be as simple as opening or closing the circuit or using a resistor. Just requires study of how the system works in your car.

    • another thing… the airbag system in a junk yard car will likely long be drained of power.

      even if not, disconnect the battery and wait for the capacitors to drain.

      no power, no boom. simple as that. even with power you need to cross the wrong wires to get it to go off, but things happen, so drain the power first.

    • Problem with VA inspections is they are required to be done at a mechanic’s shop, and the price is capped at $16. From the get-go, the shop is losing money just in paying their mechanic and also not doing other high-dollar work on someone else. So the incentive is automatically on them to look for SOMETHING. Unless the car is factory perfect, they will try their hardest find something to get a few hundred out of you, especially if it’s something at their discretion, like headlight alignment, or “just a little too much” play in something.

      What really stinks is requiring it for driving. Should brakes be required to work? Of course. Should they be able to try extort $300+ because a tail light has a dime-size crack in it (true story) or you’re just out a car until you pony up? That’s a bit ridiculous.

      Honestly if they made the price more reasonable to what it costs in labor, it would reduce the incentive of the mechanic to look for ANYTHING just to make his money back. That would also allow “Sticker Stations” to operate, whose incentive would not be to draw in business but rather focus on what is actually safe and unsafe. I lived in TX where that was the case and it seemed to work a lot better; but it’ll never happen.

  3. This was an interesting thread.

    Scott Bradford wrote, “half the Maryland-plated cars I see these days have 1 or more lights out”

    Wow, in twenty-five or so years of driving in my state while it had no inspections at all I think I’ve seen maybe two dozen burnt out headlights in that time and maybe just as many burnt out tail-lights. There must be another reason for what you claim to see besides a lack of inspections.

    Thirty years ago we had state inspections. I remember having to use Great Stuff foam insulation in a can to fill the rusted out gap in the quarter panels of my first car to pass inspection. What a waste of time and money that was.

    I used to think I lived in a pretty tyrannical state until the internet came along and I got to see how much more under the thumb the rest of you are. The bigger shock for me was how passionate so many People are about adding pressure to that thumb, and even replacing it with a jack boot.

  4. The software has a limit on the number of replies so I can’t reply directly to the post.

    Scott wrote:
    “So the real question should be “Do annual safety inspections reduce the number of “fix it” tickets issued?” …

    Give us a couple of days and I’ll bet we could work up a pretty good design. Five gets you ten the data needed to answer the questions are already a matter of public record.”

    Actually, I think there is a very big data point that cannot easily be factored into your study: how many cops see a car with a light out and simply let them slide because they don’t want to waste time writing up a fixit ticket when they know that the equipment issue will be dealt with when their safety inspection comes due.

  5. Sioux Ghost Dance Government Massacre at Wounded Knee 1890, 1973.

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – Benjamin Franklin.

    If you are thankful for the safety provided by an Authoritarian Government, then you will soon enjoy the amount of liberty you have earned, which is to say none.

  6. One thing I absolutely don’t miss from Pennsylvania was the annual state inspection, or as I called it, mechanic’s welfare. It didn’t take me too long to realize that if I dressed like a bum and didn’t wash the car for a few weeks prior I could get out with only spending about $200 or so. Another trick is to put off something major until the inspection due date. If it was a big ticket item the mechanic would usually overlook minor stuff. Also, if you need tires, take it to the tire shop that does inspections and they’ll usually overlook the other stuff. Same thing if you need a new muffler, take it to the muffler shop that does inspections. Of course, if you need a new car, take it to your buddy who does work on the side and has his state inspection license.

    Now here in Colorado, there are areas (the rat colonies of Denver and Colorado Springs mostly) that have emissions testing. Many of the tuners out there have quick-disconnect exhaust systems that they can swap out, or run a tank of race fuel, to get their mod’ed systems to pass. Keep in mind, in many cases their engines run more efficiently, but because they are out of spec, they fail. One big reason is stepping up the boot pressure on a turbo, and even installing a performance chip can trigger a failure. Luckily I live in the mountains, we’re exempt from all that. But a cop can still ticket you if your vehicle isn’t in good working order, meaning all lights, etc have to be working. If your daytime running lights are out, even though they aren’t a requirement in CO, they can still ticket you… although they’d have to be pretty desperate to pull you over for that, given some of the street-legal “off road” vehicles I’ve seen over the years.

