Big Changes in Auto Inspections Coming to Shelby County

Big Changes in Auto Inspections Coming to Shelby County

Next week, Mayor Mark Luttrell will announce a recommendation for how County should do auto inspections starting next June. All county residents will probably have to get emissions tests.
MILLINGTON, TN ( - Millington is just a chip shot from Memphis. Yet according to the old air standards regulations, there was no smog in Millington, only in Memphis. So for decades, Memphis drivers have been the only ones who must get their vehicles inspected for auto emissions. Memphis will go out of the inspections business next June.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell got the auto inspections issue dumped in his lap. He formed a special committee to look at the whole thing, and they came up with three options. "We can have the county assume that responsibility," he says, "or we can turn it over to the state, or we could do some contracting to get it done."

In every other area in Tennessee where inspections are done, they are county-wide tests, not just tests in cities like Nashville or Chattanooga. Mayor Luttrell says you folks who live outside of Memphis might need to start checking that Detroit Chariot in your driveway. Because the Environmental Protection Agency says Shelby County has dirty air, not just the city of Memphis. "I think you need to expect there's going to be some decision that some way or another is going to have a county wide impact," Luttrell says, "because our county is bound to non-compliance, not just one particular area."

Ok, it's time to get back to Millington. Nice place. Quiet. So quiet, in fact, you can hear resident Larry Witt stewing in his own juices over the thought of being forced to get an emissions test for his car. "That's one of the main reasons I got out of Memphis," Witt says, "to keep from going through that crap."

David Gibson was just sitting in his truck when we talked with him, and you could almost hear him saying adios to his little pick-up. "If I have to get this tested," Gibson says, "I'll probably end up getting rid of it."

The official recommendation will be announced on Monday. Mayor Luttrell refused to say what it will be. Shelby County Commissioners must approve the plan before it goes into effect next June.
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