Tony Molla: Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection (PMVI) programs ‘save lives’

Tony Molla

The Automotive Service Association has been a staunch defender of Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection (PMVI) programs.

The reason is simple: ASA believes PMVI programs save lives.

That belief was reinforced today when I saw a post on iATN about a fatal vehicle accident in Ohio that was blamed on faulty brakes. The fault was that the owner failed to maintain his vehicle properly, a mistake that cost him his life and the life of his 11-year-old son.

According to police, three of the four brake assemblies on the vehicle were completely ineffective due to worn or non-existent brake pads. That caused the driver to lose control, hit an embankment, go airborne and roll over with tragic results.

PMVI Defined

A Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection (PMVI) program is generally defined as a regularly scheduled vehicle inspection, mandated by state law and performed by qualified/certified/licensed inspection technicians.

The purpose of any PMVI program is to ensure that the vehicles being driven on public roadways are operating safely and within the specifications established by the governing body.

Most PMVI programs are annual and may exempt new vehicles from such inspections for a period of from one to three years. Some states tie their annual PMVI safety check to registration renewals for convenience.

Cost ‘Usually Modest’

The cost is usually modest, but the value can be incalculable. Unfortunately, legislators in some states continue to debate whether or not these programs actually increase safety.

A Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection (PMVI) program can help reduce accidents and ensure that unsafe vehicles are found and repaired or kept off the road.

PMVI Can Help Save Money

In addition, periodic vehicle inspections can help consumers save money by finding small problems before they become larger and more expensive to repair.

The best estimates state that only about half of all vehicle owners maintain them on a regular schedule.

Vehicle Neglect Poses Risk

Vehicle neglect can pose a serious risk to public safety.

Mandatory PMVI programs can ensure that all vehicles operating within a state do so with the secure knowledge that they have been inspected for safety problems and those issues found have been corrected.

Average Age of Fleet

Perhaps the strongest reason for a robust PMVI program is reflected in the average age of the vehicle fleet in the U.S.

The average age of vehicles on the road today is nearly 12 years, and the largest growing segment of vehicles is 16 years and older.

These aging vehicles need to be able to meet safety standards for repair and maintenance in the interest of public safety for all motorists on the road.

Providing Visual Evidence of Safety Issues

Many shops are now using digital vehicle inspections and are providing visual evidence of safety issues they find on vehicles every day.

Some are the result of neglected maintenance.


Others the result of a failed attempt at performing maintenance or repair by an inexperienced or unqualified individual.

‘Quite Dangerous’ Results

In any case, the results are quite dangerous.

As this visual evidence grows, ASA will continue to advocate for PMVI programs nationwide and do all we can to ensure tragedies like the one in Ohio never happen again.