They check your emissions. They check your registration.
But there's one thing Memphis vehicle inspection stations don't check. "Alan" of Memphis says maybe it's time they did.
"Residents of Tennessee are required by law to have automobile liability insurance. I live in the City of Memphis and am required to have my vehicle inspected once per year. Why don't the inspection stations require proof of insurance - this would drastically reduce the number of uninsured motorists living in the City of Memphis...?"
Alan, you must be psychic because that very issue is in the plans of the Memphis Motor Vehicle Inspection Bureau.
Its officials, encouraged by other inspection bureaus from other parts of the country, are lobbying the Memphis city council to make proof of liability insurance MANDATORY in order to pass your vehicle inspection.
"It's on our agenda with the city council to add to our list of required documentation," says Terence McBride, manager of the Memphis Motor Vehicle Inspection Bureau. "But again, we have some liability issues here, too. What if the person just bought the car, and it's a used car, and he doesn't have his liability insurance yet? But it is something on our radar."
It's not something that would happen overnight. Maybe not even this year.
It's a political process that moves slowly.
Consider this: a study by the Insurance Research Council estimates that in 2007, the latest year for the stats, more than 20 percent of Tennessee drivers had no insurance.
The economy has tanked even more since then, so you can expect that percentage to climb.
You can also expect it to grow into a constituency that will have the ears of its politicians on the city council. For better or worse.