A mechanic services a car engine

Human beings have a tendency to put off important things until the last possible moment. This is especially true when it comes to our vehicles. Many Americans simply don’t get repairs done on their cars until they are on the verge of breaking down. This is why safety inspections are so important. Currently, Utah requires passenger vehicles to pass a safety test in order to stay registered on the road. However, there are some in the state legislature who believe that this is a waste of valuable resources. Here is some information on the the current debate around safety vehicle inspections in Utah.

HB 319

State Representative Norm Thurston, R-Provo, put forward a motion to eliminate the safety inspections program from HB 319, which is a transportation safety bill. Other than the safety inspections program, the bill largely refers to vehicle regulations of what is street-worthy in the state, or how emissions programs for vintage vehicles are treated. The proposed changes to the bill would cause amendments to sections 12-51, 41-1a, 41-3, 41-6a, and 53-8. For more information on the specific language, check out the state bill here.

Do safety inspections work?

This current debate in Utah’s legislature comes down to one important question: do safety inspections save lives? According to the bill’s sponsor, Norm Thurston, the answer is that they don’t. According to Thurston, the bill doesn’t actually improve driving safety, as the amount of cars that fail the inspections are incredibly low. However, this is only part of the story. Currently, about 2% of vehicles fail safety inspections, statewide. If you include the status of ‘work performed to pass’, then the numbers look a lot different, as this includes around 12% of vehicles inspected. Due to the fact that many vehicle owners will put off much-needed repairs, this gives a streamlined process to make sure that a vehicle is safe to drive.

Cost to Utah taxpayers

Currently, the state pays around $1 million on the safety inspections program. This is money that some people believe could be better spent on other programs to keep people safe. However, due to the effect that safety inspections are able to improve vehicle repairs, this is a low price to pay. While it is hard to work out the exact numbers, countless accidents are prevented on the roads at the price of only about $15 per taxpayer.


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