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.
“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.
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.
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