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UT: New Utah laws involving pit bulls & uninsured drivers now in effect

Discussion in 'Breed Specific Legislation' started by Vicki, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    New Utah laws involving pit bulls & uninsured drivers now in effect

    Published: Thursday, Jan. 1 2015 4:50 p.m. MST

    SALT LAKE CITY — Of all the dogs in Utah, Pansy is one of the luckiest.

    She was given a second chance at life after being adopted from a shelter, and now, she can live in any Utah town her owner wants to.

    Pansy is a pit bull.

    Beginning today, a new state law says dogs can't be discriminated against simply because of their breed.

    "We believe all dogs are individuals and should be treated as such,†said Temma Martin, Pansy’s “person.â€

    Martin also works with Best Friends Animal Society, an animal group that worked with legislators to get this breed law passed.

    North Salt Lake, Smithfield, South Jordan, Springville, Duchesne, Delta, Fillmore, Morgan, Honeyville and Garland all had dog breed bans and restrictions.

    Now, those laws are no more.

    "Responsible pet owners should be able to have any breed of dog they want,†said Martin, who believes pit bulls get a bad reputation. “They really do. Unfortunately, a lot of people who look at these dogs base their perception of them on the very, very tiny percentage of them that end up in the news for doing something bad.â€

    Another law now in effect involves uninsured drivers.

    In the past, state troopers had the option to impound the cars of anybody who was driving without car insurance. Now, troopers have to impound those cars unless there's a safety concern.

    According to the Insurance Research Council, Utah has the fourth lowest rate of uninsured drivers in the country. But despite the relatively low rate, the sponsor of the new law, Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, says the new law is "a worthwhile price for the greater good" of making sure uninsured drivers don't cause a financial burden to others if they get in an accident.

    “I think it sends a message out that we have a serious problem whenever anybody drives a car that's uninsured and hits someone. Those people have no recourse because there is no insurance available,†Hillyard said.

    Several states allow impounding, but it's unclear if any others require it. Several cities in Texas, including Dallas, require police to tow the cars of uninsured drivers.

    It passed unanimously in Utah's state Senate in March, but only won approval by on a 38-31 vote in the House, with many Republicans voting against.

    One of those opposed is Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, who said he's worried about the accuracy of the uninsured driver database. He's had several constituents complain that they were pulled over because the database incorrectly showed they were uninsured.

    "These people, they had the proof. They were still cited. They still had to go to court," said Ray, who predicts there will be "a lot of unhappy people" once the law takes effect.

    He's concerned about misunderstandings such as a spouse or a child being pulled over despite not being the family member who pays the insurance, he said.

    "There's just a lot of ifs, and I'm not sure it's the role of government to say, 'We're going to take your car and impound it if your insurance isn't paid on it,' " Ray said.

    New Utah laws involving pit bulls, elections, uninsured drivers now in effect | Deseret News

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