Most states that no longer have a safety inspection have laws that allow the cops to pull you over and make you get the heap towed home right on the spot -- or tow it to the impound yard for you. I know they at least insinuated that when SC did away with the safety inspection farce years ago. Depending on who you knew, you could get anything inspected anyway. The charge was someting like $15 -- with $5 going to the inspection station (any local service station that applied -- it was more a way for them to get a little business than anything else, certainly wasn't worth the 20-30 minutes time!) and $10 to the state... heck, total may have been $10, there's been no inspection for about 10 years now! Anyway, someoine in the state gov figured out it cost more to administer the program than the state was getting, so they did away with it instead of raising the cost. I've only heard of a few stories where cars were pulled over and forced to call for a ride home. Most of the time they give you a ticket and tell you to drive home and park, only tow if you get caught again with the same violation. Always a few that try!
I worked a summer at a service station changing tires and doing inspections when I was 16! The inspection was simple enough -- make sure turn signals, headlights, horn worked properly, wasn't exceptionally loud, and the windows weren't cracked anywhere to impair visibility. A few other things -- mirrors in place and intact, and things like that. The owner came out and put the sticker on, and he gave everything a cursory glance when they walked in and asked for an inspection. If a car looked questionable he'd watch while I went through the steps. If it looked like it wasn't likely to pass he'd turn the owner away without taking the time to check. For him this was more a service for regular customers.