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By Brian McElroy, Washington, D.C. – As the Obama administration begins its push to install new cameras on Utah roads, advocates are pointing to a new bill that would allow motorists to record and share their video with law enforcement agencies.
The bill, HB 2310, by state Rep. Steve Chivers (R-Kanab), would give motorists a way to record their road conditions in order to be able to alert the authorities when their cars have been involved in crashes.
The legislation would also allow police to search for footage of any vehicle involved in a crash in order for them to be placed on a road-use advisory.
In order to make it legal, Chivers and the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) have to convince the Utah Legislature, which is currently considering whether to sign the bill into law.
The UHP has received millions of dollars from state lawmakers, including a $25 million grant from the Department of Transportation, which has given them $25.6 million since 2010.
But Utah is still fighting for its road-safety reputation after a series of crashes in the state.
In 2011, the UHP was called out for using excessive force on a group of motorcyclists.
The department said it was responding to a report of an injured motorcyclist who had crashed through a barrier on Interstate 25.
In 2013, two Utah drivers were found guilty of driving without a valid license and a fourth driver pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
In 2014, another Utah motorcyclista was arrested for speeding while intoxicated, and in 2015, a woman was charged with reckless driving after crashing her motorcycle through a stop sign and into a utility pole.
“I think that we have the potential for our roads to be safer and more efficient if we have more cameras on our roads,” Chivers said.
The Utah Highway Police and UHP have a long history of fighting for safety in the Utah state, and the new bill would make it even easier for them.
“The reality is, our roads are more dangerous because of a lack of cameras,” Chiver said.
“We have a number of people who are killed every year because of these cameras.
So there is a need to make sure we have a better picture of the dangers that are out there.
The bill is a way for us to do that.”
Chivers said that if the bill passes, he plans to introduce it to the U.S. House of Representatives in the near future.
He said he hopes that the Utah legislature will pass the bill before the new year, which falls on the day the first midterm elections of the new president take place in November.