  7. We’re betting Marylanders are paying more than Virginians with that $450 cap.


    We in SC are trusted by the state to maintain our own car, and don’t have inspection.

  8. Yes, I believe you have to bring the car into compliance with the safety regs, whatever the cost. Although it’s rare that it ends up being very expensive. We’re talking about basics like a working horn, working lights, and working brakes, which hopefully somebody would fix whether the state required it or not.

    I’m usually pretty libertarian about stuff like this, but I’ve come to reluctantly appreciate Virginia’s inspection laws. Maryland has no such annual inspection requirement, and half the Maryland-plated cars I see these days have 1 or more lights out and who-knows what else wrong with them. I like that at least once a year every Virginia-plated car has to function properly.

    Stuff like seat-belt laws are idiotic, but having cars on the road with brakes out of spec (for example) poses a serious risk to others, and is therefore a valid area of gov’t regulation (in my humble opinion).

    • Ah, but what guarantee is there the car will be “safe” the other 364 days out of the year?

      I have a good friend who owns and runs a shop. He does Va. state safety inspections. He’s told me that he is required by law to pass a car that shows up today even if he knows, as a mechanic, that it would fail next week. So long as it meets (even barely) the standards on the day of inspection – good to go. He can advise the owner that repairs will be needed, but neither he nor anyone can else can force them to keep the car in good running order.

      And, there’s the rub:

      These “safety” inspections take away the incentive for people to keep up with their vehicles; to personally know they are in good shape – have tires with adequate tread, brakes ok, etc. They assume everything’s fine – until a year goes by and it’s time to get ready for the next inspection.

      These inspections are also like gun control in that they create hassles for people who are not the problem. Like a lot of people here, I am very fastidious about my machinery. I know my vehicles are “safe.” Because I am not an idiot and understand the value of driving on sound tires, with properly functioning brakes, etc. Yet I have to waste half a day once a year for each vehicle registered to go through the stupid inspection. Why? Because some other person is an idiot?

      That’s the most non-Libertarian basis for supporting an idea I can think of!

      • Oh, I hear you loud and clear. But the sad reality is that most people, inspections or not, won’t do their job and take care of their car. You and I will, but far too many won’t. I don’t care if they hurt themselves with poor car maintenance; they reap what they sow. I care that they’re just as likely to hurt me!

        Believe me I know that the annual inspection system isn’t a panacea — for the reasons you’ve listed, among others. But my [admittedly anecdotal] experience of seeing Maryland and Virginia-plated cars here in the DC metro area is that Virginia-plated cars TEND to have their lights in working condition (the clearest outside indication of safety condition), while Maryland-plated cars TEND to be more hit-and-miss. It is very rare that I see a VA car with 2/3rd’s (or more) of their brake lights out, but I see it on MD cars all the time.

        So yeah, there’s no guarantee that a car will be safe the other 364 days of the year…but it had to have been safe at some point in the last year, and will have to be safe again at some point in the next. That’s something. And given the poor average quality of our drivers, I’ll take it (though somehow improving average driver quality would be a far better solution).

        The balance is always hard to strike… Government does have a valid role in protecting us and our property from others (some obvious examples: laws against vandalism and trespass, laws against assault and murder, etc.). But at the same time, it must not harass innocents. I see the annual inspection as an inconvenience, but I get a benefit in return (being surrounded by cars in better working condition than many of them would have been otherwise). So I’m personally willing to pay the cost.

        Then again my car is in good working order, so my inspections usually take about 15-30 minutes, and since I have the MD comparison point I can see the benefit clearly. If I didn’t see any clear benefit, or if my cost was much higher, I’d probably change my view.

