WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia on Oct. 1 is ending its safety inspection program for most private cars. 

The new policy will make the District the first jurisdiction in the mid-Atlantic region to discontinue all safety inspections for most private vehicles, the Washington Post reported. The money-saving move means that vehicles not used for commercial purposes will no longer have to prove they are road-worthy. 

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration and the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles persuaded the D.C. Council to approve the policy change in order to save $400,000. 

The change, however, has drawn sharp criticism from safety advocates and local mechanics who previously performed the inspections. 

"You have an entire generation that is woefully unaware of when a car has real problems," said John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. He said that 35 percent of inspected vehicles failed inspection last year in the District. 

But D.C. officials argue that there's no evidence the costly inspections had made roads safer. "It's a really burdensome requirement on drivers that has no effect," Lucinda M. Babers, director of the Department of Motor Vehicles, told the Post.