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If you own a motor vehicle in Florida, it is important to keep it in good working condition. Your vehicle should be safe to drive, operate properly and be roadworthy. However, professional inspections and maintenance checks are not legally required for Florida vehicle owners. Unfortunately, this means that many drivers allow their vehicles to fall into a dangerous state of disrepair.
Does Florida Require Annual Vehicle Inspections?
No. Unlike many other states, Florida does not have mandatory or required vehicle inspections. The previous car inspection law was repealed. Vehicle owners do not have to bring their cars in for annual or regular inspections, auto emission tests or safety tests. The only time that vehicle inspections are required in Florida is when an owner purchases a new vehicle from outside of the state or purchases a used vehicle in Florida.
In these situations, the inspection requirement is mainly used to search for stolen vehicles. During the inspection, the inspector will take a physical imprint of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and compare it to the title and lien of the vehicle. The inspector will also note any property damage to the vehicle. If you need one of these inspections, you should bring your driver’s license or photo ID, proof of vehicle ownership, and proof of insurance.
What Is the Pre-Insurance Inspection?
According to the 2020 Florida Statutes, Section 627.744, a pre-insurance inspection of a private passenger motor vehicle is required before a driver can purchase an insurance policy that provides physical damage coverage, such as collision or comprehensive insurance. There is an exception if the vehicle is new and unused and was purchased or leased from a licensed motor vehicle dealer or leasing company. There is also an exception if the driver is a policyholder who has been insured for two years or longer without interruption under a policy that provides physical damage coverage.
How Much Does a Vehicle Inspection Cost?
This answer can vary based on the type of inspection and the location where you are having your car looked at by a state-certified inspector. Florida does not have a standard fee for vehicle inspections. Some inspectors charge very little or will inspect your vehicle for free, while other inspections can cost $150 or more. As the owner of the motor vehicle, you can shop around for inspectors to search for the best price. Just make sure the inspector that you choose has been state certified.
What Are an Owner’s Vehicle Maintenance Responsibilities?
Regular safety inspections may not be mandatory for motor vehicle owners in Florida, but drivers still have an ethical responsibility to ensure the roadworthiness of their vehicles. If the owner of a car fails to properly maintain it, a part could break down in transit and cause a motor vehicle accident. In this situation, the owner of the vehicle could face liability for the crash if a victim sustained serious or catastrophic injuries.
All vehicle owners in Florida should regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles to ensure all parts are in proper working order, including:
- Checking the brakes for wear or fluid leaks.
- Inspecting the tires for worn tread, bubbles or tears.
- Making sure all tires are properly inflated.
- Checking all fluid levels.
- Searching for vehicle recalls and defective parts.
- Having a professional inspect the windshield wipers, electrical system, exhaust and headlights regularly.
If a car accident is caused by a defective, malfunctioning or broken part and an investigation finds that the owner of the vehicle was negligent in inspecting and maintaining the car, he or she could be responsible for paying for the crash. As an accident victim, you may be entitled to compensation for your property repairs, medical bills, lost wages and other losses due to negligent vehicle maintenance. Consider speaking with a Tampa car accident attorney to explore your legal options.
Learn more by contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your automobile accident in Tampa.