        Just my 2c 😉 As an aside, I really enjoy your site. Just discovered it recently.

        • But Scott,

          Isn’t “the sad reality is that most people, inspections or not, won’t do their job and take care of their car. You and I will, but far too many won’t” exactly the same argument trotted out in support of civilian disarmament (i.e., “gun control”)? That is, most people are idiots and not to be trusted with “dangerous” things?

          And: “most people”… really? If so, then how do you account for the fact that there is no evidence to show that states where annual safety inspections are mandatory are “safer” than states which do not have these mandatory inspections?

          I disagree with you that “most people” are too dumb/reckless to take care of their vehicles absent government “help” at gunpoint. For the same reason I disagree that most people are incapable of safely handling firearms – or driving at reasonable and prudent speeds as opposed to being forced to drive at arbitrarily set velocity limits in the name of “safety.”

          Ultimately, you’ve bought into the “safety trumps liberty” argument – the notion that because some people might behave irresponsibly, everyone ought to be treated as presumptively irresponsible.

          Instead, why not treat people as individuals – and hold each of us individually responsible for what we do – as opposed to binding us because of what others do?

          If I cause an accident because my car has bad brakes, I should be held criminally and civilly responsible. But if I have caused no one any harm – but “joe” has caused an accident because he drove his car on bald tires with bad brakes – please hold him responsible. Not me!

          I own seven vehicles. If I get each one “safety” inspected every year, that’s $105 down the toilet (plus my time). Why the heck should I be “ticketed” in this manner? Or you, for that matter?

          The whole thing’s just another way of fleecing the sheep. Remember what George Carlin said: They don’t give a fuck about you.

          It’s not about “safety.” It’s about money and power.

          • ““most people”… really? If so, then how do you account for the fact that there is no evidence to show that states where annual safety inspections are mandatory are “safer” than states which do not have these mandatory inspections? ”

            Gotta step in here Eric, professional driver, closed course, don’t attempt this at home.

            You’re mistakenly proposing annual safety inspections are the *sole means* the State has to “encourage” motorists to fix safety problems; this isn’t the case and I’ll bet if you give it a few seconds thought you might recal getting a fixit ticket at some point in your distant past (i.e. before you became a Car God 🙂

            We might conclude annual safety inspections had no value or effect on the safety of vehicles operated by the general population if we didn’t see a difference in the condition of those vehicles in States that performed them vs. those operated in States that didn’t, but that conclusion would be defensible only if the *sole means* of enforcing safety regulations by the State was the Annual Inspection.

            If we measure Annual Safety inspections, but don’t measure fixit tickets, we lie with statistics. This is a bad thing 🙂

            Forgive me, I used to do experiment design for a living. I’m sensitive to stuff like this.

            • Oh, sure!

              I have no issue with “fix it” tickets for things such as dead lights and so on. Because these address actual problems and specific individuals. I don’t get hassled if my car is in proper order (all lights working, etc.) But if not, I risk a ticket. Seems reasonable to me.

              What seems unreasonable to me is forcing everyone to take each vehicle in for an inspection on the provably false assumption that everyone or even most people won’t keep their vehicles properly maintained otherwise. It’s of a piece with “safety” checkpoints – and it’s critical we reject all such dragnet-style tactics as inherently dangerous – not to “our safety” but to our liberty.

          • What I believe we are seeing in law is how the government schools are run. The masses are programmed this way from childhood.

            It’s the same leveling of people to the lowest level. The same presuming everyone is an idiot. To most who didn’t have at least a somewhat functional bullshit detector when they were of children, this is how things are supposed to work.

          • So the real question should be “Do annual safety inspections reduce the number of “fix it” tickets issued?” We’d need to compensate for differences in the number of patrol hours (exposure hours) for vehicles between groups and we could probably think of other factors we’d like to control for. A related (and very important) question would be whether or not it cost the State more to run annual inspections than it did to issue tickets for equipment violations. It might be useful to try and assign a “cost” to the time spent by a person to participate in an inspection and somehow characterize the lost productivity resulting from unnecessary inspections.

