On Thursday, legislators in the Utah House passed a bill that would eliminate the requirement that vehicles undergo mandatory safety inspections.
HB265 was proposed by Republican Representative Daniel McCay. He says the current law requiring vehicle safety inspections doesn’t properly address the real causes of traffic accidents in the state.
"Distracted driving including the use of cell phones is what’s causing the real problems on our roads. Getting rid of mandatory vehicle inspections will actually help us with that. Because eliminating this program will allow at least six troopers to leave the desk and return to the road to help improve our drivers," McCay said.
McCay’s point was challenged by Republican Representative Lee Perry, who is a veteran officer with the Utah Highway Patrol. Perry said that each year 60,000 vehicles fail inspections because of serious safety concerns, and it would take an increase of 40 officers to make up for removing the safety inspection requirement.
"Just the first night of the session I can’t tell you how many cars that I had to go back to go back to work for, that I saw trying to go back into Sardine Canyon when it was closed with snow that didn’t even have 2/32nd let alone being snow tires," Perry said.
Republican Representative Derrin Owens described the current safety law as a form of governmental oversight, that essentially amounted to a tax. He spoke in favor of removing it.
"If you’re given the responsibility to drive a vehicle, you should know and be responsible enough to know if your tires are worn, if your brakes need to be repaired. You can feel that, you can hear it," Owens said.
Under HB265, commercial vehicles would still be required to undergo safety inspections. The bill passed with 45 votes in favor and 29 against. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.