To the Editor:
I read with interest your recent editorial about required vehicle inspections. It seems like a good idea, right? The author concludes the law “should land on the side of safety first.” There is, however, one glaring fault in the assumption that vehicle safety inspections lead to greater highway safety: it is wrong!
Many studies have tackled this issue (Southern Economic Journal Vol. 65, No. 3 (Jan. 1999), Public Choice 113: 367–387, 2002, to name only two). They all conclude there is no evidence that inspections significantly reduce fatality or injury or accident rates. Vehicle safety inspections do not represent an efficient use of government funds and do not appear to have any significantly mitigating effect on the role of car failure in traffic accidents. Furthermore, studies have shown that requiring an inspection doesn’t lead to lower insurance rates.
It may seem a bit counterintuitive but the study results are clear. In fact, the author points out that we are among only 17 remaining states with vehicle safety inspections. The rest of the country has repealed these ineffectual laws. It’s time for Maine to end this program. It is a waste of money for the state and its people.