            Give us a couple of days and I’ll bet we could work up a pretty good design. Five gets you ten the data needed to answer the questions are already a matter of public record.

          • @ Scott
            May 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm

            Please keep in mind that these costs are all built into the system.
            The cops MUST be out there ON PATROL to KEEP THE SHEEPLE SAFE.

            “Fixit” tickets are just gravy. Just another means of control. An EXCUSE to ensure praetorians are there IN CASE (Read: WHEN) we do something illegal. Not immoral or dangerous or injurious – illegal, with an emphasis on “profit sharing” punishments.

            I admit I am very, very lax on checking my vehicle. A casual glance now and then is adequate, for my purposes: Tires aren’t visibly bald, no odd wear patterns on the disks, I see the turn signals when I click them on, I see red lights and headlights at night (and no dark spots!), and when I try to brake, the car stops reasonably quickly – no screeching tires unless it’s a panic stop, but gentle application of brakes stops car when I tell it to.
            Check the fluids once in a while, keep an eye on the odometer for when to bring it in for more detailed checks than I can perform, no idiot lights or alarms on. Fuel MPG is consistent, given driving patters. Temperature stays about the same during operations. Engine doesn’t REV with no result, nor does car shudder, stall, jerk, etc.

            If I notice anything off, I get it fixed ASAP. Not willing to drive with bad tires, or chattering brakes, or squishy brakes, or even weak steering. Right now, the alignment is off – haven’t had the time to fix that, it’s only noticeable on the highways at high speed – and it’s not life-threatening (maybe a 1/8″ wheel twitch?) When it gets to 1/4″, the car goes in for servicing the next day. (about due either way – about 3 months since the last time. Roads in MA are shite. you could plant a tree in a few of the potholes… Or a new amazon basin in a few of them! And no sings of fixing them, either, the cheap Democrat SOBs…)

            And I’ve come here from NJ, which – in their ULTIMATE YEARLY SAFETY CHALLENGE – ONLY CHECK EMISSIONS. They’ve done away with inspections last I heard, about 3 years ago. IIRC, it went private since then, so they MIGHT actually check safety – but they’re doing less than _I_ am, and I’m doing almost NOTHING. No driving on their part; brakes are tested (if at all) on a 30 MPH stop, and it has to stop within X Feet. (It’s a Kia Soul. If it hits a toddler, the car will stop, and you ice the toddler’s head and give it a lollypop. Seriously…) Lights turn on? Signals flash? Brake lights flash? Done, next. Unless you are driving while BLIND, you should know that stuff works.

            Unlike the light for license plates, to make sure the Slave has proper permissions from Massa’ to be on the road…. (E.G., slave permission slips of the early 1800s; school permission slips, or hall passes now; “graduated licensing” schemes where you have a “SPECIAL” tag to affix to the plates of any car in the family of a teenage driver, JUST so porky knows who to harass FIRST…

            If you’ve never done wrestling or MMA, I’d suggest you try. Try in a scramble, and in a dominant position both – see which is easier.

            Now realize which one THEY want you in – and realize, it’s STILL not enough: THEY want to rub their boot-heel in your face, and have you kiss the boot as they shatter your teeth.

            Imagine trying to get someone’s boot out of your face when you have the means?
            Now – what happens when those means are made illegal, and resistors are tagged?
            Like, say – a license plate and a Social Security number… Permanently tattooed on your wrist, with a gold star on your clothes…

            It ALWAYS goes the SAME way. It’s a question of when, and how fast – never IF.

        • Government has completely failed in its valid role to (1) protect our lives and persons and (2) protect our property. Why do you advocate them being in charge of 100s other things, when they have utterly and completely failed in the first 2 ?

          There is nothing mysterious or special about government. They are just another public utility. You don’t evaluate performance with opinions and feelings, you look at the results and compare them to benchmarks.

