The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the Senate Committee on Transportation, Culture and the Arts on March 23, 2023.
March 23, 2023
Conference Room 224 andVideoconference
To: Senate Committee on Transportation, Culture and the Arts
Senator Chris Lee, Chair
Senator Lorraine Inouye, Vice Chair
From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns
RE: SCR145/SR136 — REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO STUDY THE FEASIBILITY AND ADVISABILITY OF ELIMINATING THE STATE’S SAFETY INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS FOR MOTOR CARRIER VEHICLES.
Dear Chair and Committee Members:
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on SCR145/SR136, which would request the state Department of Transportation to conduct a study on whether Hawaii’s annual vehicle safety inspections should be abolished.
Across the country, only 15 states require safety inspections every year. It is clear that mechanical failures are the cause of only 3% of accidents nationwide, but research on whether mandatory inspections reduce traffic accidents has yielded unclear results.
A study on the end of vehicle inspections in New Jersey found that “vehicle safety inspections do not represent an efficient use of government funds, and do not appear to have any significantly mitigating effect on the role of car failure in traffic accidents.”
Hawaii’s Legislative Reference Bureau studied the issue in 1995 and concluded: “There is no conclusive evidence to indicate that the State’s periodic motor vehicle inspection program either is or is not achieving its desired outcome.”
In 2019, the state Senate passed Senate Resolution 14, which directed the state Department of Transportation to conduct its own study of mandatory inspections. Since this report was never conducted, we believe this resolution would be a step toward assessing the value of Hawaii’s vehicle inspection regime.
As it stands, Hawaii’s vehicle inspection laws are a burden in terms of time and cost, and especially burden low-income families who must pay for car checkups every year. Given this expense, mandatory inspections should create some appreciable public benefit to have any justification.
A study of their effectiveness would shine a light on whether inspections reduce traffic accidents, and would help inform the Legislature on whether to keep the annual inspections around.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
Director of Strategic Campaigns
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
 Christina Walsh, “Why Do Some States In the USA Have Vehicle Safety Inspections?” VINSmart, Nov. 8, 2021.
 Alex Hoagland and Trevor Woolley, “It’s No Accident: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Vehicle Safety Inspections,” Contemporary Economic Policy, 2018, p. 14.
 Keith Fukumoto, “Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection in Hawaii: A Study of Selected Issues,” Legislative Reference Bureau, Report No. 7, 1995, p. 45.