inspections February 08, 2018

The History of the Virginia State Inspection in Springfield, VA

Today your vehicle operates safely and smoothly on the roads of Virginia because you had a mandatory annual Virginia State Inspection in Springfield, VA. Did you ever wonder how the Virginia State Inspection requirement came to be?

The historical excerpts that follow are condensed from the Virginia State Police website at, under the leadership of Captain Ronald B. Saunders, Safety Officer and Division Commander, Virginia State Police.

In 1906, Virginia Governor Claude A. Swanson signed the first legislation requiring automobiles register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Over 4,500 motor vehicles were registered (at $2 each) between 1906 and 1910. Virginia registered the first car, a 1906 Oldsmobile in Staunton, on June 12, 1906.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth oversaw regulatory enforcement of these new vehicular traffic laws. The task was shared by local sheriffs and other local law enforcement. No state-administered organization was created to enforce motor vehicle laws for those traveling the dangerously treacherous dirt roads of the Commonwealth during the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Ironically,  research started in 1926 gathering vehicle accident statistics to make Virginia highways safer.

Inspectors were authorized to enforce motor vehicle and criminal codes in 1932. Legislators designed a state law enforcement division with the power of arrest anywhere in Virginia. This “mobile law enforcement agency was prepared for duty” if civil strife or emergency situations required a police force to ensure civil security. From then on inspectors were known as “troopers.”

In 1933 the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) began statewide inspection of motor vehicles at “adjusting” stations. That year there were 400,000 vehicles inspected and registered in Virginia. Each passed inspection of fragile glass and moving-mechanical parts every six months. I wonder how many cars passed the Virginia State Inspection in Springfield, VA in 1933? Fast forward to 2010 when 7.5 million vehicles are inspected and safely registered by approved Virginia Emissions Testing and Auto Inspection Stations throughout the Commonwealth.

Since 1932 Virginia State Inspections have helped drivers safely operate motor vehicles on the roadways of the Commonwealth. When it’s your time to complete a Virginia State Inspection in Springfield, VA, drive your vehicle over to the approved Virginia State Inspection and Emissions Testing Station at Wiygul Automotive Clinic. We’ll inspect your vehicle promptly following all state regulations, and have you safely back on the road in no time.

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