COLUMBIA – Vehicles will not require safety inspections for the first five years after their manufacture date under a new state law, effective Jan. 1, 2010.
This means a 2009 car would not require an inspection at the time of license plate renewal through 2014. After five years an inspection will be required every time the plates are renewed.
• Currently, new vehicles are only exempt for the model year and the following year.
• Vehicles over two years old registered before the end of the year will still require an inspection.
• If a vehicle is sold, the exemption is still applicable.
• The new law does not affect the required emissions inspections in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
• The Missouri Department of Revenue estimates that about 650,000 vehicles will not require inspections in 2010 under the new law.
Ted Farnen, director of communications for the Missouri Department of Revenue, said he thought most people would react positively to the change. “The end result is that for many people when they get their licenses renewed there will be one less document,” Farnen said.
He said drivers should monitor their vehicles and address any problems immediately. “It’s always a good idea to know the condition of your car regardless of whether you’re required to get an inspection,” Farnen said. He also said that since the legislation only affects newer cars, major problems are not as much of an issue.
Jim Williams, manager of Custom Complete Automotive on Worley Street feels that a five-year inspection exemption could cause drivers to miss potentially hazardous problems.
“It’s not that common to fail a newer vehicle for major things, but minor things like brake lights can go out at any time,” he said.
"I thought the two-year limit was pushing things. If a car has 15,000 miles a year, a lot can go wrong," Williams said. "Depending on the amount of driving, a lot can go wrong in three to five years."
At the Columbia License Bureau on Tuesday, one driver said he thought the new law would be an improvement.
"It would be a convenience," said Aric Jarvis while he was registering a 2008 vehicle. Under the new law, Jarvis would not need an inspection when he renews his license the next time.
Jarvis said that getting an inspection could be a hassle and that the new law would save him time and money. Average inspections costs are about $12.
Guidelines for the new vehicle inspection code can be found at the Missouri Department of Revenue Web site.