Soon drivers will no longer have to get their vehicles inspected every year. Instead, it will be every second year.

The province announced yesterday it would be loosening its motor vehicle inspection standards starting on April 1. The changes include fewer inspections, fewer parts of a car needing to be inspected, and a new second opinion process.

“We looked at other jurisdictions and we believe we’ve come to a good middle of the road – excuse the pun – decision on vehicle inspections here in the province,” said Richard Hurlburt, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

Commercial type vehicles, which range from taxis to tow trucks to ambulances, must still be inspected yearly.

Staff said they receive about 100 complaints each year about stations gouging customers at annual checkups. Consumers now have the option to go to government staff for a second opinion.

If the original inspector is found to given an inaccurate inspection they could face fines or a suspension.

Inspections themselves will be less rigorous. Horns, lights, mirrors, couplings and windshield wipers will no longer be part of checkups. Hurlburt said those are non-essential items that are the drivers’ responsibility.

“There’s also laws in our province where if they’re stopped by police they will be charged if they do not have the proper working facilities on their vehicle. So the owners have some responsibility also,” he said.

The department hopes to double last year’s number of 340 roadside inspections. But that will take three new staff members at an estimated cost of $200,000, which Hurlburt must convince cabinet to approve.

Liberal leader Stephen McNeil praised yesterday’s announcement, saying his party has been calling for biennial inspections since April 2007.

“This is about striking a balance. This is about making sure the safety of Nova Scotians is protected, as well as giving consumers a reasonable break,” McNeil said.

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