AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Travis County Constable Stacy Suits on Monday urged Gov. Greg Abbott to veto a bill that would end the annual vehicle inspection requirement in Texas, citing concerns over road safety and air quality.
“This is a dangerous bill that does not ensure safety for all Texans,” Precinct 3 Constable Suits said in a formal letter to the governor. “Law enforcement needs every available tool to help detect and combat fraudulent activity to ensure the safety of ALL Texans, and a valid motor vehicle safety inspection is one of those tools.”
Suits joined other law enforcement officials who testified against the bill during the legislative session.
Opponents outnumbered supporters 16 to 5 when House Bill 3297 was up for public testimony in the Texas Senate last month. Travis County Constable’s Office Sgt. Joe Escribano joined Suits to testify against it.
“The first line of defense for the safety of our fellow Texans is going to be, actually, a safety inspection,” Sgt. Escribano said. “The reason why is because the safety inspection checks your steering, your brakes, your horn, your mirrors, your stop lamps, signal lamps, seatbelts… your headlights, bald tires, exhaust.”
Local law enforcement groups including the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas and the Houston and Dallas police associations also registered against the bill.
The bill ultimately passed the Texas Senate 20-11 and the Texas House 109-32 — both bipartisan votes — with the majority of the dissenters being Democrats in both chambers.
Abbott has not given any public indication of whether he will sign this bill into law. If he does, most of the major changes will go into effect in 2025.
The bill would end mandatory annual vehicle inspections for most private vehicles and replace them with an annual $7.50 fee — the same as the current inspection fee, but without the need to actually take your vehicle into the shop. Drivers in new vehicles that have not previously been registered will pay $16.75 upon registration. That money will benefit the Texas mobility fund, the clean air fund and the state’s general revenue.
“Vehicle inspections are costly, time consuming, and provide little benefit to public safety,” State Sen. Mayes Middleton, R-Galveston, said. “[This bill] saves hardworking Texans tens of millions of hours of their time, not taken away any more from their family or work.”
Abbott has until Sunday, June 18 to sign or veto all legislation passed in the previous session.