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Changes Coming for Texas Auto Owners

It seems like things are constantly fluid for auto owners. Inspections have gotten tougher, not to mention more costly, while the internet has made getting registration done that much easier. Both of those are good in their own way. It used to be that we got those little stickers to stick on our license plates and now we get the big stickers for the front windshield. And now that’s changing, and I can’t figure out whether it’s good, bad or none of the above.

Beginning in March of 2015, the state is going to do away with the inspection sticker as we know it and go down to a single sticker. Great, you think, that sounds easy and less complicated.

Not so fast.

You as a driver will no longer be required to have an inspection sticker on your window but you will still need to get your car inspected. Only now, if you don’t do it or your car won’t pass inspection you will not be allowed to register your auto in the state of Texas.

Here’s the way it’s going to work: in order to get your registration you as a driver must submit your vehicle for inspection not more than 90 days prior to registration renewal. Once you pass inspection you are then given the go-ahead to get your registration done. The inspector will register your completed inspection through an online portal with the DMV and your county tax assessor-collector will have access to that information when you go to register your vehicle, or the DMV will already have that information if you are doing it online or by mail.

And depending on where you fall with your inspection date vs. registration date you could get a few free months out of the whole deal. For those whose inspection is up before their registration date after March of 2015 they will have to get an inspection. For example, if your registration expires in May of 2015 but their registration is up in June they will have to get an inspection. But if your registration is up in April of 2015 but your inspection follows a month later then that current inspection will apply to the new registration so you’re getting several months’ grace on that front.

This stems from Senate Bill 1350 passed by the Texas Senate last year and authored by Sen. Royce West of Dallas. The bill implementing a “single certification system” claimed to minimize fraud. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it supposedly saves the state upwards of $2 million per year (a figure which seems abnormally high.)

I guess in the end this is all about saving the state some money while not really changing auto owners’ lives much. What do you think about it?

Rodney Williams is the managing editor for The Anna-Melissa Tribune and the Van Alstyne Leader. He can be contacted at news@amtrib.com or rwilliams@vanalstyneleader.com.