LESLIE CRISS: Time to remove inspection sticker law in our state

By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal

“Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.”
– E. B. White

“The car has become an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete.”
– Marshall Mcluhan

I noticed this morning my inspection sticker has expired. If I’m stopped by any law enforcement folks and they notice it, I will be ticketed.
Apparently, it’s the law. Not federal, but state. Not every state.
Last August, New Jersey became the 30th state that does not require a safety inspection for vehicles.
Mississippi, as of now, still makes us pull into an inspection station once a year, pay $5 and drive away with a small, adhesive square affixed to the inside bottom left corner of our front windshields.
I did read with great interest, however, that our legislature is batting around the possibility of taking out of our state’s code the part that has required us to get our cars and trucks inspected since 1972.
For that, I would vote a resounding YES.
I would also say – while you’re at it, folks, why not take a look at the way-too-high cost of car tags in this state. Over in Alabama, my sister and brother-in-law paid less for two tags than I paid for one.
It’s not that I mind paying $5 for an inspection sticker if I’m getting my money’s worth, but I’m not sure just what that means.
I remember the first year I had my driver’s license. My dad had bought as a second vehicle for me to use an ugly four-door Datsun station wagon. It was not pink, but it could pass as pink – a washed-out, bleached-radishy hue.
It might have not been much to look at, but it was fun to drive.
And I remember well the afternoon I proudly pulled it up into a bay at an automotive repair shop in my hometown to get an inspection sticker.
My dad had told me what to expect: “They’ll make you honk the horn, turn on your wipers, tap your brakes, turn on your blinker, and that’s about it. They’ll ask for your license and your money, then they’ll scrape off the old sticker before peeling and sticking the new one on.”
So imagine my surprise when it did not go the way Dad said.
I pulled in and waited on someone to acknowledge my presence. When finally that happened, I told the guy I needed an inspection sticker.
He grabbed a scraper, removed the old sticker, took a clipboard and wrote down my tag number.
He pulled a small square from the clipboard, peeled the back and stuck it where the old sticker had been. Almost. It was actually very crooked.
“That’ll be $5,” he said.
I was stunned, but handed him the money anyway.
When I told my dad about my experience, he just shook his head.
Through the years, I’ve had similar experiences in other places. Never, however, in Tupelo.
In doing research about safety inspections, I learned that in Mississippi the inspections should include the testing of lights, windshield wipers, brakes, and struts and shocks.
Even in the best of inspections, not one person in my 40-plus years of paying $5 has tested my brakes, my struts or my shocks.
So, basically, I’ve been paying $5 a year for someone to tell me my lights, wipers and turn signals are working properly.
I can tell you right now, if my windshield wipers aren’t working, I’ll be the first to go buy a new pair.
No more inspection stickers, please.
I can save my $5 a year to help pay for my car tag.

Contact Leslie Criss at leslie.criss@journalinc.com or (662) 678-1584.