New year brings an end to mandatory car safety inspections

Photo courtesy of Stux via Pixabay, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – As of Monday, mandatory vehicle inspections for noncommercial vehicles will be a thing of the past. Among the laws passed by Utah lawmakers during the 2017 legislative session, the law repealing the mandatory inspections takes effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Previously, Utah has been one of 16 states that required annual vehicle safety inspections. However, the author of the inspection repeal law, Deirdre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, said during the legislative session that none of the states that had done away with the inspections saw an increase in accidents due to unsafe vehicles.

Read more: Legislature passes repeal of mandatory vehicle inspections

“Just because we don’t mandate something doesn’t mean people don’t do it,” Henderson said, adding that people still change their oil, for example. “We want to keep our cars in good working order. We want to be safe.”

The annual $15 vehicle inspections check the brakes, headlights and windshields. The cost has been argued to be a burden on low-income persons and families that drive older-model vehicles.

The repeal of the mandatory inspections is projected to save Utahns an estimated $25 million annually, according to a financial analysis of the new law. Conversely, vehicle inspection stations will experience an equal loss of revenue.

Under the new law, vehicle registration fees on certain vehicles will increase. Money from the increased fee will go to the Utah Highway Patrol to help cover the costs of new hires, overtime pay and new equipment.

The new law also makes permanent a temporary 2015 seat belt law allowing police officers to pull over drivers for not wearing a seat belt. Prior to the 2015 law, not using the seat belt was a secondary offense, meaning the officer had to pull a car over for some other reason that was considered a primary offense.

While the safety inspections will be done away, individual counties are still allowed to require regular emissions tests for vehicles.

Read more: Gov. Herbert officially makes mandatory safety inspections a thing of the past

Prior to being signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert, the inspection repeal bill passed the Utah Senate by a 19-6 vote and the Utah House by a 54-17 vote.

Southern Utah Reps. Walt Brooks, Merrill Nelson, Brad Last, John Westwood, Mike Noel, V. Lowry Snow and Jon Standard, along with Sens. Evan Vickers, Don Ipson, Ralph Okerlund and David Hinkins each voted in favor of the repeal bill.

Brooks was among the Utah House co-sponsors of the repeal law.

St. George News reporter Joseph Witham contributed to this article.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • DRT December 30, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Once again, Utah takes a giant step backward. Since you lawmakers allegedly are so worried about the cost of an inspection being a burden to low income people, why don’t you cut registration fees by fifteen bucks?
    We have enough problems with people that ignore driving rules and regulations. Now we’re going to have them driving vehicles that have not had basic maintenance, such as working brakes, headlights and taillights.
    This makes me ashamed that I have been voting for Last all these years and have supported Ipson.

    • uprightandmovingforward December 30, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Less than 1% of accidents are cause by vehicle equipment failure. Over 90% are the result of driver error or driver distraction. No need for safety inspections. Just need law to get rid of stupid drivers. Or we can use gun control supporters logic and just outlaw cars altogether since cars kill people. Cars kill about 280 people per year in Utah while guns kill about 50. Come on Dems why don’t you outlaw cars!!!

  • youcandoit December 30, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Part of their decision was due to the fact that they busted repair businesses of gouging people scamming people. I busted a place they tried telling me I needed new brake lights 600.00 job. I took my car home and it was only a fuse. I noticed during the mechanic inspecting my car he had my trunk open and shaking something I had a bad feeling. They lost my business.

    • comments December 30, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      That was the problem with it that I found was corruption. You had places using it to create business for themselves–a lot of it fraudulent. For a program like it to work without fraud there needs to be places doing the actual inspection that have no interest in the auto repair business. I had at least 3 places over the years try to rope me into work that I didn’t need done. Most of the others just slopped thru the insp. is a hurry to make a quick $15 in about 3 mins. There was 1 or 2 places I felt did a thorough insp, and seemed like they really cared about the safety of the vehicles they checked. I’m glad to see it go, but it could’ve been a good program had it been implemented differently.

  • Shane December 30, 2017 at 11:18 am

    most of the inspection stations around this town have kids out of high school doing the inspections working under the licensed inspector they have a quota so not everything gets checked out for $15 lots of stuff that needs to be addressed gets overlooked.

    • comments December 30, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      That was my experience. They either rushed thru it in about 3 mins or if they wanted to drum up business for themselves they’d really fish around hunting for some excuse not to pass the vehicle. The latter usually happened when the insp. itself was discounted with a coupon. I’d had a hole in a muffler that was tiny and it had been passed about 5 times over the years, but one place wanted to drum up business and wouldn’t pass it because of a tiny little hole. Ofc they wanted to sell me an entire exhaust system replacement for like $400. I went and found a welder and had the hole fixed for about $20. I’m a guy that’s been around cars long enough that shops can’t pull BS on me or scam me for unneeded repairs. I can’t imagine the amount of BS they pulled on seniors or single women. Full disclosure, the only place I feel was outright predatory in their attempt at fraud was the Big O’ Tires on Sunset Blvd. Other places tried to upsell me or drum up business but I don’t believe they were outright frauds, Big O’ on the other hand are scamming predatory crooks, no joke.

  • mshaw December 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    What the real reason is that don ipson pwns 40 or 50 cars and probably does not want to pay a 15.00 inspection fee for each one

    • .... December 30, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      I knew somebody was going to say something stupid and it’s you !

  • Sapphire December 31, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Too bad they didn’t enact a law that anyone with smoke belching out of their vehicle, including diesels, gets a ticket and a fine. Our air quality in Southern Utah is getting as bad as up north. You can rarely see a blue sky anymore looking into St. George.

  • Caveat_Emptor January 1, 2018 at 9:59 am

    While most of us will not notice much of a difference, one less step to renewing registration every other year, this does make it easier for the guys driving the beaters to keep unsafe vehicles on the road. There were ways around the “old” safety inspection system. The diligent folks who do periodic oil changes at most shops will get a complimentary multi-point inspection with the oil change. However, while we do not care about the personal safety of the dimwits drivings unsafe vehicles, we do care about the damage they may cause to innocent drivers, or pedestrians. Unlikely we will see local law enforcement bothering to pull folks over, unless the unsafe condition is really obvious. Countermeasure: Drive Defensively.

  • comments January 1, 2018 at 10:57 am

    ” There were ways around the “old” safety inspection system”

    Care to elaborate? And yes, one of those quicky oil change outfits prob would do just as good of an inspection since most shops I encountered just hurried and slopped their way thru the insp in 3-5 mins anyway. Also, they never inspected trailers. I’ve seen hillbillies towing trailers around that look like absolute deathtraps. Also, it was every year for older vehicles. As i said above the program couldv’e been good, but I’d say it became a failure by the way it was implemented. I’m surprised the auto repair sector didn’t lobby hard to keep the program, because its been a huge cash cow for them $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    ” However, while we do not care about the personal safety of the dimwits drivings unsafe vehicles”

    I personally do care. How about when the “dimwits” let their kids drive the vehicles? How about folks who are simply clueless about auto upkeep–younger folks, single women, etc. You’re the one who is clueless I’d say………

  • MSLL January 4, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Well, I’m happy I don’t have to waste time and money, but I have regular car inspections. Maybe they should have mandatory inspections if the car is 8+ years to keep old or unsafe vehicles in check.

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