If you are a commercial vehicle driver, you are probably more familiar with “spot” inspections than other drivers. There is a statute that does give law enforcement the authority to set up and inspect the equipment of even personal vehicles, however.
K.S.A. 8-1759 allows Kansas Highway Patrol Officers to set up “spot” inspection stations to check on the mechanical condition and equipment of any type of vehicle. The inspections cannot “unnecessarily inconvenience” a driver by extended detours, unnecessary delays or any other unreasonable cause. Any driver not submitting to an inspection that meets these requirements can be charged with a misdemeanor.
While these inspections do not seem occur with heavy frequency, it seems the Kansas legislature wants to give Highway Patrol Officers the authority and discretion to inspect vehicles they believe might have defective equipment or might be unfit to use on the roadway. Perhaps knowing that a driver might come across a spot inspection site could work towards having a deterrent effect to make sure drivers have their cars in working condition.
For prosecutors, proving a driver did not stop at an inspection site seems to fall under another strict liability offense. There do not seem to be any defenses set out in this statute regarding when a person may not stop, but has an excusable reason for not stopping. It seems if evidence can be presented a driver did not stop, the case would be set for a prosecutor.
For the defense, one could argue the requirements of the spot inspection site do inconvenience the driver. What is an unnecessary inconvenience? For some drivers, any delay time could be argued as an unnecessary inconvenience. What type of detour would be too extended? One could also worry, much like DUI/DWI check point stops, that these spot inspection sites could be pre-textual stops in order to attempt to search cars for further illegal activity.
If you have submitted to a spot inspection as a personal driver, feel free to leave a comment. Until next time, drive safe!