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Vehicle Safety Inspection

In 1935, Utah became one of the first states in the nation to adopt a motor vehicle safety inspection law. This law was implemented to help promote traffic safety and greatly expanded the duties and responsibilities of the Utah Highway Patrol. Under its provisions, the Utah Highway Patrol was empowered to certify and issue permits to official inspection stations located throughout the state and to supervise their activities. These stations were to inspect and adjust brakes, lighting equipment, steering mechanisms, horns, mirrors, windshield wipers, and other equipment which related to the safe operation of motor vehicles upon the public highways. Vehicle inspections were completed by authorized private stations only during three months of the year. During this period of time all vehicles were required to be inspected. When a vehicle passed inspection a small orange tag, cut in the shape of the state of Utah, was affixed in the lower right-hand corner of the windshield. During the first official inspection period under this new law, June 15 to September 15, 1935, a total of 94,252 motor vehicles were cleared at 340 licensed inspection stations. During the second inspection period, March 1 to May 31, 1936, a total of 101,783 motor vehicles were inspected at 429 licensed stations. Vehicle owners were charged a fee of fifty cents for inspection and issuance of a certificate of inspection and approval. In later years, the period of inspection was designated from March 15 through June 15 of each year.

In addition, the legislature assigned the State Road Commission to work with the State Board of Education to adopt and enforce regulations about the design, construction, inspection, and operation of all buses used to transport school children. The Utah Highway Patrol was also given the responsibility of conducting these inspections. During the first inspection of school buses, conducted in October 1935, only 37 out of 366 buses were found to conform with the new regulations. On a second inspection, in November, 232 of 376 buses were approved. The 144 not conforming to regulations, only needed minor corrections or additions. The inspection of school buses continues to be a responsibility of the Safety Inspection Section of the Utah Highway Patrol, even to this day. With the implementation of the Uniform Traffic Code in 1931, the Drivers Licensing Law in 1934, and the Motor Vehicle Inspection Law of 1935, Utah became a leader in traffic safety.