In March, Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill that officially eliminated mandatory safety inspections for vehicles in Utah. This means that, as of January 1, 2018, vehicles in Utah will no longer need to be subject to certain safety protocols, in order to obtain registration. House Bill 265, which outlines the new automotive rules, was put forward by House Representative Dan McCay, and was part of a large list of new bills signed by the governor on March 25th. The bill also increases the fees for emissions inspections to raise either $2.50 or $7.50 on certain years. Although nothing is set in stone, other registration fees might rise, as well.
Both sides of the debate around House Bill 265 were heated in the months leading up to the bill being signed. According to the governor’s office, they had received well over 200 calls and emails to veto the bill. Opponents of the bill said that this would make Utah roads more dangerous, since vehicles would no longer be subject to the stringent safety requirements that ensure that cars are safe enough to share public roads.
On the other hand, those who supported eliminating mandatory vehicle safety inspections argued that such measures cost taxpayers an unreasonable amount of money without actually providing safer roads.. Based on some estimates, eliminating these requirements will save Utah drivers an additional $25 million. On top of that, supporters of H.B. 265 say that these costs are overblown because mechanical errors only account for 3.8% of car accidents in our state. By contrast, states around Utah have already eliminated mandatory safety inspections. So the debate rests on whether $25 million should be spent on something that accounts for less than 4% of auto accidents.
Motor Vehicle Safety Impact Fund
Another aspect of House Bill 265 is that money will be put aside and allotted towards a Motor Vehicle Safety Impact fund that can help the Utah Highway Patrol better solve problems that lead to a greater portion of accidents, such as by hiring new troopers. The hope is that this new fund will offset any added danger to Utah roads by addressing other areas.