A disproportionate number of vehicles in Massachusetts have expired inspection stickers, and state officials are ramping up efforts to convince people to get required annual emissions and safety inspections.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday that it is teaming up with the state Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts State Police, local law enforcement, and business partners to remind customers of the requirement. The RMV says there are more than 584,000 registered vehicles in the state with expired stickers. That works out to about 10.8 percent of the 5.4 million active vehicle registrations in Massachusetts.
Driving a vehicle without a valid inspection sticker is a traffic violation that could lead to a fine and negative effects on individual insurance rates, but the RMV said it is asking law enforcement to use discretion at this time and help remind people that it's time to renew stickers instead of citing them.
"The emissions and safety inspection ensures motor vehicles operating in Massachusetts are safe, properly maintained, and not emitting excess air pollutants in our communities, which will improve air quality for us all," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "MassDEP, along with our program partners, encourages Massachusetts residents to renew their stickers to ensure that their vehicle emission systems are inspected yearly."
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When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, some extensions were granted to annual inspection stickers expiring between March and May of 2020, but those extensions have expired and officials said Wednesday that no further extensions are planned. There are 1,800 local inspection stations in the state.
Acting Registrar Colleen Ogilvie encouraged people to make a plan to get their vehicles inspected and stickers updated.
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"Resources are readily available to help customers locate a convenient inspection station and guide them through the inspection process, following all safety and social distancing protocols to keep customers and inspection station staff safe," Ogilvie said.
RMV outreach, the agency said, will include reminders in registration mailings encouraging customers to "Check Ya Stickah."