House votes to ease auto safety inspection mandate
The Utah House voted for a compromise Friday that would reduce the number of required safety inspections on cars less than 12 years old in exchange for adding more Highway Patrol troopers on the roads.
Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland, had been fighting for his HB298 for days, but broke through Friday evening when it was approved 52-18, as some of the bill's most vocal critics became supporters. It now moves to the Senate.
"We were able to survive with no bloody noses," Rep. Richard Greenwood, R-Roy, said. "I still have all my teeth."
Under the bill's provisions, vehicles less than 12 years old would get a safety inspection in the fourth, eighth, tenth and 12th year. After that, safety inspections would be required every year.
By having fewer inspections, the Utah Highway Patrol would be able to redirect seven troopers from that division to patrol the highways. The new measure will also ultimately add 13 new troopers by appropriating $882,000 from the general fund for six of those troopers and $315,000 from a transportation fund.
The money would be raised by hiking vehicle registration fees by 94 cents.
Dougall had noted only 17 states required safety inspections and had warned that inspections were a diversion from the real danger.
"The greatest threat on the road is the driver, not the vehicle," he said.
But he agreed to the compromise because of the additional troopers.
"I believe getting more patrolmen on the road and turning down the inspections program is in the best interests of the citizens," Dougall said.