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Lawmakers remove requirement for vehicle safety inspections

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SALT LAKE CITY — A bill ending mandatory vehicle safety inspections cleared the Utah Legislature on Thursday, but not without a Senate amendment to increase registration fees by $1 and make wearing a seat belt a permanent primary offense.

The House voted 54-17 to approve the amendment — a change that the bill's sponsor, Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, called a good "compromise" to win support from lawmakers.

HB265 now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his consideration.

If the governor signs the bill, safety inspections will no longer be required beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

The additional $1 for registration fees will be used to pay for more Utah Highway Patrol troopers.

Supporters of the bill argued that only 16 other states require safety inspections, and none of those states that have eliminated the requirement have seen an increase in accidents due to unsafe vehicles.

"Despite a persistent lobbying effort from corporations who financially benefit from mandatory inspections, the Legislature saw through the protectionism and looked at the data — concluding, correctly, that no evidence exists to show that mandatory inspections lead to fewer vehicle failures and deaths," said Connor Boyack, president of the Libertas Institute.

Boyack encouraged Herbert to sign the bill, pointing out that the governor recently signed an executive order instructing agencies to "not impose unnecessary burdens on Utahns."

— Katie McKellar

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