If you’re like many people in New York, you rely on your car almost every day. Whether for commuting, running errands, or shuttling people around, you need a dependable vehicle to get you from place to place. Of course, even the highest-quality vehicles on the road will eventually start to experience problems. Parts and systems will wear and fail. The vehicle’s performance will start to wane. Along with regular maintenance and essential repairs, yearly vehicle inspections can keep your car running smoothly and safely. Therefore, all motorists must understand the importance of timely safety inspections for vehicles.
Not only are inspections required in New York, but they identify concerns that could lead to or cause serious issues for you, your passengers, and others on the road. In addition, you could face legal repercussions if you cause an accident and haven’t done your vehicle inspection. Likewise, if you are injured in an accident, and the person at fault missed their latest vehicle inspection, you could be entitled to compensation.
An Overview of New York Car Inspection Laws and Regulations
Not all states in the U.S. have the same laws when it comes to vehicle inspections and registrations. In New York, owners must take their vehicles in for an inspection every 12 months. Also, if the vehicle ownership transfers, the new owner must complete an inspection, regardless of when the last one took place. However, not just anyone can perform an inspection. Only DMV-certified inspection stations may handle this task.
Along with doing a yearly inspection, owners must take their vehicles for annual emissions tests. This test helps to ensure that vehicles are not emitting harmful materials. This helps to control pollution levels and promote good health and safety.
What Does the Inspection Look For?
Car inspections in New York check many areas of the vehicle. Chiefly, the inspections focus on safety and whether the vehicle can perform well without compromising the well-being of others. The inspection verifies that the car has working seat belts in the front and back. To pass the inspection, your car must have functioning brakes, suspension, and steering. The tires should have enough tread that they are not at risk of having a blowout. The windshield must be free of large chips and cracks. The inspection will also check the lights, mirrors, frame, and horn. The technician will also look for any fluid leaks in the car.
What Happens If the Vehicle Fails the Inspection
If any one part of the inspection fails, the entire inspection fails. The owner will not be able to register the vehicle, which can lead to fines. However, the owner can still pass the test and register the vehicle by correcting any issues with the inspection notes. If your car fails the inspection, you should repair the problem immediately so you can legally drive your vehicle.
The Risks of Driving an Uninspected Vehicle
Because you cannot register a car without passing a yearly inspection, you are likely to be pulled over by a law enforcement officer if you drive it anyway. Fines will be higher the longer you have gone since the last registration renewal. Moreover, you face more dire consequences than this if you do not complete an inspection but continue to drive your vehicle. Your vehicle could have mechanical and safety problems, putting everyone on the road at risk of injury.
For instance, if your vehicle’s brakes do not pass inspection but you still drive the car, the chances are greater that you will collide with another car. If the steering is malfunctioning, you could lose control of the vehicle and hit someone. Or if the windshield is noncompliant, it could shatter and injure you or others in the car with you.
The Legal Ramifications of an Accident With an Uninspected Vehicle
Not every car accident is due to a person’s negligence or deliberate actions. Investigators may determine that weather conditions were to blame. In some cases, mechanical failure could be the reason one vehicle collided with another. But if you are in an accident and another driver hits you in an uninspected car, you could hold that person legally responsible for the accident and any injuries you suffered.
Every driver has a duty to drive safely and obey the laws of the road. Failing to do a yearly car inspection breaches that duty. If you are hurt because of this breach of duty, you may have justification for suing for damages. A personal injury lawyer can review your case and advise you on whether you should move forward with a lawsuit.
What Damages Can You Claim?
If the driver of an uninspected car hits you and causes injuries, you can seek damages for medical costs. This includes getting compensation for what you have paid or owe for treatment, medication, hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, surgeries, medical equipment, or rehabilitation. If you spend money on gas to get medical treatments, you can claim those costs as well.
Beyond needing medical attention because of your injuries, you may also have other financial challenges. Car accidents can cause severe harm to areas of your body, such as the head, neck, shoulders, or limbs. Some injuries may require you to miss time at work during your treatment and recovery period. You can recover pay that you have lost as a result. If your injuries make you unable to perform your regular job duties going forward, you can seek damages for future lost pay. Pain and suffering claims are other options that your lawyer may discuss.
If you own a vehicle in the state of New York, you need to take your car in for an inspection every year. Doing this can give you peace of mind and keep you in compliance with the law. It protects you from legal problems, too. If you are in an accident with a motorist who did not do an annual inspection, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.