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Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeCommentaryOpen Forum: It's Time for the BMV to Stop Inspecting Vehicles

Open Forum: It’s Time for the BMV to Stop Inspecting Vehicles

I don’t know of any states that do not use certified private mechanics to conduct vehicle inspections, either annually or every other year. Here in the Virgin Islands, the government tries to do it all — handle both registration and inspection.

They do a lousy job. Look at the vehicles on the road today. I’ve been through the inspection lane many times. Occasionally they will check the horn and lights.  Not brakes or other items that are on a typical list. Typically, a state will check:

– Brakes and exhaust must be in good shape
– Front windows and all external lights must work
– There must be no dash light (like a check engine light)
– The tires must have good tread and the suspension elements must be functioning     properly
– Anything that could be a safety hazard, such as an oil leak that drips on a hot part or badly rusted fuel or brake lines, will also fail.

This requires a car be put up on a lift. The average cost for an inspection from a state certified garage is around $80. The garage has a form that is checked off and a state inspection sticker is put on the car indicating the month of inspection. Like our stickers, the color represents the year.

This is separate from the state registration, which is normally done online. But instead of a window sticker, you get a little sticker that you put on your rear license plate showing the car has been registered and the expiration date. This way you can register your car for two years for an extra charge. But you still have to get the annual inspection.

To me, this is a win-win situation. Mechanics on the island will have an extra source of income. The cars on the roads will on average be safer. It is more convenient for the public, and BMV is relieved of having to have that inspection lane nonsense.

— James Tunick, St. Thomas  

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