Legislature passes repeal of mandatory vehicle inspections

Photo courtesy of Stux via Pixabay, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Mandatory vehicle safety inspections in Utah may now be a thing of the past thanks to the Legislature passing a bill to repeal those inspections Wednesday.

The bill applies to noncommercial vehicles and repeals the inspections as a requirement for annual vehicle registration. The added dollar will be applied to the Utah Highway Patrol.

2017’s House Bill 265, “Safety Inspections Amendments,” sponsored by Rep. Dan McKay, R-Riverton, and Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, passed the Senate Wednesday with a 19-6 vote and the House Thursday in a 54-17 vote.

The bill now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for consideration.

While being presented on the Senate floor Wednesday, Henderson said Utah was one of 16 states that still requires vehicle safety inspections. None of the states that did away with the inspections saw an increase in accidents due to unsafe vehicles, she said.

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.”

According to the fiscal note attached to the bill, repeal of the mandatory vehicle inspections is anticipated to save Utah taxpayers $15 million annually. Conversely, vehicle inspection stations will experience a loss of revenue equal to that amount.

“The statistics from all of the states that have revoked and done away with these mandatory inspection systems, the statistics are out,” Sen. James Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, said Wednesday. “There is no safety increase for the states that have this. It’s like a remnant of some giant bureaucracy that doesn’t do anything.”

The mandatory safety inspections can also be an undue burden on low-income families who drive older vehicles, Dabakis said. The inspections can have relatively little affect on safety while wreaking havoc on budgets, he said.

Still, even new cars can have recall issues, Senate Minority Whip Karen Mayne, D-West Valley, said. As well, the only way some people will take care of car safety issues is if they are forced to under mandatory inspections. People have a responsibility to themselves and the public to drive safe cars.

“It’s for us all,” Mayne said. “Because we’re driving an instrument of death that can do harm.”

As a part of the bill’s passage in the Legislature, lawmakers also made a 2015 seat belt law permanent. It originally was a three-year pilot program set to conclude July 1, 2018. The law allows police officers to pull someone over for not wearing a seat belt, where previously they could not.

Keith D. Squires, commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety, issued the following statement on the Department’s behalf Thursday:

Over the past couple of years our Legislature has closely examined the state’s safety inspection program. We appreciate their support throughout this process and approve of this policy by the Legislature.

I’m confident that the continued enforcement of equipment violations, along with the educational efforts of the Utah Highway Patrol all law enforcement agencies throughout the state, will help ensure that motorists keep their vehicles in safe working condition.

The safety inspection repeal goes into affect Jan. 1, 2018. Vehicle safety inspections remain mandatory until that time.

A competing bill introduced by Sen. Don Ipson, R-St. George, proposed that vehicles be inspected at year six, in addition to inspections at years four, eight and 10, and every year thereafter. Ipson’s bill passed a Senate committee Jan. 26 and has been sitting in the Senate proper since Monday.

Each of Southern Utah’s senators and representatives voted in favor of repealing the noncommercial vehicle safety inspections.

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


Read more: See all St. George News reports on Utah Legislature 2017 issues

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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


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  • voice of reason March 10, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Praise the Lord! In the past 3 years I have had a number of different shops try to scam me into unneeded repairs, during safety inspections, that would have cost me thousands of dollars. Amazingly, each and every time, when I asked them to show the “manufacturer spec” they were failing me on, they were unable to provide any information and miraculously my car was deemed worthy of passing!

    • comments March 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      yep, ive dealt with the same type of bs several times as well. Finally founs a couple shops that i trust (knock on wood). Gov. Greedbert is too corrupt to sign the repeal i think, but if he does i’ll be pleased.

  • comments March 10, 2017 at 11:26 am

    will the auto service lobby pay a big enough bribe to Crapbert to not approve it? hope not

  • comments March 10, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    I have a feeling Gov Greedbert can be bought cheap, too. I bet if the auto interests pool together just $5-10,000 Gary Greedbert will kill the bill. Remember when he was caught on tape saying “I’m for sale” or something similar.

  • Bender March 10, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    RIP lower ball joints. You’ll never be repaired again.

  • .... March 10, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Yeah. Wooooohoooooo. !

  • Billy Madison March 10, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    This will financially hurt all of the shady inspection stations that rely on unsuspecting customers to pay for repairs that are not necessary. Yes, it does happen.

  • [email protected] March 10, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    While the periodic inspection was a double check on your oil change shop’s “multi-point inspection”, it did point out such problems as: cracked windshields.
    Frankly, this is a great opportunity for your local oil change establishment to offer a more comprehensive inspection, while your car is on the rack.
    Tire rotations offer an opportunity to measure brake pad thickness, and treadwear.

  • NotSoFast March 10, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Mr. Kessler, Can you elaborate on the remark you mentioned in paragraph 2 concerning ‘the added dollar will go to the Utah Highway Patrol’ ? I haven’t read the entire bill approval details and I wondering if this ‘dollar’ is a additional funding revenue for the Utah transportation needs. Thank you.

    • Mori Kessler March 11, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Money allocated to the Utah Highway Patrol from the $1 added the the registration fee will go toward the hire of new UHP troopers, cover overtime for troopers, as well as the purchase of equipment.

  • Proud Rebel March 11, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    No offense meant here to anyone, just a word of (unasked for,) advice.
    If you are being “victimized,” (I HATE that word,) by dishonest automotive shops, perhaps you are using the wrong automotive shop. Sometimes, in our haste to save a nickle, we wind up wasting fifty bucks.
    I’m not doing any advertising for anyone, but let me just say that if you are willing to pay an honest rate, to an honest shop, they are available! Look for a family owned shop that has been in business here for many years. They are out there. Oh, one more thing, as a long time, steady customer of the shop I go to, I have not actually paid an inspection fee in years. OTOH, they have caught problems before they could become catastrophic problems. And yes, I have personally verified that there was a problem there. Of course, you may have to actually spend a minute or two with a mechanic, underneath your car. Either in a grease pit, or on a lift.

    • comments March 11, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Yes, there are good ones out there. I know 3 that always gave me a good experience. It’s a shame that the fraudsters use the state inspection as a way to lure victims into their shops and prey on them. One thing I’ve learned: be weary of the places that offer discount coupons for the state inspection, and never ever go to any Big-o-tires in Wash Co.

    • comments March 11, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      and victimized is the word. These are predatory fraudsters. They probably prey on women and seniors the most. When I first moved here I had no idea so many auto shops would behave that way. I’ve dealt with plenty of bs with price gouging on repairs and such, but the extent of outright fraud was something i was not expecting.

    • voice of reason March 11, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      The trouble is, the shops enter all “inspection fails” into a central computer system. If you are new to town and find yourself in the wrong shop and they fail you in an attempt to drum up business (like I did) any other shop you go to with that vehicle is automatically flagged for that failure. My experience was once it’s in the system, there is no way around it. In my case, I went back to the original inspection location with printed copies of the manufacturers service manual, Utah Safety Inspection manual and the number for my attorney and explained to them that they could either test the part the way the Manufacturer specifies or discuss things with my attorney. The shop owner apologized to me and gave me a passing inspection certificate.

  • RyanNerd March 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Of course part of this bill seals the the stupid seat belt law — which only purpose is to fill the government’s coffers with the money of the citizens. So it’s not all rosy and bright. Why should I have to pay a fine for the victimless crime of: not wearing seatbelt???

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