          People drive bad automobiles because they’ve been looted into grinding poverty by swarms of pestilent officials and inspectors.

          • Tor,
            Excellent points, except they’re not a public utility. Or maybe, public utilities are merely monopolies of the state, anyway. Government could be the monopoly on violence (especially now, as it degrades to a “just us” system.)

            That last paragraph is key, though. I’ve run the math myself on how much I “throw away” each month. My big splurge has been Starbucks each day – to a total of less than $1500 per YEAR. Not particularly much, all told. 1500/52=$28 a week. More than I SHOULD spend, but not a massive splurge. (DD coffee has been shite for several years now, no idea why. It was a sudden change, and affected several I tried, like they got beans from a different region. Bitter and burned taste. )
            But I digress. Most people don’t hit SB every day. But they’ll grab breakfast somewhere. If they did home food of some sort, it would be significantly cheaper. But by how much? DD specials are what, $5 anyway? Do a ready-to-go cereal bowl, it’s what… $3.50, plus milk, plus coffee, anyway? Yes, we can argue semantics of it all, but the cost of food – even shite food like cereal! – is THROUGH THE EFFING ROOF. And going to get worse, with the fungal blights in CA, the drought in CA and the rest of the west, and the cost of feed going up, forcing reduction in beef herds, pigs dying of flu, seafood dying of unknown causes, like the sea stars just ROTTING in the oceans… (they have something like leprosy or ebola for starfish.) Shrimp and fish catch is down. Corn is more profitable in ethanol. Soybeans are feed, mostly, but also tofu – bad for humans, especially as made here (not fermented – which means toxins. Plants don’t WANT their babies eaten.)

            This is ALL happening for a reason. I CANNOT believe it’s all mere coincidence. And anyone who believes the CEO of Monsatan doesn’t talk tot he head of Schering Plough and the FDA and the Agribusiness lobby, is just a fool. JP Morgan and Andrew Carnegie, BITTER business rivals, STILL kept in contact – and it was FAR harder for them (and harder to trace at that time). Today, someone can talk to coworkers in India, China, London, AND the US – all at once, with no noticeable delay. From anywhere, essentially – even at 30,000 feet, or at sea.

            We haven’t even made note of the FDA/Big Pharma/Big Agribusiness revolving door jobs, either. Work at one, use it to jump to another, repeat for cash and prizes. Again, anyone who doesn’t think there’s collusion there is just STUPID. Not even Naive, not ignorant (unknowing) – just STOOPID.

            To think there’s any less collusion between, say, Ford and GM and State Farm….? Please! It’s money all around – for them, FROM us.
            Parasites care more: they die if the host does.
            These beasts are a multi-host parasite. Like leeches. Kill one host, move on, suck it dry, move on from that husk to another…. Like a vampire. The hosts die, the parasite lives on.

            Our Government is now an Empire, and like Rome, it will try to expand to keep the coffers full, and give the people (peasants) free bread and circuses to shut them up.
            It will end the same way, only I fear this time it will be purely economic – no barbarians inside the gates, no audible collapse, just total monetary control, leading to total physical, and then total mental, control.
            Surrogates + Matrix + 1984 + Equilibrium + Giver, all rolled into one big acid dream (so people don’t realize the world’s been sucked dry of color.)
            Because when people have the ability to choose, they choose different from how Clover wants…. They choose WRONG….

            Cannot be passive in the face of evil. They care not whether you die on your knees, or your feet, provided you die.
            Might as well make it count…

    • Illinois has no inspections. There aren’t people dying from equipment failure at any greater rate than anywhere else… and salt eats the cars where most people in the state live.

      In the 1990s I saw cars and light trucks in such horrid condition it would make your head spin. Yet, the worst I ever saw one was a one car collision with a light pole. And that car didn’t seem to have mechanical issues, just very very rusted body and probably structure. It still took hitting the pole quite well and there is no doubt the driver just got out and left it there. On the sidewalk.

      State inspections have been proven worthless by such comparisons over and over and over again.

