More than 430,000 Massachusetts residents are in jeopardy of getting fined each time they drive their cars now that there are no more COVID-19 extensions for motorists with expired vehicle registration and inspection stickers.
There are currently about 580,000 motor vehicles (owned by about 430,000 people) in the state that have an expired inspection sticker, according to Massachusetts data.
A fine for having an expired inspection sticker can cost $40 for each infraction. It is possible to be cited for the violation by multiple officers in one day.
The greater penalty for not having up-to-date registrations and inspections, though, maybe that the assessed fines will lead to higher car insurance rates.
One ticket for not having a current inspection sticker can increase a person's car insurance bill for up to six years, according to MassAutoQuote, an auto insurance company.
Over the summer, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) extended the deadlines for people whose stickers had expired to bring their vehicles up-to-date. The move was meant to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
All of those extensions, except a few for commercial drivers, have now expired.
Massachusetts recently kicked off the “Check Ya Stickah” campaign to encourage residents to get their vehicle registrations and inspections up-to-date now that services are returning.
“Annual motor vehicle inspections are an integral part of helping ensure that vehicles traveling on roadways across the Commonwealth are deemed safe and not releasing dangerous emissions that can be harmful to individuals and the environment,” said Acting Secretary of Transportation and CEO Jamey Tesler in a statement.
For now, the Massachusetts State Police, the Department of Environmental Protection, and local police departments will, for the most part, not be assessing fines for expired stickers - yet.
According to the state campaign, officers are being encouraged to give out warnings for now, but at some point, fines will be assessed as normal.
Massachusetts State Police Colonel Chris Mason said that officers understand the hardship many people are facing.
“The Massachusetts State Police and local law enforcement are aware of the difficulties of prompt vehicle inspection renewal caused by the pandemic and agree that a reminder may be an effective temporary alternative to a citation during this current period,” Mason said in a statement.
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