Car inspection laws in Texas are enforced to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. A vehicle being out of inspection in an accident can have significant consequences if the vehicle is involved in an accident. For example, if it is determined that a vehicle’s failure to meet safety standards directly contributed to the accident, the driver of that vehicle could be found negligent and held responsible for any damages, injuries, or fatalities that resulted.
Understanding Vehicle Inspection and Texas DPS
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for overseeing vehicle inspections in the state. The goal is to ensure that all vehicles on Texas roads meet minimum safety standards. This includes checking essential components such as brakes, tires, lights, and more.
Implications of Driving Without Current Inspection or Registration in an Accident
Impact on Insurance Claims
Driving without a current inspection or registration can also have a detrimental effect on your insurance claim. Insurance companies may argue that your vehicle was not roadworthy due to the expired inspection, which could lead to a denial of your claim or a reduction in the amount of compensation you receive. Moreover, if your vehicle was not properly registered, your insurance company may refuse to cover the accident altogether.
Fines and Penalties
If you are involved in an accident and it is discovered that your vehicle does not have a current inspection or registration, you may face fines and penalties for these violations. In Texas, driving without a valid inspection can result in fines of up to $200, while driving without a valid registration can lead to fines of up to $350. These fines may be imposed in addition to any other penalties or consequences stemming from the accident.
Potential for Criminal Charges
In some cases, driving without current inspection or registration may result in criminal charges. If you are found to have knowingly operated an unsafe vehicle, you could be charged with reckless driving or even vehicular manslaughter in the event of a fatal accident. These charges carry severe penalties, including significant fines and possible imprisonment.
The Importance of Annual Car Inspections in Texas
Most vehicles in Texas are required to undergo an annual inspection. This process ensures that your vehicle is safe to operate and complies with state regulations. Annual inspections can also help you identify and address potential issues before they become major problems, saving you time and money in the long run.
Safety Inspection Requirements in Texas
Car inspection laws in Texas require a certified inspector to check various components of your vehicle during an annual safety inspection, such as:
- Lights and signals
- Exhaust system
- Windshield wipers
What Fails a Car Inspection in Texas?
One of the most prevalent causes for failing an inspection in Texas is related to malfunctioning or missing lights and signals. This includes issues with headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and license plate lights.
Ensuring that all lights and signals are functioning properly is crucial for vehicle safety, as they help drivers communicate their intentions on the road and increase visibility during nighttime and low-light conditions.
To improve your chances of passing car inspection laws in Texas, it’s recommended to perform a self-check of all lights and signals before taking your vehicle to the inspection station. Replace any burnt-out bulbs and make any necessary repairs to increase the likelihood of passing the inspection on the first attempt.
Other common issues that may cause your vehicle to fail a Texas safety inspection include:
- Worn-out brake components
- Leaking exhaust system
- Bald or damaged tires
- Cracked windshield
- Steering issues
You can read more about Texas car inspection requirements on the Texas DPS website.
How Much Do Car Inspections Cost in Texas?
Texas car inspection costs vary depending on the type of inspection and the county in which your vehicle is registered. Generally, the cost ranges from $7 to $40. It is important to note that if your vehicle fails the inspection, you will need to address the issue(s) and have it re-inspected.
Car inspection laws in Texas require all vehicles registered in the state to receive an annual inspection, which includes a comprehensive safety inspection. Some vehicles must have an emissions test in addition to the safety inspection. The registration county and the required inspection type determine the inspection cost.
Inspection Costs Across Texas
Two-Year Safety (new vehicles)
Safety Emissions (El Paso, Travis & Williamson Counties)
Safety Emissions (DFW/Houston)
Emissions-only vehicles (El Paso, Travis & Williamson counties)
Emissions-only vehicles (DFW/Houston)
What is Texas’ Two Steps, One Sticker program?
The “Two Steps, One Sticker” program combines vehicle registration and inspection processes, making it easier for vehicle owners to stay compliant with state laws.
Under this program, vehicle owners are required to complete a state inspection within 90 days before the registration expiration date. Once the vehicle passes the inspection, the vehicle owner will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) as proof of inspection. The VIR is required when renewing the vehicle registration, either online, by mail, or in person at the local county tax office per car inspection laws in Texas.
The inspection sticker is no longer provided separately; instead, the registration sticker serves as proof of both registration and inspection. This means that a vehicle’s registration sticker will not be issued unless it has passed the required state inspection.
By streamlining the processes, the “Two Steps, One Sticker” program simplifies compliance for vehicle owners and helps ensure that vehicles on Texas roads meet safety and emissions standards.
Where Can I Get My Car Inspected in Texas?
In Texas, you can get your car inspected at state-licensed vehicle inspection stations. These stations are authorized by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to perform safety and emissions inspections. The inspection stations may include independent garages, automotive service centers, or specialized inspection facilities.
To find a nearby inspection station, you can use the Texas DPS Vehicle Inspection Station Locator. This online tool allows you to search for inspection stations by county, city, or ZIP code, making it easy to find a convenient location for your car inspection.
Before visiting an inspection station, make sure to bring your vehicle’s proof of insurance and any necessary payment for the inspection fees. It is also advisable to check the station’s working hours and if appointments are necessary.
FAQ: Car Inspection Laws in Texas
Car inspection laws in Texas are enforced to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians by verifying that all vehicles on the road meet minimum safety standards.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for overseeing vehicle inspections in the state.
Most vehicles in Texas are required to undergo an annual inspection to ensure their compliance with state regulations and safety standards.
A certified inspector will check various components of your vehicle during a safety inspection, such as brakes, lights and signals, exhaust system, tires, steering, and windshield wipers.
Common reasons for failing a Texas car inspection include malfunctioning or missing lights and signals, worn-out brake components, leaking exhaust system, bald or damaged tires, cracked windshield, and steering issues.
The cost of a car inspection in Texas varies depending on the type of inspection and the county in which your vehicle is registered, typically ranging from $7 to $40.
If your vehicle fails the inspection, you will need to address the issue(s) and have it re-inspected.
The experienced attorneys at Varghese Summersett understand the intricacies of Texas car inspection laws and can provide valuable guidance to ensure your compliance. You can contact them at (817) 207-4878 or reach out online.
How Varghese Summersett Can Help
If you find yourself facing legal issues related to car inspections, our experienced attorneys at Varghese Summersett are here to help. We understand the intricacies of Texas car inspection laws and can provide valuable guidance to ensure your compliance.