      All these inspections do is make money for certain people while making some others feel good. Just like every other law that is beyond the simple basics of ‘do not steal’ etc.

      • When I moved to Chicago in 2007, I was delighted to learn that the city does not require any state or emissions inspections for motor vehicles.

        When I went looking for the reason, I found that the official explanation was that because of the sheer number of vehicles in the city, implementation of an inspection program would be unworkable.

        Really? Isn’t this the same Chicago that has ten thousand gun laws, and aggressively enforces every one of them regardless of the futility of such an exercise?

        I suspect that the real reason is that Chicago has a vast, vocal Hispanic underclass that knows well how to game the system, and they all drive crap cars that would surely fail any inspection.

        Cars without a single undented body panel or working light. Cars that smoke like a laboratory colobus. Cars bent into a banana shape by an altercation with a garbage truck.

        Any attempt to enforce such a program would quickly and loudly be denounced as racial profiling.

        Talk about the government doing the right thing for the wrong reason…

        • I’ve been here since I was born. I can say that is entirely false. There have never been ‘safety’ inspections in this state in my memory.

          emissions testing has been required by the state of IL since the 1980s in cook (including the city of chicago) and all nearby counties.

          I had to test 70s vehicles from the 80s until just a few years ago. They still tested ’82 and newer at that time.

          Now I believe the tests are only for OBD2 vehicles. (1996 and newer) New cars aren’t tested for at least two years, maybe longer.

          The test stations don’t seem to have the equipment any longer to test anything but OBD2 cars, simply reading from the data port.

          Simply put it was costing the state too much money to do IM240 and sniffer tests so they have been eliminated. Thankfully I got through all those tests without someone damaging one of my cars. When IM240 was going on they wouldn’t let me operate the ’73 for the sniffer test even though before IM240 that’s how it was done. The 3spd ’73 was always fun… they grab the one person who knew how to drive a manual transmission car who I then had to teach how to drive a column three speed.

          • This part – the part about allowing some ape at the inspection station- to mishandle my vehicle (and not be held liable for any damage he might cause) – used to make steam come out of my ears.

    • A man who denies an individuals right to their own property is not a libertarian, Scott.
      All libertarians, oppose the initiatory use of coercion. They support the rational principle of the individual human rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. This means that each individual has the right to keep what he earns for himself and his family, and this includes the right to use, trade, sell, give away, or dispose of his property as he sees fit. Safety inspections are a violation of the rights of property owners to be free from coercion, violence, or fraud and the right to be left alone by government.

      • Not that I believe in the efficacy of a state “safety” inspection (California doesn’t have ’em and there has not, in my 36 years as a CA resident, ever been a bloodbath on CA highways due to poorly maintain vehicles), but in theory isn’t not an infringement that you as a motor vehicle owner submit proof of your vehicle’s compliance with safety standards. Now, putting the nitwits at the DMV in charge is usually just ouright bureaucratic nicompoopery. I see no issue, however, with self-inspection and certification, and the issue ought to be resolvable with one’s own insurer, who in theory has interest in the safe operation of vehicles they insure. The private sector is more than capable of satisfying this need; we don’t need another gaggle of bureaucrats for this “service”.

        • I might be an extremist libertarian, but to me the idea of government safety and pointing a gun at people and demanding they pay until they comply is the cornerstone of an authoritarian culture.
          The problem with being appreciative of the governments raising the cost of privately owned vehicles, forcing natives onto reservations, keeping blacks in section 8 ghettos, stopping mexicans from migrating to work, is all the same problem.
          For now, it may seem a benefit to exclude the poorer classes from clogging up the roads, or for buffalo and tribal people to roam the plains.
          Once we accept the authoriarian concept of government power, we almost all end up running in shorter and shorter circles, as the leashes gets shorter and shorter for everyone.
          Its not the reckless drivers, natives, mexicans, blacks, or whatever that has keeps us in this miserable state of bondage, its our own weak-mindedness.

