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Utah lawmaker pushes to bring back vehicle safety inspections

Teal Buchi performs an emission test on a vehicle at Craig’s Service Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. If approved, Sen. Karen Mayne's bill would require inspections like this one to include a check of head and tail lights. Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill working its way through the Utah legislature would bring back at least part of vehicle safety inspections, if approved by the state Senate. 

Sen. Karen Mayne, a Democrat and the Senate minority leader, sponsored a bill that would require head and tail lights be checked when drivers get their emissions tests done. 

“Highway patrol said they’ve seen over 1,600 crashes last year, and they’re all from malfunctioning cars,” Mayne said in an interview with Utah’s Morning News on KSL Newsradio. 

Those accidents represent just a portion of the total number of accidents in Utah last year. However, they resulted in seven deaths and the injuries of nearly 750 people. In addition to problems with headlights and taillights, Mayne said troopers cited bad tires, failed brakes and windshield wiper problems in those crashes. 

Senator: Partial safety inspections could save Utah lives

At a minimum, Mayne says, checking head and tail lights annually could help a lot. She believes adding at least partial safety inspections back to vehicle emissions testing would prevent crashes. 

“It’s easy, it doesn’t cost anything, and it really helps motorists out there to be safe as they go along — not even knowing if their lights are off,” she said. “When we have our emissions, why can’t they just check the lights? It’s just a safety check and a courtesy check, for that matter.” 

Mayne’s stand-alone bill, Senate Bill 93, is currently on the calendar for a second reading in the state Senate. If approved, it would then head to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

Eye on the Hill: Utah legislative session coverage

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