The Louisiana House narrowly backed Wednesday legislation that would allow some vehicles to get a brake tag every five years, rather than every one year or two years.
The stickers, which cost $10 a year and show that the vehicle has been inspected and found safe to drive, are required to register automobiles, pickup trucks and other vehicles in this state.
“There’s not much inspecting going on,” Rep. Richie Burford said, adding that testimony showed many of the gas stations and garages that perform the inspections, simply collect the money, walk around the car, sign the book and send the owner home with a sticker.
Thirty-two states don’t inspect vehicles at all, and many of those states have fewer wrecks involving problems with the cars or trucks. “It doesn’t show that we are any safer in Louisiana by having inspections on a yearly or biannual basis,” Burford said.
Law enforcement still could pull over and ticket drivers whose vehicles have a nonworking light or some other mechanical deficiency.
Currently, the Legislative Fiscal Office found that about 2.1 million cars have one-year and two-year inspection stickers and estimated that about 512,500 would seek a five-year certification. The five-year sticker would cost $50.
The five-year inspection would apply only to vehicles that are seven-years-old or newer, according to House Bill 564. A lot of the newer vehicles have computer programs that alert drivers of all sorts of problems from a burned out tail light to underinflated tires, Burford said.
Vehicles in areas with air pollution problems, such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, would not be eligible for the longer inspection sticker. Inspections in those areas require a check on vehicle emissions.
Opponents say the five-year brake tag would impact small businessmen who handle the inspections for the state.
The House voted 58-33; just five votes more than are necessary for passage. HB564 now goes to the state Senate for consideration.