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Car Inspection Laws in Massachusetts

Car Inspection Laws in Massachusetts

Car inspections in Massachusetts are commonly called inspection “stickers.” This yearly inspection ensures that vehicles are safe to drive on the roadways.

Every motor vehicle in the state is required to undergo this annual safety inspection. It is important to understand the requirements of these car inspections before taking your vehicle out on the road.

Many motorists do not know car inspection laws in Massachusetts. It is vital to comply with these safety regulations in order to avoid the possibility of legal penalties. The inspection laws in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are some of the most stringent in the nation.

If you have specific questions regarding the car inspection laws in Massachusetts following a car accident or other mishap, contact a trusted personal injury attorney. A legal professional will review the facts of your case and determine how Massachusetts’ regulatory statutes apply.

General Safety Regulations

General Safety Regulations

Each year, every vehicle in the state must be inspected for safety. Some vehicles must also be inspected for emissions standards. The specific regulatory requirements will depend on both the model and the age of the vehicle in question.

The sticker provides a month by which the vehicle must be inspected again. This ensures that all cars on the road have been checked at least once annually.

Cars that are newly registered in Massachusetts must have an inspection within seven days of the registration date. Failure to have a new vehicle inspected can result in a fine.

As of 2010, each citation for failing to have the vehicle inspected will result in a $50 fine. Inspections cost $29 and are available through most garages and fueling stations.

Emissions Requirements

Not every vehicle is required to have an emissions test. Typically, this requirement only applies to newer vehicles. 

The following vehicles must undergo emissions testing in Massachusetts:

  • Cars and light trucks manufactured in 1996 or later
  • Diesel trucks manufactured after 1997 and under 8,500 pounds
  • Vehicles that weigh between 8,501-14,000 pounds that were manufactured after 2007
  • Diesel vehicles that weigh between 8,501-14,000 pounds and were manufactured after 2008

This test checks vehicles for the following types of emissions:

  • Certain pollutants
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Nitrogen oxide

The Massachusetts emissions inspection only takes around three minutes to complete. There are over 1,900 locations that offer emissions tests across the state of Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) can administer ODBII tests on cars and trucks manufactured after the year 2000. This is a type of onboard diagnostic testing. 

Those vehicles made after the year 2000 are usually equipped with components that allow for a “monitor” test. This checks the vehicle’s components, subsystems, and primary emissions output.

The overseeing inspector will ensure that the key is in the vehicle’s ignition and have the motor turned off. They will also check to see that the vehicle’s data link connector (DLC) is in good working order. 

The DLC allows the inspector’s emissions testing equipment to communicate with the vehicle. When a system does not meet the required regulatory emissions levels, it will read “Not Ready.”

If a certain number of systems return a “Not Ready” reading, the vehicle will not pass the inspection.

Some diesel vehicles are not equipped with an OBDII system. In these cases, inspectors will use specialized equipment to measure the opacity of the vehicle’s exhaust.

An opacity test will reveal the level of pollutants in the vehicle’s emissions. 

Safety Inspections

Every vehicle in the state must undergo a road safety inspection annually. The elements that are checked include:

  • License plates
  • Brake systems
  • Exhaust systems
  • Steering
  • All lights and reflectors
  • Bumpers and fenders
  • Side and rear mirrors

Also, every window on the vehicle must be intact and in the appropriate place. Tires and wheels will also be inspected.

Vehicles that are driving on spare tires (also called “donuts”) will not pass the inspection.

If your car or truck is equipped with airbags, they must be installed and in good working order. Vehicles that do not have airbags are exempt from this part of the inspection.

Window tinting is also an important element of the Massachusetts vehicular safety checks. Tinting is only allowed up to 35%. If your vehicle has a window tint of more than 35% on the sides or back, it will not pass the inspection. 

Windshields cannot have cracks or fractures measuring longer than one inch in the area covered by the wipers. Also, windows cannot have cracks or fractures longer than two inches in any location. 

Circular window cracks are not permitted to be larger than one inch in diameter. Vehicles with more than one crack in the windshield will not pass the safety inspection.

Failing the Inspection

When a vehicle fails the state’s safety inspection, the driver is not permitted to take the vehicle on the road. This will remain the case until the problems with the vehicle have been addressed. 

Drivers are only required to pay the $29 dollar price for the initial safety inspection. Following a failed safety inspection, subsequent checks are free within the first sixty days.

Failing an emissions test is a separate matter. If your vehicle fails a required emissions inspection, the inspector will provide you with an informative brochure. This document will detail the steps you should take to resolve the problem to pass subsequent tests.

When you’ve failed an inspection once, further emissions tests will also be free for the sixty-day period following the initial test.

If you have been involved in a highway accident or other type of collision, it is vital to reach out to a skilled legal professional. The accomplished team at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP has a thorough understanding of the car inspection laws in Massachusetts.When you have been injured or sustained property damage as the result of another person’s negligence, you may be owed compensation. The attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, understand the difficulties that accident victims face and can handle any type of personal injury case.

Give us a call today at (617)-391-9001 to discuss the facts of your case through a free, no-obligation legal consultation. Whether you were injured by a car that wasn’t road-safe or you simply want to know more about the laws that apply in your state, we can help.

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