Only In N.H. — Inspecting What's Behind Annual Auto Inspections in the Granite State

Apr 12, 2017

Are you due for an auto inspection? Would you mind if we tagged along? (It’s for a story, we promise.)

As part of our new “Only in New Hampshire” project, we’ve been collecting your questions about life in the Granite State — and then, because we received so many, we asked you to help us figure out which one to start investigating first.

The winning question, from a Littleton resident: “Why do we put up with the onerous yearly auto inspection? Other states, including California, don't have it.” (Keep scrolling for a full breakdown of the results of the voting round below.)

We’re working on researching the origins of the state’s car inspection laws and collecting data on what kind of oversight exists for vehicle inspection stations, how much revenue comes in from inspections and more — but we also thought it’d be important to focus on what, exactly, happens when someone takes their car to get inspected. And that’s where you come in.

If you’re planning to get your car inspected in the next few weeks and you’re willing to let an NHPR journalist accompany you to the inspection station as part of our reporting process, we’d love to hear from you. Email me (NHPR reporter Casey McDermott, cmcdermott@nhpr.org) for more details. (If you have a noteworthy story about a past vehicle inspection experience you'd like to share, I'd also love to hear from you.)

Because the state’s car inspection process is a little bit complicated — and we want to make sure we understand it from all sides before we give you an answer — it might take some time to fully investigate. In the meantime, we’re also starting to tinker away on finding answers to some of the other questions you’ve submitted.

If any of this prompts you to ponder your own questions about New Hampshire, feel free to send in your own right here. You can learn more about "Only in New Hampshire" and peruse the questions submitted so far on this page.

"Only In New Hampshire" Voting Round, February 2017 (431 votes total)

  • Why do we put up with the onerous yearly auto inspection? Other states, including California, don't have it. (25.5%)
  • How did N.H. counties get their names? When I first moved here, I thought Coos was pronounced the way a baby "coos" not "Co-Os." (23%)
  • Apparently the 2000 census had three people living in Livermore, but none in 2010. What happened to them? (20.4%)
  • What's up with the "Chicken Farmer I Still Love You" graffiti out in Newbury? We pass it on our way to Sunapee, and I've always wondered. (16.2%)
  • On the on-ramp on I-93, there's supposed to be a "magnetic phenomenon" where you go uphill when in neutral. Is it real? (14.9%)
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