Council discusses turning over auto inspections to the private sector

Recent lines at a Memphis inspection station.
Recent lines at a Memphis inspection station.

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - As city drivers complain about wait times at the city's three auto inspection stations, Memphis City Council members may do away with emissions inspections, and turn them over to the private sector.

"We're putting a burden on our citizens that no one else is doing," council member Shea Flinn said at a council committee meeting Tuesday. "Yet again, Memphis is different."

But council member Joe Brown argued government oversight keeps integrity in the process.

"It's been proven in a lot of states across the country that there is corruption when you take it outside of government," Brown said.

Conrad disagreed, saying government oversight didn't stop some county DMV employees from taking money out of the till last year.

"You can't say if we out-source that it's going to be corrupt, when there's been corruption in government doing it," he said.

Not everything the city of Memphis tests in its inspections are required by law.  Emissions tests are required, but safety inspections, like windshield wipers, are not.

"I think those are maintenance issues, and the City of Memphis should not be in the business of checking those things," council member Jim Strickland said.

But Brown added putting window tint enforcement in private hands could endanger police.

"The inspection stations work in conjunction with police, especially tinting regulations," he said.

The resolution, which also calls for hybrids and vehicles four years and younger to be exempt from inspections, passed in committee.

The full council will vote on this in two weeks. They would also form a citizens' committee to oversee the drawing up of the resolution.

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