Car Inspection Laws in Florida

Many states have car inspection regulations in order to monitor a car’s environmental impact and safety standards. Although Florida may have looser regulations than states such as California, our Tampa car accident attorneys want Florida drivers to know they are still subject to inspections under certain circumstances.

When Does Florida Require Car Inspections?

Florida drivers do not need to obtain a yearly inspection for their vehicles, nor are they required to have a vehicle emission test. Only two situations require car inspections by the state:

  • A driver purchased a new car from outside of Florida.
  • A driver purchased a used car from within Florida.

If a driver purchases a new car in Florida or renews his or her vehicle registration, inspections are not necessary.

What Do Florida Inspections Test For?

Florida no longer requires extensive, comprehensive inspections to assess a vehicle’s safety and ability to operate. The requirements are much more relaxed now. An inspector will examine your vehicle’s identification number and cross-check it against your lien or title. The purpose of this test is to identify stolen cars and reduce the risk of vehicle fraud.

Who Is Qualified to Perform a Florida Vehicle Inspection?

Florida requires all vehicle inspectors to receive state certification. Drivers looking to schedule an appointment for their vehicle inspections should inquire about the provider’s certification. Most mechanics have the qualifications necessary to perform these inspections. In addition, local police departments can provide these services.

Does Florida Offer Incentives for Clean Vehicles?

Florida rewards drivers who practice eco-friendly driving, specifically owners of Low Emission Vehicles (LEV). The state allows drivers of LEVs to drive in High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (HOV), even if they only have one person in the car. Drivers can fill out an application for a HOV decal to determine if their vehicle is eligible and to receive a special sticker for their cars.

Why Doesn’t Florida Test New Cars?

Florida does not inspect new cars purchased within the state, but requires inspection for out-of-state new vehicle purchases. Florida dealerships automatically fall within Florida requirements for VINs and the state assumes that newly purchased vehicles are not subject to theft and fraud concerns.

How Much Do Florida Inspections Costs?

Florida vehicle inspections can vary widely in cost. Depending on the provider, a driver can receive an inspection for free. On the high end of the spectrum, drivers may pay a $100 fee for the inspection. Proper research can help drivers find the best value for their vehicle inspection before they make their appointments.

What Do Other States Test For?

Unlike other states, Florida does not test for vehicle emissions or safety requirements. Many states require tests for carbon emissions in order to reduce the state’s environmental impact. States often refer to these tests as “smog checks.” Depending on specific state requirements, the driver may need to retake the test if he or she fails it. In addition, he or she may receive a “gross polluter” classification if the vehicle exceeds at least twice the smog limit. Many states require smog checks quite frequently, usually once every two years. Different vehicles may have different testing requirements.

Other states require police officers to inspect cars for safety violations. States who perform safety inspections test the following features:

  • Tires
  • Brakes
  • Seatbelts
  • Lights
  • Windshield wipers
  • Horn

If a driver does not receive a safety inspection or fails one, he or she may need to pay heavy fines. In addition, he or she will have to fix whatever safety violations the inspector finds within the vehicle.

Will Florida Increase Its Safety Requirements?

Florida had a short-lived program that required emissions and safety inspections, similar to many other states. However, significant political opposition killed the program after only a few years. Although these safety and emissions inspections can protect drivers from car accidents and severe injuries, there is no current push to require more oversight.