The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 3, 2012

Wozniak: End mandates on newer vehicles

— Two bills that would save motorists money by eliminating mandated vehicle inspections on newer vehicles are moving forward in the state Senate.

State Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, has been asking the state and federal governments to reconsider both emission and safety inspections for newer vehicles.

“Once government lays down the law, it’s a long, hard process to get it changed, even after it has outlived its purpose,” Wozniak said about what he considers are obsolete mandates for newer vehicles.

“So the movement this week is great news and part of a long process that will end up saving Pennsylvania drivers millions of dollars.”

The efforts merged this week when Wozniak successfully amended a bill targeting vehicle emissions with language that would waive the safety inspection for a new car’s first two years.

The amended bill would eliminate the emission inspection for a car’s first 10 years.

“Pennsylvania is one of only 12 states that still have safety inspections at all,” Wozniak said. “And Pennsylvania drivers pay close to $50 million per year for it, before you count any repairs. For new cars, the safety inspection is pretty much wasted money.”

The veteran lawmaker said that motorists are paying dearly for the latest fuel efficiency and pollution-cutting technology.

“They shouldn’t be forced to pay again for a test that tells them what they already know. The only reason new cars have to be tested for emissions is bureaucracy.”

Local inspection stations have mixed reactions to Wozniak’s efforts.

Mike Zahoran, owner and operator of West End Gulf, 384 Strayer St., Johnstown, said cars these days run clean and therefore don’t need emission inspections.

As far as safety inspections, vehicles a year or two old with the normal amount of mileage don’t need to be inspected, he said. Vehicles being driven an excessive amount of miles, however, should be examined, he said.

Lee Bassett, owner of Bassett Auto Repair in the Beaverdale area, said Wozniak’s bills are a ploy to get re-elected next month by telling people something they want to hear.

As far as emission control, Bassett agrees with Wozniak in that it would be a good idea to eliminate the mandate because emission-control equipment on vehicles will last 10 years.

As far as safety inspections, Bassett disagrees with Wozniak because of having inspected new vehicles that had problems with the brake or suspension systems.

George Beal, owner and operator of George Beal & Son Auto Repair, Friedens, agrees with the idea of eliminating emission testing. Remedying the problem articulated by the check engine light is enough to keep the emission system working properly, he said.

Beal also doesn’t agree with eliminating the safety inspections. He said he also has seen new vehicles with mechanical problems.

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