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Texas DPS Director vows to fix security gap in state’s vehicle inspection program

The Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw, has pledged to address a serious security flaw in the state’s vehicle inspection program.

NBC 5 Investigates brought attention to the issue after revealing how state-licensed vehicle inspection stations are accepting cash in exchange for falsely passing cars. Shockingly, the state’s computer system fails to flag these fake inspections, which means that unsafe cars may end up on the road with legitimate Texas license plates.

NBC 5 Investigates discovered that up to five million cars on Texas roads have “clean scans” – fake inspections – whereby a state-licensed inspector is paid to pass an emissions test and skip critical safety checks on items such as brakes and tires. Furthermore, the state inspection computer system managed by TCEQ captures data that shows many inspections are fake but does not prevent these cars from falsely passing.

Despite multiple requests for interviews from NBC 5, the heads of two state agencies responsible for the inspection system, Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, have declined to comment. However, McCraw has acknowledged that the computer system contributes to the problem and has promised to take action to remedy the issue.

In a recent interview, McCraw expressed his frustration with the fraudulent inspections happening statewide, and pledged that the Texas Department of Public Safety would enforce inspection rules, even if the system is not working as it should. The TCEQ maintains the inspection computer system, while the DPS is responsible for enforcing inspection rules.

In an effort to expose the severity of the issue, NBC 5 Investigates conducted an investigation outside a state-licensed inspection station in Dallas, where no vehicles entered or left, yet the station issued inspections for over 20 cars during the same period. On another day, NBC’s partner, Telemundo 39, found that inspections were occurring on paper, but no cars were present.

NBC 5 alerted the DPS about the station, leading to a suspension of its license. However, investigators with the Travis County Constables office revealed that the TCEQ system does not prevent cars from passing even when data indicates that inspections are fake.

Although TCEQ officials declined to comment, they acknowledged that they would work with the Texas DPS to enforce inspection rules. Meanwhile, Rep. Craig Goldman from Fort Worth has pledged to keep the pressure on TCEQ to find a solution.

Late Wednesday, a Texas DPS spokesperson stated that the agency has been working with TCEQ to develop a semi-automated approach that will help them shut down inspection stations where clean-scanning is occurring at a high rate. However, NBC 5 Investigates revealed that officials suspect one inspection station in Dallas was able to clean scan tens of thousands of cars, or perhaps even hundreds of thousands, and was never shut down. Director McCraw has pledged to investigate the case.

Mitch Havens

Mitch holds a distinguished position as a foremost authority at Fargo News Now. Drawing upon his prior expertise garnered from renowned publications such as CNN and Time, our ambitions extend beyond merely serving the local community, as we also aspire to make a national impact in the realm of journalism.

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