          • Well-said, Tor.

            Once the precedent is established, the principle is accepted. Put another way: You’ve just undone the only solid basis for arguing logically against further expansions along the same lines. People think the “slippery slope” argument is hysterical, over-reacting. But experience has shown it’s precisely that.

          • +1 Tor. 🙂
            Like Eric notes: Once you concede the field, the battle is lost, period. The WAR is lost.
            You’ve abandoned the principle.

            Old joke, a man and a woman talking at a bar.
            He asks, “Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?”
            She says, “SURE!”
            He says, “How about $20?”
            “What do you think I am, a whore?”
            “Madam, we have already established what you are; we are merely haggling over price.”

            So too with all principles.
            It is right – or wrong.
            It is sacred – or not.
            And once not-sacred, it can never be sacred again.

      • Okay… I’ve now twice had it implied that I said I was a libertarian. I am not. If you go back to my original comment, I said: “I’m usually pretty libertarian about stuff like this, but…”

        That’s hardly a claim to the libertarian mantle; just a statement that I usually tend that way on issues like this. On the spectrum of individual liberty, running from socialist-to-libertarian, I’m much, much closer to the libertarian side. But I’m not right there at the edge. Maybe 75 or 80% of the way there. I understand that most of the folks here are further down that spectrum than I am, and I respect that.

        So what I’m saying is: I know I’m not a libertarian. I’m fine with paying taxes and complying with reasonable regulations, both of which you have defined as violations of our rights, so long as the purpose of the taxation or regulation is just and the impact on individual liberty is as minimal as possible. I am fine having my rights balanced against the rights of others, to a point.

        Obviously that balance is way, way out-of-whack in our society on the socialist side. When we get on a plane, we’re presumed to be terrorists. When we buy cold medicine, we’re presumed to be meth cookers. These are certainly unreasonable regulations. That doesn’t mean every regulation is (especially at the state level, where the Constitution gives government much more authority than at the federal level).

        • Hopefully, you are rediscovering the values and virtues of America’s founding, and then proceeding from there using the reasoning framework it provides.

          Their is no balance between control and capitalism. Believing in a “mixed” economy, is as real as believing you are a “Pepper” because you drink Dr. Pepper and watch the commercials.

          A mixed economy is a mixture of freedom and controls—with no principles, rules, or theories to define either. Since the introduction of controls necessitates and leads to further controls, it is an unstable, explosive mixture which, ultimately, has to repeal the controls or collapse into dictatorship. A mixed economy has no principles to define its policies, its goals, its laws—no principles to limit the power of its government. The only principle of a mixed economy—which, necessarily, has to remain unnamed and unacknowledged—is that no one’s interests are safe, everyone’s interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it. Such a system—or, more precisely, anti-system—breaks up a country into an ever-growing number of enemy camps, into economic groups fighting one another for self preservation in an indeterminate mixture of defense and offense, as the nature of such a jungle demands. While, politically, a mixed economy preserves the semblance of an organized society with a semblance of law and order, economically it is the equivalent of the chaos that rules Russia: a chaos of robber gangs looting—and draining—the productive elements of the country.

          A mixed economy is rule by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies, all fighting to seize a momentary control of the legislative machinery, to extort some special privilege at one another’s expense by an act of government—i.e., by force. In the absence of individual rights, in the absence of any moral or legal principles, a mixed economy’s only hope to preserve its precarious semblance of order, to restrain the savage, desperately rapacious groups it itself has created, and to prevent the legalized plunder from running over into plain, unlegalized looting of all by all—is compromise; compromise on everything and in every realm—material, spiritual, intellectual—so that no group would step over the line by demanding too much and topple the whole rotted structure. If the game is to continue, nothing can be permitted to remain firm, solid, absolute, untouchable; everything (and everyone) has to be fluid, flexible, indeterminate, approximate. By what standard are anyone’s actions to be guided? By the expediency of any immediate moment.

