By Stephen Smoot
A bill passed by the West Virginia State Legislature last year has changed the law on state inspections for vehicles, mandating them every two years instead of annually.
The bill was crafted by Delegate Gary Howell, (R-Mineral) who also serves as a chairman emeritus with the Specialty Equipment Market Association, an organization for automotive enthusiasts. State Senator Mike Stuart (R-Kanawha), also a former United States Attorney for the Trump Administration, championed the bill in the State Senate.
The final bill combined HB 2310, which created an antique fleet designation, and Senate Bill 252 that addressed inspection mandates. Several amendments adjusted the bill during the session.
At the time Stuart hailed the bill as “the best compromise we could get between the Senate and the House.” Many “would have preferred eliminating the requirement entirely, but I think a two-year time frame is entirely reasonable, especially with the quality of vehicles they make today.”
When signing the bill, Governor Jim Justice said, “It’s surely time-consuming and a nuisance in a lot of ways to have your car run down there every year and go through all of that stuff.” He added that “it is important to note that personal responsibility is very important when keeping your vehicle up to date.”
The new law raises the maximum inspection sticker fee from $14 to $19It clarifies that non-resident vehicles are not subject to the inspection mandate.
It also allowed antique automobile owners who have more than five vehicles to register them under a single registration plate. Owners would still have to register each car on which they display the plate.
West Virginia had been one of 14 states to require annual inspections. Now, six states allow for inspections every other year.