Akron police and city council are offering free vehicle safety inspections in the city's neighborhoods.
The voluntary program, according to police auditor Phil Young, comes out of complaints from people being stopped by police for minor traffic infractions like a burned out tail light or turn signal.
No citations will be issued, and three auto parts chains say they'll install replacement light bulbs motorists buy at their store for no charge.
Council president Gary Moneypenny says the city's looking for ways they can help pay for the bulbs.
The first safety inspection will be Saturday from 10 AM until 2 PM, in the parking lot of Henry's Acme on South Hawkins Street.
(News release - City of Akron) Council and Police Auditor driving new vehicle safety inspection program
First inspections Sept. 7th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Henry's Acme Parking Lot
AKRON, Ohio (Sept. 4, 2013) – Akron Police Auditor Phil Young and Akron City Council are working together to kick start a new, free vehicle safety inspection program for Akron residents.
The program stems from citizen complaints to Young about being stopped by police for minor infractions such as a burned out tail light or turn signal. The complaints gave him the idea to provide inspections that will identify vehicle safety issues, preempting a police stop and possible a ticket.
“When is the last time you started your car and walked around it to check all your lights, signals and flashers?” asked Young. “Did you remember to check the renewal date on your drivers license on your last birthday?
“We’re performing a public service for our citizens. These will be voluntary inspection sites where no citations will be issued. We’re just going to make sure everyone has a safe vehicle and a valid drivers license.”
Auto Zone, Advance Auto Parts and O’Reilly’s have agreed to participate in the program by offering to install replacement light bulbs purchased at their stores at no charge.
City Council President Garry Moneypenny said the city is exploring options to help pay for replacement light bulbs by providing gift cards for purchases at the participating stores. Moneypenny, a former police officer, joined with Young and Council Representatives Jeff Fusco, Margo Sommerville and Ken Jones to develop the program.
“This program provides a non-invasive way for citizens to have their vehicles inspected without fear of citations,” said Moneypenny.
Each of the four Council Representatives involved in developing the program is selecting a location to serve as an inspection site. The goal is to find sites that are near senior citizen complexes and in minority neighborhoods where safety-related police stops occur the most.
The first inspection site will be in Sommerville’s Ward 3 on Saturday, Sept. 7th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Henry's Acme Parking Lot, 1525 South Hawkins Street.
“We want to help citizens by identifying safety violations and educate them to be more aware of their vehicle maintenance,” said Sommerville. “Our goal is to lessen the number of routine safety-related traffic stops and possible accidents for the benefit of both our citizens and our police department.” The Akron Police, Summit County Sheriff ‘s Department and State Highway Patrol will participate in the program. Each will provide one officer to conduct the tests. Each site will be open one day. The State Highway Patrol also agreed to check window tint during the inspections. Akron does not have a device to check tint, and citizens often don’t know if their window tint is acceptable or illegal.
Young hopes to repeat the program with all Council members choosing new locations every few months.
“I don’t want this to be a flash in the pan, said Young. “We should be providing this service for our citizens. My goal is a regular event that for now we operate at least four times a year.”