I almost fell out of my chair when I first read about Texas House Bill 3297 a few days ago. The bill, which was just signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on June 13th, eliminates state inspections for most non-commercial vehicles registered in Texas starting January 1st, 2025. I say “most” because vehicles registered in one of seventeen unfortunate counties will still have to submit to annual emissions testing. Everyone else is off the hook entirely!
This is a great relief. I loath taking our vehicles in for these inspections. They’re time consuming, inconvenient, and—most of all—I despise handing the keys to my very expensive truck over to anyone who I’m not bound to by holy matrimony. I’m also not convinced that the inspections do a whole lot of good. I suspect the people who need the state to tell them that their tires are bald or their brakes are bad are the same ones who would simply skip the inspection altogether and drive their vehicles unregistered. If the government is concerned about our safety on the road, I’d rather it hire more police to patrol our streets and aggressively cite all the reckless drivers we constantly encounter. I think that would yield a better return on the investment and has the added benefit of only inconveniencing those who break the rules rather than everyone equally.
Despite no small amount of news coverage, one thing about this new law remained unclear. Would RVs like our Airstream also be exempted from state inspections? Since 2017 all trailers with a gross weight of more than 7,500 pounds were required to submit to similar annual state inspections as passenger vehicles. And let me tell you, the inconvenience of taking an RV in for an inspection is an order of magnitude worse than any car or truck. Our Airstream is 30 feet long. Our truck is 20 feet. The vast majority of inspection stations in urban areas—such as where we live—do not have parking lots with enough open space to safely maneuver 50 feet of combined vehicle. Plus, most of the stations I’ve looked at aren’t even open on the weekends. That means we’d have to sacrifice an entire workday in order to travel to an inspection station that could comfortably accommodate our rig. Anyone with even a modicum of personal interest in the longevity of their (often expensive) recreational vehicles would maintain them well beyond the basic requirements of these so-called safety inspections. Bottom line, these inspections are a major imposition for minimal benefit.
So far, I haven’t found any news coverage that explicitly addressed the question of how the new law affected trailers, so I took it upon myself to comb through the text of the new law and compare it with the existing law. What I found leads me to believe that travel trailers and fifth wheels will in fact be exempt from state inspections starting in 2025! Behold:
As you can see from the excerpts I highlighted above, HB 3297 repeals the provisions of the transportation code that requires state inspections of trailers with gross weights above 7,500 pounds. Now, I am neither a lawyer nor particularly adept at parsing legal texts, but it sure seems to me that state inspections for trailers will soon be a thing of the past! Texas RV owners, rejoice!
Of course, if anyone reading this has reason to believe that my conclusion is incorrect, please let me know! I don’t want to celebrate under false pretenses any more than I already have. 🙌 🎉