MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Memphis vehicle inspection program is sort of like the nerd at the high school prom. Nobody wants to dance with it. Remember that sign that sat on former President Harry Truman’s desk that said “The Buck Stops Here”? When it comes to the Memphis inspection program the buck is on a bumper pool table, bouncing all over.
The city will get out of the inspection business in July of next year. Some are hoping that Shelby County Government will man up when it comes to inspections and fighting smog. Fat chance, says the incoming Chairman of the County Commission. “Well first of all, we don’t have to do it,” says Commissioner Mike Ritz. “I don’t see any reason, political, practical or otherwise that we would. If the city doesn’t want to do it, let the state do it.”
As Chairman of the Commission, Ritz will have a lot of say over what gets on an agenda, or what ends up floating away to the Island of Unwanted Legislation. “I don’t see the Mayor proposing it,” he says, “I don’t see any of the commissioners supporting it at all.”
This has been one less than sweet year for auto inspections in Memphis. The check engine light fiasco meant a lot of people had to pay a lot of money to get their cars through inspection. Then the city decided to forget about the check engine light and run emissions tests the old fashioned way, checking the vehicle tailpipe. It seemed that the check engine light being on often had nothing to do with emissions.
This is just one reason why Commissioner Wyatt Bunker thinks the entire process ought to be thrown out. “I know about the air quality issue,” Bunker said, “…and I’m not one that wants to harm the environment or anything like that. I just don’t think inspections are a very effective way of doing it.”
The state of Tennessee handles vehicle inspections in every other county where they’re needed. But there is bad news for people who think the check engine light issue is dead. If the state takes over in Shelby County, they check emissions by monitoring the vehicle’s computerized diagnostic system. If the engine light is on, the car automatically fails. Just like your wife telling you she doesn’t do windows, the state doesn’t do tailpipes.