It was hard for me to determine whether Jennifer Graham’s July 16 op-ed “Death by inspection” was serious or an attempt at humor. She appears to think that a 17-year-old Volkswagen that fails inspection because of numerous safety defects that no one wants to repair has been unfairly condemned to “death,” while we insist on recycling cans and bottles, and continue to use gas-guzzling school buses.
Her argument is wrong on all counts. As she herself says, the car will be “stripped of usable parts, then crushed like an oversized tin can. She neglects to emphasize that, like a tin can, the crushed car will be recycled: melted down and reused, avoiding the need to mine new metal to replace it.
While many states do not require auto safety inspections, we still do in New England. She says that South Carolina and Montana don’t care enough to have them. So, what does that suggest? It may be that some of our inspections aren’t thorough, but does that mean that when a car is in such egregious condition as to have faulty tie rods (they enable steering), an oil leak, and a failing clutch, it should be allowed on the road simply because it is working at the moment?
A school bus must be maintained according to strict safety standards. That’s why it’s on the road, unlike the dying clunker that Graham would rather drive as is.