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Vehicle Inspection Laws in Alabama

Published: Jul 04, 2022 in Car Accidents
Man with ipad inspecting tire on car

As a motor vehicle owner in Alabama, you must adhere to statewide laws surrounding your vehicle. One of the most essential obligations you may need to follow is a vehicle inspection.

Keeping your car up to date is critical if you hope to maintain the safety of your vehicle and avoid any penalties associated with failure to remain in compliance with Alabama vehicle inspection laws. Don’t put yourself, other motorists, or passengers at risk.

Alabama Vehicle Inspection Laws

Across the U.S., most states require motorists to have their vehicles inspected annually. Vehicle inspections are designed to ensure that vehicles are properly maintained and safe for the roadways.

However, under Alabama law, drivers are not required to undergo yearly vehicle safety inspections. Drivers have the option of renewing their vehicle registrations without having to go through any type of vehicle safety inspection or emissions testing.

When Do You Need a Vehicle Inspection in Alabama?

Although motorists are not legally obligated to get their vehicles inspected annually in Alabama, this does not mean that drivers should never get their cars inspected or that the state will never require vehicle inspections. Alabama requires vehicle safety inspections if someone wants to:

  • Rebuild a salvaged motor vehicle
  • Sell their vehicle
  • Transfer ownership of their vehicle

Vehicle safety inspections are never done by third parties such as auto mechanics or technicians. Instead, you must visit a Motor Vehicle Title and Tag Office. This government agency is responsible for conducting vehicle inspections and issuing registration renewals.

Information Needed for an Inspection

When you bring your vehicle for an inspection, be sure to have the following documents:

  • A photo ID
  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • Proof of auto insurance

What Do Inspectors Look for During an Inspection?

During a vehicle inspection, inspectors will examine your motor vehicle for the following:

  • The odometer reading
  • How many cylinders the car has
  • The vehicle’s make, model, and color
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Visible damage to the vehicle

Once a vehicle passes inspection, it will receive an inspection sticker that notifies law enforcement and other drivers that it has been deemed roadworthy.

What if the At-Fault Driver’s Car Failed an Inspection?

Since Alabama law does not require vehicles to be inspected, motor vehicle collisions with uninspected cars should not significantly impact your case.

However, if the driver who hit you was operating a vehicle that failed inspection, this could be valuable evidence used to support your case. Car accident lawsuits and insurance claims must prove that another party’s negligence or misconduct caused your injuries.

If another driver’s vehicle was not roadworthy, they could be found negligent and therefore responsible for causing your resulting injuries.

Can I Collect Compensation if My Car Failed Inspection?

If your vehicle failed inspection and you were involved in an accident, you could be barred from financial recovery under Alabama’s shared fault laws. This is because Alabama operates under a contributory negligence system.

Here, sharing fault prevents you from being entitled to financial compensation. However, this is a common defense strategy used in car accident claims. You can be sure that your attorney will not allow unwarranted liability to be placed on you.

What Happens After a Car Fails an Inspection?

If you bring your vehicle to be inspected and it fails, the outcome can vary depending on the details of your case. For example, if you have failed to meet the emission standards for the state of Alabama, your car may be considered dangerous to operate. When this happens, you will have failed your vehicle inspection and be given a rejection sticker.

You Must Make Necessary Repairs

Once you are given a rejection sticker, you will be placed on notice and given a specific amount of time to make the necessary vehicle repairs.

You Can’t Register Your Car Until It’s Fixed

Failed inspections could also prohibit you from registering your vehicle or renewing your vehicle registration. If you cannot register your car, you will not be issued a license plate and will not be legally allowed to operate your vehicle until you obtain a passing vehicle inspection.

You Could Face Penalties for Continuing to Drive

To get your vehicle repaired, you will be allowed to drive your car home and to a Motor Vehicle Title and Tag Office to get your vehicle repair sticker and show that you have passed vehicle inspection.

If you are found to operate a motor vehicle with a rejection sticker, you could face severe penalties including license suspension, fines, and criminal penalties.

If you have questions or concerns about how a failing vehicle inspection could impact you or your car accident claim, do not hesitate to contact your Alabama car accident attorney for legal guidance and support.

Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Alabama Today

If you were involved in a collision with a vehicle that failed inspections, you might need the legal guidance and support of an experienced Alabama car accident lawyer at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C.

Our firm proudly offers no-cost, risk-free consultations to car accident victims across Alabama. Take advantage of the opportunity by completing our quick contact form or calling our office at 205-933-1500.