Some East Texans struggle to afford car inspections in tough economy

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – In Texas, inspection stickers on your vehicle are not optional, however Washington D.C. has decided to call it quits on their periodic vehicle safety inspections to save money.

Although Texas requires the inspection, in this economy it's tough for some East Texans to afford it.

If you don't have an inspection sticker in Texas, it's illegal to drive on the roadways.

"We are checking like the tail lights, headlights, turn signals, your rearview mirror, your break lights," said President of Family Auto Darien Allred.

However, it's more than a routine requirement.  One state trooper says it's to keep drivers safe.

"A lot of times we'll work wrecks, especially on tires where people hydroplane and they can't stop properly, or their brakes are bad and they can't stop," said Senior Department of Public Safety Trooper Greg Sanches.

"For instance, if your break lights don't work and you come to a quick stop, the car behind you is probably going to hit you," said Allred.

Yet, in this economy, sometimes safety takes a backseat.

"I've seen many vehicles come in here that I've had to fail," said Allred.  "I will tell them they do not pass and it's because they cannot afford to do the maintenance or upkeep on their vehicle."

" A lot of people cannot afford to get a light fixed, their wipers, a tire, stuff like that that they need fixed in order to pass inspection," said The Muffler Shop inspector Monica Hernandez.

"Most of it in Angelina County has been tires worn down," explained Allred.  "They can't afford a new set of tires.  The economy has strapped everybody with cash right now."

Although Washington D.C. has decided to scrap their safety inspections, one Lufkin mechanic doubts Texas will give in, but if they ever did, inspectors said they'd lose business.

"Yes it does affect stations like me if we were to lose it," said Allred.

"It would definitely hurt the business because there's a lot of cars that need the inspection stickers," said Hernandez.  "Texas is a big state."

If you decide to put the brakes on your inspection, it could cost you.

"You're looking at the possibility of getting stopped and getting a citation for that," said Sanches.  "The citation is going to cost a whole lot more than what the inspection sticker is going to cost."

Sanches said if you do get stopped for not having your inspection sticker, you could be fined up to $150.

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