It’s been about 3 years since the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) instituted an “emissions only” inspection procedure for cars registered in NJ. The state became the 30th state to no longer require inspections for mechanical defects in cars in Aug. 2010. Emissions testing starts when vehicles turn five years old, instead of four.
However, NJ auto glass repair and replacement companies say business is down after the state changed its policy to end mechanical inspections for license renewal. As was the case in Memphis (for city-wide inspections), NJ officials cut the program to save money—meaning no more inspections of auto glass. MVC Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez said at the time that the change would save the state approximately $17M per year mostly from scrapping the 2.4 million inspections and re-inspections performed each year.
“I believe it’s had a really big effect on us,” says Tommy Aciz, owner of All County Glass in Jersey City, NJ. “You see people driving around with cracked windshields. Police are supposed to pull over drivers who have obstructed vision because it can cause accidents, but they aren’t doing it. “We used to do 20 to 25 vehicles a day,” he added. “Now we are down to five to seven vehicles a day. Business has really gone down. Our residential work is what’s keeping us here and in business. If we relied on auto we’d be out of business.”
Frank Mo, owner of Sun Auto Glass in Englewood, NJ, says the lack of mechanical inspections has not just hurt the auto glass companies, but it’s impacted auto body businesses as well.
“This has hit us pretty hard,” he explains. “It’s a very bad decision by politicians who want to save money. It not only impacts glass shops but it impacts repair shops as well. It’s an all over impact [in the state]. The downfall in our business is significant. We’ve lost between 15 to 20 percent of our gross profit.”
A customer service representative who answered the phone at Valley Glass Service in Woodland, NJ, says his company has ended most of its auto glass work.
“It’s not a big part of our business anymore,” he points out.