Shared from the 11/2/2017 The Providence Journal eEdition


DMV proposes $250 car inspection late fee

Though it could raise $2.5 million per year, state says goal is to bring more vehicles into compliance


The DMV is notifying motorists that their vehicles are overdue for inspection.

PROVIDENCE — The cost of procrastinating on your Rhode Island vehicle inspection could soon be going up.

Enabled by the new computer system that launched over the summer, the state Division of Motor Vehicles is now looking to slap a new fee on inspection scofflaws and raise $2.5 million per year in new revenue.

The proposed $250 fee would be required to restore a car or truck registration suspended for failure to get an inspection. Since the computer system went live July 1, many vehicle owners have already received notifications from the DMV telling them their inspections have lapsed.

“Since the implementation of [the new computer], the DMV has been able to systematically identify vehicles that have not complied with inspection requirements and generate suspension notices for those vehicles,” the Department of Revenue wrote in its annual budget request to Gov. Gina Raimondo. “The DMV will begin charging a registration reinstatement fee for all registrations that are suspended for failing to comply with state inspection requirements.”

The DMV wants to begin collecting the new fee Jan. 1 and include it in Raimondo’s revised 2017-2018 budget proposal. The DMV request says the state is already authorized to have a reinstatement fee, so no new legislation is required.

The fee is among the revenue sources state officials are considering to help deal with Rhode Island’s persistent structural budget deficit and to close a shortfall for the next fiscal year projected at around $240 million.

But DMV officials say the fee proposal is intended to keep the roads free of unsafe vehicles, not to make money.

“It’s not a revenue generator; it’s an incentive to comply with the law,” DMV spokesman Paul Grimaldi said Wednesday.

Even with the new computer system, collecting an additional fee will require two new tellers and an appeals officer, at an annual cost of $246,000, according to the budget request.

The new fees won’t change things too much for the garages and repair shops that do state inspections and automatically transmit the results to the DMV.

At BTS Tire & Service on Pawtucket Avenue, in Pawtucket, manager Richard Carlone Wednesday said the new expired inspection notices do appear to be making motorists more punctual about their inspections.

“I think [drivers] are reacting faster because the notices are coming out a little faster,” Carlone said. “When the new system went online, more people started getting those letters.”

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