Auto-safety advocates worry that a decision by the District of Columbia to scrap periodic motor vehicle safety inspections may be part of a trend, reports USA Today. The safety checks were junked for an annual savings of about $400,000. In justifying the cut, the D.C. Council cited a lack of data proving periodic safety inspections save lives.
Just 19 states still require inspections, and safety advocates worry that others will decide to rethink the cost. They acknowledge that the way crashes are reported makes good data hard to come by, but argue that the current economy makes it even more important to check that drivers are maintaining their vehicles because some are putting off repairs. Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Automotive Safety advocacy group, said 12% to 33% of all crashes can be tied to poorly maintained cars. He says he prefers inspection programs in which the state does the checks over those using service stations, but says either system helps keep unsafe cars off the road.