Would Ending Safety Inspections for Cars Make Utah Roads More Dangerous?

When we are driving in Utah, most of us are not anticipating a serious car accident. However, traffic collisions happen without warning, and they can result in severe personal injuries. At the same time, most auto accidents are preventable, particularly when they result from an unsafe vehicle on the roadways.


Utah’s state car inspection program helps keep unsafe vehicles — automobiles that could cause a serious crash — off the roads. Yet the Utah legislature currently is considering a bill that would put an end to the inspection program. If vehicles in our state no longer are required to undergo yearly inspections, cars with serious mechanical issues could hit the highway.


Depending on the situation, driving an unsafe vehicle could amount to negligence and liability for a resulting car accident. At the Kramer Law Group, we are dedicated to assisting Salt Lake City area residents who have been in car accidents caused by another driver’s negligence.


Inspections Prevent Car Accidents Caused By Unsafe Vehicles

 According to a recent article in the Deseret News, a proposed bill, HB319, to end vehicle safety inspections in Utah will not be moving forward — at least for now. The Utah House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, the article makes clear, has “decided to put off HB319 for further study.”


Numerous businesses across the state of Utah that offer safety inspections were vehemently opposed to the bill for many reasons. Most significantly, however, shop owners emphasized that the inspections, which currently cost $15 per year, play a major role in preventing car accidents.


The owner of several Jiffy Lube locations in our state underscored that safety inspections commonly identify “faulty brakes and tires, which if not repaired lead to accidents,” according to the article. The shop owner invoked ideas of common sense, asking whether it is worth saving $15 per year “to risk one Utah life.” In short, required maintenance helps keep all motorists in Utah safer.


Currently, Utah does not require safety inspections for new vehicles. The safety inspection program is aimed at preventing unsafe vehicles from driving on the roads and causing traffic collisions. As the article notes, the law currently mandates safety inspections “for 4-, 8-, and 10-year old cars.” After a car is at least 10 years old, our state requires a safety inspection annually.


Legislators in Favor of Ending Utah’s Safety Inspection Program

Thinking about the significant outcomes of vehicle safety inspections, why would certain legislators want to halt the program? A recent article in The Salt Lake Tribune explains that the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, cited a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office that indicated “it can find no definitive evidence that state inspection programs reduce accidents.” The legislator also contends that the Utah state inspections cost residents a total of $25 million combined each year, and that money could be put to better use.


However, given the pushback from opponents of the bill, it has stalled and will be subject to additional study. Whether the issue of ceasing Utah’s safety inspection program will arise again remains to be seen. In the meantime, if you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, a Utah auto accident attorney can help. Contact the Kramer Law Group today.


Cell Phone Distracted Driving Crash Kills Man

A 56 year-old man lost his life March 15, 2016, in South Jordan, on 9800 South near 3800 West, when another car crashed head-on into his car. According to KSL.com, police believe that the 17 year-old driver of a Toyota 4Runner was texting at the time she went over the center line into the man’s lane of travel and crashed into him. Officers wrote in their report that they believed the teenager “was distracted by her cellphone.”

Distracted driving in Utah, unfortunately, is on the rise. According to the Utah Dept. of Highway Safety, in a nine-year span, over 45,000 crashes are believed to have involved a distracted driver in Utah. According to these same crash statistics, the population most at risk for driving while distracted are those in the 15-19 year age range. Sadly, this is becoming an epidemic.

Tragic crashes like these are hard to read about when we know they could have been easily prevented by simply resisting the temptation to be distracted by our cell phone. Legally speaking, a wrongful death claim can be brought by the family of the person who lost their life. Under Utah law, the spouse, children and parents are able to make such a claim. It is likely that the teenager lives with her parents and as such would come under her parent’s insurance policy.