Is Utah’s Vehicle Safety Inspection Program Really About Safety?

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Is Utah’s Vehicle Safety Inspection program really about safety or is it just about revenue for the state?

Last Friday as luck would have it a customer came in with a Toyota Winnebago Motor Home. I knew right away where this was headed. As always these kinds of jobs don’t fare well when brought in on a Friday and the customer needs it for the weekend. I explained this to the customer (who was very understanding about the situation) that parts may not be available for the work needed, especially because it is not your standard run of the mill vehicle. The complaint was a load noise in the rear brakes.

Once the customer left I proceeded to tear down the rear brakes. I learned quickly that the rear brake shoes were metal to metal and that this rig needed rear drums, yup you guessed it they were not available and they would be a special order with 3-4 days to get them. These brakes were the worst I had seen in a long time. I called the customer explained the situation to which they understood stating “We will make other arrangements for the weekend.”

Brake shoe

As I was buttoning up the job so that I could pull it out while waiting for parts I noticed that on the back of the vehicle was a temporary registration sticker. To have a sticker it requires you get a Utah Vehicle Safety Inspection. There is no way this had been inspected properly by taking off the wheels and drums to inspect the brake linings, I know because it took me extra time to remove the many layers of rust that had accumulated on the drums rusting them to the axle. This vehicle was extremely dangerous to those in the vehicle and others on the road.

I’m not one to rat someone out but in this instance I felt I had no option. The vehicle with this much weight coming down any steep long mountain pass was a hazard to everyone in the proximity and was downright dangerous. So I called:

Office of Highway Safety
5500 Amelia Earhart Drive, Suite 155
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116
Phone 801-366-6040

And to my surprise I got the “I really don’t give a @#$! attitude” from the person who answered the phone. I was told that if the customer was concerned they could call and report the findings. Really! I expressed my concern and stated that I have pictures to show and wasn’t trying to cause trouble for another shop as I work them daily but this needed to be addressed by someone other than myself. In short I was told there is nothing they can do about it. So I hung up shaking my head.

If you live in Utah pass this on and let’s get this stupid law repealed if it doesn’t stand for anything but taking money from our pockets.

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