          The only danger, to a mixed economy, is any not-to-be-compromised value, virtue, or idea. The only threat is any uncompromising person, group, or movement. The only enemy is integrity.

          • Wow! Brilliantly said Tor!

            This is an elaboration of ideas in Bastiat’s “legal plunder” and Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”–and well stated.

        • No big issue. Rather than the all-powerful, all-knowing, “benevolent” big brother dragooning hapless motorists through state-run inspection stations, manned by bureaucratic nitwits that probably don’t know a slotted brake disc from a tie rod end, it’d simply be a matter of an “industry standard” of self-inspection and being liable as a tort if one fails to keep up (and mayhem results). Also, I’d raise the “small claims” to at least 50K for personal property and an additional 50K for “pain and suffering” and/or bodily injury. That should streamline the process and keep the jackal attorneys out of fairly routine traffic incidents.

        • Scott,
          If I decide it’s reasonable to prevent rape by giving all males a radical penectomy – and I’m the only one with guns and enforcers – and I exempt the enforcers, of course (for now) – who would stop me? how?
          Besides, I’m only being reasonable!
          Think of the women and children we’ll save!

          And the boys, who’ve never had one growing up…? As the current enforcers age out of the system, and retire, and their little toy is removed? After all, they’re not part of the privileged few any more…

          Soon there’s no rape (BULLSHIT!) because all the males are incapable, right? All the women are safe, the males never grow up to be rapists, right? It was perfectly REASONABLE!
          Except marriage is gone.
          Men and women can’t interact much any more. Women are automatically dissatisfied, you see…. and then there’ll be “Rape by dildo,” since the evil rapist will just find a surrogate tool for the purpose.
          And lastly, note that that surrogate bit ALREADY happens, WITHOUT the rest of this absurd example.

          Like gun control: Taking guns from the law-abiding will stop criminals from getting guns. Perfectly reasonable, right?
          Fining those who control their vehicle but are above a “limit” really stops those who drive unsafely on stripped bearings, faulty brakes, with alzheimers, without their coke-bottle glasses.

          Like the war on (some) drugs: Cant’ patent MJ, so make drugs that alleviate the same symptoms MJ alleviates, but cause all sorts of side effects (which MJ does not cause): effects like bloating, liver toxicity, hypertension, blindness, pyschosis, etc.
          (And that’s not the worst example by far – Coca Cola had Cocaine in it, for f*cks sake. Presidents used drugs – so did the common man. “One for the road.” Etc.)

          Essentially, EVERY regulation beyond “Do no harm” is onerous, simply because it turns into a prohibition on what Clover doesn’t like. Bestiality, say – I’m not for it. I figure if someone wants to try it, that’s their business – and when a horse rides them and they die, we have a funeral, and “don’t speak ill of the dead.”
          This sort of problem – like drunken lawn mower racing at 3 AM on the freeway – tends to solve itself, and is limited to a fraction of cases.

          Adding the bullshit of Federal vs State vs Local? that’s just a pyramid hierarchy, where the MOST psychotic rule over (and steal from) the less
          psychotic, and pay the lower-level psychopaths to “know their place.”

    • “We’re talking about basics like a working horn, working lights, and working brakes, …”

      My Nissan Frontier has a rejection sticker on the windshield right now. The reasons for failing the inspection are:

      – The inspector couldn’t find the switch for the fog lights. The lights are wired to the factory fog light switch, but he assumed that the switch wouldn’t work since I no longer have the factory lights installed on the bumper.
      – The brake light on the dash does not come on when the key is first turned on. It lights up when the hand brake is set so I know it’s not a burned out bulb. So now I’m stuck tearing apart the dash in a possibly futile attempt to find a loose wire so that I can make a light come on for a few seconds when I first turn the key.

      • Hey Ken,

        This might be a solution: Farm Use tags.

        I have two Frontiers – and this is my way out of getting one of them inspected.

        That business with the dash light is retarded, bureaucratic BS (a triple oxymoron!) Nothing to do with the “safe function” of the vehicle. Just an excuse to hassle you.


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