APCIA says veto "dangerous" House Bill

Association "disappointed" with governor

APCIA says veto "dangerous" House Bill

Motor & Fleet

By Kenneth Araullo

The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) has urged Utah Governor Spencer Cox to veto House Bill 144, citing serious concerns over road safety and potential confusion for drivers.

The bill, which recently passed through the Utah Legislature, has been met with criticism from the APCIA, with the latter calling it “dangerous and confusing.”

Lyn Elliott, APCIA’s vice president for state government relations, emphasized the responsibility of drivers to ensure the safety of roads by maintaining control over their vehicles and being vigilant of their surroundings.

Elliott expressed disappointment in the legislature’s decision, pointing out that HB 144 contradicts guidelines set forth in the Utah Drivers Handbook, which mandates drivers, especially those turning left, to take action to avoid collisions whenever possible.

“HB 144 defies common sense,” Elliott said. “Having the right of way does not mean you are not required to control your car or that you are entitled to hit things that get in your way.”

What does the bill say?

Here is what the bill says:

Section 1. Section 41-6a-903 is amended to read:

41-6a-903. Yield right-of-way -- Vehicle turning left -- Entering or crossing

highway other than from another roadway -- Merging lanes.

(1)The operator of a vehicle:

(a) except as provided in Subsection (2), intending to turn to the left shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle operator approaching from the opposite direction which is so close to the turning vehicle operator as to constitute an immediate hazard;

(b)about to enter or cross a highway from any place other than another highway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles vehicle operators approaching on the highway to be entered or crossed; and

(c) traveling in a lane that is about to merge into a continuing lane, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles vehicle operators traveling in the continuing lane and which are so close as to be an immediate hazard.

(2) The operator of a vehicle intending to turn to the left at an intersection is not required to yield the right-of-way to a vehicle operator approaching from the opposite direction if the vehicle operator approaching from the opposite direction fails to stop when required to stop by a stop sign or steady red signal at that intersection.

(2) (3) A violation of Subsection (1) is an infraction. 

Section 2. Effective date:

This bill takes effect on May 1, 2024.

What does APCIA think of the bill?

If enacted, the bill could undermine the fundamental principles of road safety by misinterpreting the right of way as a license for negligence, the APCIA suggested.

The association is also advocating for Governor Cox to consider the broader implications of HB 144 on road safety and to veto the bill to prevent what it views as a setback to the efforts to ensure the well-being of Utah’s road users. The association warns that the bill could lead to a dangerous misinterpretation of traffic laws, potentially increasing the risk of accidents.

Recently, the APCIA also commended California Insurance Commissioner Lara for the state department’s newly released catastrophe modeling regulations.

What are your thoughts on this story? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!