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State To Track Vehicle Inspections In New Computerized System

A new system for conducting annual vehicle inspections in Vermont will make it easier for the state to gather information and identify inspection problems.

The new computerized system, called Automatic Vehicle Inspection System, or AVIP, will replace a paper-based system that Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Robert Ide says has made it hard for the state to track problems with vehicles and with inspections.

“It mostly just piles up,” Ide says of the current paper system. "We’re trying to make our safety inspections more consistent."

There have long been stories about mechanics who are willing to look the other way for some inspection violations.

Ide says it’s a significant issue and the new system will enable the state to better track the problem.

“We’ll be able to notice of someone’s vehicle fails at an inspections station then somehow ‘miraculously’ passes the same exam at a different inspection system that same day,” Ide says.

The automated system will require the state’s roughly 1,600 inspection stations to spend about $1,600 to purchase tablet computers to record data and take photos of vehicles.

The new system will increase the cost of inspections. Each inspection will include a $2.21 fee charged by the system’s vendor. 

The state charges $6 per inspection. The total cost varies and is determined by each inspection station. Ide says whether to charge for a failed inspection is also up to the individual inspection station.

Data collected under the new system will be posted online. Ide says someone purchasing a used vehicle will be able to check to see whether that vehicle had any inspection problems in the past. The information can be accessed using a vehicle’s VIN number.

Ide stresses that the requirements for a vehicle to pass inspection won’t change.

What might change is whether your local mechanic still does inspections. Ide expects some will drop out of the program because of the cost of purchasing the new equipment.

The system will go into effect in March.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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