Ok, so I’m going to temporarily ignore the heartache caused by the lack of comments on the previous post and move on in my life. Thank you to those who felt enough pity on me to leave a short comment.

I went to get my car inspected this afternoon. Unlike other states, New York doesn’t conduct vehicle inspections at the state-run DMV, rather they only license independent service stations to perform inspections. As I came back outside from the waiting room to claim my vehicle, I was initially shocked as I saw the new flash of red in the corner of my windshield.

“Crap. I failed.”


As I got into the driver seat, and picked up the waiting inspection report, I was cheerfully greeted with PASS typed in Times New Roman Bold, in three different locations, in three different point sizes – the largest having to be close to 36pt. Staring blankly at the page, sure that I was misreading the simple message of the report, my eyes slowly scanned the red sticker in my windshield. It wasn’t a FAIL sticker. It was a PASS.

New York State, in all their infinite wisdom, decided the 2007 inspection stickers would be red.

I’m not sure about the rest of the country, but in New Jersey, our neighbor to the south, when you fail inspection you get a big red sticker that says I FAILED MY INSPECTION. LOOK AT ME. Okay, maybe it just says INSPECTION FAILED. As embarassing as the red failed sticker may be, you can’t really fault it for being red. A passing sticker in NJ would be yellow, or green, or purple, or blue. Never red. Having never failed inspection as a NY resident, I don’t know how they handle it, visually.

What the bureaucrats in Albany fail to understand is that colors – most especially the color RED – actually have significant visual meaning to most, if not all, people. It’s not just some artsy fartsy colorful fantasy. It’s actually scientific. Color speaks a very important and accurately defined language all its own. It affects our brains on a subconscious level. I guarantee that if you saw a large octoganal sign painted red with the word GO at an intersection, you’d slow down drastically, if not stop altogether.

A stop sign in Mexico is going to be red. As it is in the UAE, China and New York State. Red means STOP. Red means NO. Red means DANGER. Red means CAUTION.

When it comes to vehicle and transportation signage, the color red’s visual language is not screaming the positive “look at me, I passed my vehicle inspection test”message. I think I may actually call the head DMV office in Albany tomorrow to inquire about this, if not complain a little. It’s my right. I vote.