Safety emission laws, along with auto insurance and license requirements, vary from state to state. In Florida, drivers don’t need to get yearly emissions tests, as many other drivers do in other states. Emissions tests are meant to monitor the environmental impact and overall safety of the vehicle. So, does Florida’s lack of safety emissions laws make a difference in the number of car accidents that occur statewide? Let’s compare statewide figures and determine whether emissions and safety inspection laws impact vehicle accidents.
Has Florida Ever Had Mandatory Emissions Inspections?
Florida hasn’t had emissions tests or state inspections since 1981 when Governor Bob Graham did away with them, citing high costs of tests and long wait times. While Floridians haven’t had to get their cars checked for their environmental footprint based on State law, Florida’s individual municipalities and counties may still require emissions testing at the local level. In the 1990s, Governor Jeb Bush eventually repealed emissions testing statewide, claiming Florida had met federal air standards, and the cost of doing so exceeded $50 million.
Currently, 22 states require some vehicle emissions and safety inspections, including New York, Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts, and Nevada.
Does Florida Require Any Vehicle Inspections?
Florida drivers do not need to get their vehicles inspected for emissions tests or safety inspections. There are only two situations when Florida mandates a car inspection:
- When a driver buys a new car from another state;
- When a driver buys a used car within the state.
Inspections are not necessary when Florida drivers renew their car’s registration or buy a new car locally. The inspection is intended to verify that the vehicle has not been stolen and reduces instances of vehicle fraud. The inspector will examine your vehicle’s identification number (VIN) and check to make sure it matches your lien or title.
Drivers can have the inspection done by any mechanic who meets the qualifications, along with local police departments. The price can range from free to $100 per inspection, depending on where you go. With a little research, drivers can quickly discern which inspections are on the high end of the pay scale before making an appointment.
What Do Other State Vehicle Inspections Include?
Unlike Florida, many other states require vehicles to pass carbon emissions tests and safety inspections. Many states, like California, refer to carbon emissions checks as “smog checks.” Each state has different rules, but many require a driver who doesn’t pass to retake it until their vehicle gets the green light. Some states require these tests reasonably often, or on an annual or semi-annual basis.
Along with emissions tests, some states require that cars pass safety inspections to help keep roads safe. A standard state safety inspection will check the following parts of a vehicle:
- Windshield Wipers.
Many states may require drives to pay fines when their vehicle doesn’t pass inspection. As with emissions tests, safety inspections must be taken until the car passes.
How Do Florida Vehicular Accidents Compare to the Other Testing States?
To determine whether Florida’s lack of emissions laws impacts vehicle accidents, we analyzed the number of vehicle crash death rates per 100,000 population, comparing Florida with states that do require emission inspections. The data, gathered from The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), shows the following statistics for 2018:
- Florida: 14.7 fatalities;
- Nevada: 10.9 fatalities;
- California: 9.0 fatalities;
- Massachusetts: 5.2 fatalities;
- New York: 4.8 fatalities.
According to these numbers, it would appear that Florida does have a higher number of fatal car accidents compared to some states that require emissions testing. According to IIHS:
“There were 33,654 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2018 in which 36,560 deaths occurred. This resulted in 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people, and 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.”
This leaves Florida well above the national median for crash fatalities. A separate study done by the auto insurance website, The Zebra, reached a similar conclusion after evaluating the crash fatality numbers in states with safety and emission inspections with states that don’t have these inspections. Their findings for 2014 demonstrated mixed results, showing that there is not a strong and clear correlation between requiring checks and fewer fatalities.
Will Florida Change Its Laws on Safety Emissions?
In the past, Florida had a program that required safety and emissions inspections. That was short-lived, however, and Florida did away with that program after facing strong political opposition. While the most recent numbers demonstrate that emissions and safety inspections may have a positive impact on fatal car accidents, there’s no push at this time to bring back safety and emissions inspections in Florida.
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