AUSTIN, Texas - With 22 million registered cars in the state of Texas, annual inspections are used to determine if a car is safe to drive. House Bill 3297 was sent to the governor’s desk, aiming to eliminate this annual requirement.
While some groups like Tesla have supported the legislation, multiple police associations have been vocal opponents of the bill including the Sheriff’s Association of Texas, the Dallas Police Association and the Houston Police Officer’s Union.
Small business owners who perform these inspections say they are worried. Dalette and Robert Schmidt own a mechanic shop in Carthage, Texas. The couple drove five and half hours Wednesday to speak out about HB 3297, Dalette thinking of her grandson being put in danger because a vehicle was not properly vetted to be on the road.
"Today we come to try to see the government because they're taking away the safety inspections in all the small cities in the state," Robert said. "But they're going to keep the money. This we're just not going to do the inspections. And this is not right. I mean, it's still going to cost the same amount, but people will be still driving cars with broken lenses, panels knocked out in the front, headlights knocked out."
The couple also says it will be a detriment to small businesses like theirs, that will have to lay off workers without the inspection requirement.
Schmidt points out that Texans will continue to pay the same amount to the state. Drivers will continue to pay the annual $7.50 each year.
Texas is one of 13 states that asks for annual car inspections. While this could change in 2025, 17 counties will still require emissions inspections. This includes Travis and Williamson counties.