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Texas Car Inspection Laws

Texas Car Inspection LawsIn 1967, Congress passed a highway funding law that allowed the U.S. Department of Transportation to withhold money from states that did not require annual vehicle safety inspections. The goal was to reduce car accidents by ensuring that vehicles on U.S. roads were safe.

By 1975, 31 states, including Texas, had vehicle safety inspection programs in place. In 1976, Congress removed the DOT’s power to withhold funding. This rendered moot the law’s requirement for safety inspections. As a result, many states repealed their vehicle inspections, leaving only a handful of states, including Texas, with annual inspections.

We discuss the car inspection requirements Texas drivers must adhere to below. If you need assistance, contact FVF Law to speak with an experienced Austin car accident attorney. We offer a free initial consultation, Email or call us at (512) 982-9328.

How FVF Law Can Help After a Car Accident in Austin, TX

How FVF Law Can Help After a Car Accident in Austin, TXFVF Law was founded in 2014 to provide ethical and responsive legal representation to accident victims in Austin, Texas. Our Austin car accident lawyers have over 100 years of combined legal experience and have won millions of dollars in personal injury compensation for our clients.

When you hire FVF Law, we commit to the following legal services:

  • Educating you about the law and your legal right to compensation
  • Ensuring you’re able to make informed decisions throughout your case
  • Negotiating with insurers and at-fault parties to get you fair compensation
  • Litigating your case if the responsible parties refuse to settle on fair terms

A car accident can leave you with significant medical bills and disabling medical conditions. Contact FVF Law for a free consultation to discuss your right to compensation under Texas law.

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How Often Do Unsafe Vehicles Cause Car Accidents in Austin, TX?

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Austin had 12,433 traffic accidents in 2021. These crashes included single-vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents.

You can run a query on TxDOT’s Crash Records Information System (CRIS) to identify only those crashes that involved a collision. This search shows that in 2021, a total of 9,682 Austin car accidents involved two or more vehicles.

If you use CRIS to filter these crashes to only include those where the crash report blamed a vehicle defect, the result is 123 crashes. Based on this data, only 1.3% of vehicle collisions happened because of unsafe vehicles.

The most common vehicle defects identified in these crash reports included:

  • 36 cases of bad brakes
  • 11 cases of worn tires
  • 1 case of defective steering

The remaining vehicles had various defects that interfered with the safe operation of the vehicle and contributed to the accident.

Annual Vehicle Inspection Requirements in Texas

Texas requires all registered vehicles to undergo an annual safety inspection. The state also requires vehicle emission tests, also called smog tests, in 17 counties in and around these cities:

  • Austin
  • Dallas
  • El Paso
  • Fort Worth
  • Houston

Currently, car owners in Bexar County, home to San Antonio, do not need to get an emissions test.

When Texas residents get their annual vehicle safety inspections, state car inspection laws require the mechanic to check:

  • Horn
  • Tires
  • Mirrors
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Gas cap
  • Seat belts
  • Window tint
  • Wheel assembly
  • Windshield wipers
  • Tail lamps
  • Stop lamps
  • Head lamps
  • Turn signal lamps
  • License plate lamp
  • Beam indicator
  • Rear red reflectors
  • Exhaust system
  • Exhaust emission system
  • Motor, serial, or vehicle identification number (VIN)

Some of these parts only require a visual inspection. For example, the mechanic can simply look at the license plate lamp to see if it illuminates. Other parts might require testing. A mechanic might use a light transmission tester to measure the darkness of your car’s tint.

Finally, some parts require the mechanic to turn the vehicle on. A road test can help a mechanic inspect the brakes and steering.

The state licenses mechanics to perform vehicle safety inspections. Vehicle owners can find an approved vehicle inspection station using the search engine on the Texas Department of Public Safety website.

If your vehicle fails a safety inspection, you can get a free retest at the same inspection station within 15 days of the original test. If your vehicle cannot pass the inspection after repairs, the state will refuse to register it.

Risk of Driving an Unsafe Vehicle

Driver errors, not vehicle defects, are the leading cause of car accidents. But vehicle defects still contribute to the total number of car accident injuries and fatalities each year. If you drive an unsafe vehicle, you increase your risk of getting injured or killed in a crash.

Just as importantly, you run the risk of injuring or killing someone else. Even a seemingly minor problem like worn tires can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and crash into someone else. When this happens, you could bear liability for any injuries or fatalities you cause.

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A car accident can injure or kill victims, regardless of its cause. Contact FVF Law for a free consultation to discuss your car accident injuries and learn about your right to compensation.

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