All drivers should take steps to minimize their chances of being involved in car accidents. One way you can protect yourself and others on the road is to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive. Doing so is actually a legal requirement for drivers in Missouri.
Missouri law requires drivers to have their vehicles inspected on a regular basis. Understanding and adhering to Missouri’s car inspection laws won’t just help you avoid legal trouble—it can also guard against otherwise avoidable accidents.
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What Are Missouri’s Car Inspection Laws?
There are some cases in which drivers and their vehicles may be exempt from certain elements of Missouri’s car inspection laws. This overview will address those exemptions later.
In general, though, Missouri’s Department of Revenue requires vehicles to undergo safety inspections every other year. Vehicles manufactured in an “even” year must undergo inspections on even years, and vehicles manufactured in “odd” year must undergo inspections on odd years. This can make it easy for you to determine if your vehicle needs to be inspected.
Some vehicles may also have to undergo emissions inspections.
Your car needs an emission inspection if you live in any of the following counties:
- St. Louis
- St. Charles
You may also need to schedule an inspection when:
- You are new to the state and are registering your car with the Missouri Department of Revenue
- You are renewing your MO registration and your renewal notice indicates you need to schedule a safety inspection
- You have just sold or plan to sell your vehicle
- Your vehicle was involved in an accident
- You were instructed by law enforcement to schedule an inspection
Again, following these laws is key to ensuring your vehicle is safe to drive.
Responsibilities When Selling a Car in Missouri
Selling a vehicle comes with responsibilities similar to that of driving one.
When you sell a car in Missouri, you must provide the buyer with:
- A safety inspection certificate that is less than 60 days old
- An emissions inspection certificate that is less than 60 days old if you reside in a county that requires emissions inspections
You need to be certain your vehicle is in roadworthy condition before you can let someone else take it off your hands.
Missouri Car Inspection Law Exemptions
Again, there are instances when drivers do not need to strictly abide by Missouri’s car inspection laws.
Exemptions apply when:
- A vehicle is less than 10 years old (based on model year) and has mileage of less than 150,000 miles on the odometer at the time of registration or registration renewal
- A vehicle weighs 26,000 pounds or more and its registration is for less than a year
- A vehicle is an even year model and its registration expires on an odd year
- A vehicle is an odd year model and its registration expires on an even year
- A vehicle is a trailer
- A vehicle is registered with the Missouri Department of Transportation and is used for interstate commerce
- A vehicle displays historic plates
- A vehicle is being sold not to a new driver, but to someone who will junk, salvage, or rebuild it
- A motor vehicle is being sold from one dealer to another
- A vehicle qualifies as a low speed vehicle under Missouri law
However, even if a vehicle is exempt from the safety inspection requirements, it is not exempt from emissions test requirements if its owner lives in one of the counties mentioned in the earlier section.
What to Do if Your Vehicle is Out of State When an Inspection is Required
Sometimes a vehicle is not in the state of Missouri when an inspection or registration renewal is needed. You can be granted an extension in these circumstances.
To be granted an extension, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your car must have already been out of the state for at least 60 days
- You must have your car inspected within 10 days of returning to Missouri
If you believe you may qualify for an extension, complete this form and send a notarized copy to the Department of Revenue.
What Happens if My Vehicle Fails the Safety Inspection?
If your car fails an inspection, you cannot drive it until you correct the issues that caused it to fail the inspection in the first place. If you are able to do so and you can schedule another inspection with the same inspection station that performed the first one within 20 days, the inspection will be free. However, you are only eligible to receive a single free inspection within that 20-day window.
Why Car Inspections Are Important in Missouri
Cars and other motor vehicles are relatively complicated machines. Like all complex machines, they can break down over time as a result of wear and tear from regular use.
This may increase your chances of being involved in an accident. It can also influence your chances of receiving compensation if you are ever involved in a car accident in Missouri.
Missouri is an at-fault or “tort” state in regard to car accidents. If another party’s negligence causes an accident, victims of their negligence can seek compensation for their medical bills and related losses by filing claims to collect from the negligent driver’s insurance. They also have the option of filing lawsuits if an insurer won’t offer a fair settlement.
However, Missouri also has a comparative fault statute. This simply means the amount of compensation a victim may recover can be reduced based on the extent to which their own negligence may have caused their accident or injuries.
For example, perhaps you’re injured in an accident with a driver speeding through a red light when you had the green and were passing through the intersection. This may seem like a scenario in which it’s clear you deserve to be compensated.
That said, maybe it’s discovered that your brakes were not in ideal condition at the time of the accident, but you did not address the problem because you hadn’t followed the proper inspection schedule. It could be argued that your own negligence contributed to the severity of your injuries, as you may have been able to stop in time had your brakes been working properly. This fact could reduce the amount of money you recover.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
This guide highlights the importance of understanding and following Missouri’s car inspection laws. However, even if you are vigilant about following the law, you might still find yourself injured in a car accident resulting from someone else’s negligence.
If this ever happens, contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers. We’ve been serving clients like you throughout the region since 2002. Our consistent track record of success illustrates why we’re qualified to handle your case.