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This bill could return annual car inspections in Georgia

Georgia currently requires only emission tests in urban counties

LITHONIA, Ga. — The state of Georgia could require a yearly mechanical inspection of your car under a bill introduced in the legislature this week. It could also increase the cost of annual emission inspections.  

Odds are your car gets an emission inspection yearly now. This could add a potentially costly safety inspection. 

At Amigo Auto Repair on Covington Highway, owner Miguel Hurtado said he is all for regular safety inspections.  

"It’s always good to have a safety inspection, just to make sure everything is fine," Hurtado said Friday.

However, he’s not sure the government should require them annually. Decades ago, Georgia required automobiles to get a yearly safety inspection in order to get a license. Now the state only requires emissions inspections on most cars in metro Atlanta.

"We abolished the vehicle inspections years ago in rural Georgia because they weren’t needed. And it was an encumbrance on people to go have a vehicle inspected," said State Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), a lawmaker since 1989.

Powell dropped a bill to require annual safety inspections for cars – but even he said he’s not sure yet if he actually likes the idea. 

"I don’t know what I’m in favor of until we start studying the issue," Powell said.

The bill, Powell said, would give lawmakers the rest of this year to ponder whether cars need more robust inspections – especially as cars become more computerized, with more autonomous features and smarter safety gadgetry.  

But at what cost? Hurtado said that question will probably matter most to his customers. 

"If it's something that’s going to be very pricey with them, they probably won't be very happy about it," Hurtado said.

Powell’s bill would also eliminate the $25 cap on the cost of emission inspections, leaving pricing to the free market. Again, he said it's something he wants lawmakers to study over the summer.

The General Assembly adjourns for the year Wednesday night but bills dropped this year (that aren't voted down) are eligible for consideration in 2024. 

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