General Laws

Section 7A. The registrar shall establish rules and regulations providing for a periodic staggered inspection of all motor vehicles; provided, however, that the periodic inspection for motorcycles shall not be staggered and shall run from June 1 of each year until May 31 of the following year, inclusive. The registrar shall establish rules and regulations to govern the annual safety and emissions inspections of low-speed motor vehicles which shall ensure that the safety standards established by 49 C.F.R. ? 571.500 are being complied with, that all required equipment is in good working order, that the slow moving vehicle emblem is properly displayed and that the vehicle meets the required emissions standards, as applicable, under state law. The registrar may adopt additional standards pursuant to section 7 to ensure that other parts or components of the vehicle, as equipped, are in good working order and that the vehicle is safe to operate.

The registrar shall establish and implement an ongoing quality assurance program to detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the inspection program. The quality assurance program shall include, but not be limited to, overt and covert audits of inspection facilities and inspectors, audits of data from inspection equipment, evaluation of quality control records and procedures and audits of consumer complaints and responses to such complaints.

The standards and requirements for the emissions component of the inspection shall be established by the commissioner of environmental protection, in consultation and coordination with the registrar, pursuant to sections 142J and 142M of chapter 111 or the rules and regulations made pursuant thereto.

Said commissioner shall, in consultation with the registrar, establish rules and regulations which shall determine and identify the motor vehicles which shall be subject to the emissions component of the inspection and shall notify the registrar of such determination.

In addition to the emissions testing requirements, the rules and regulations for the periodic staggered inspection established hereunder shall include, but not be limited to, an annual maintenance inspection to determine the proper and safe condition of the following: brakes, stop lamps, lights, directional signals, horn, vehicle identification number, steering and suspension systems, glazing, windshield wipers and cleaner, number plates, tires, fenders, bumpers, external sheet metal, reflectors, splash guards, chock blocks, safety belts and exhaust system. The registrar may waive, by written document, certain inspection requirements if any such waiver furthers the public interest or is based on technological development and does not compromise the public safety; provided, however, that for motor vehicles one model year old or less, the registrar may require that the initial inspection mandated by this paragraph be performed at the end of the first full year of registration.

The registrar shall establish rules and regulations providing for the inspection of school buses or buses operated under a certificate, license or permit issued in accordance with the provisions of chapter 159A which are used for the transportation of school children to and from school and in connection with school activities, other than buses used simultaneously as public common carriers of passengers or designed primarily for mass transportation, within seven days of the date on which the vehicle is first registered to a new owner and during the fall, winter and spring. The first inspection shall be in the months of August and September, the second inspection shall be in the months of December and January and the third inspection shall be in the months of April and May. The semiannual safety inspection for those vehicles regulated by section 7D shall be inspected during the fall and winter, the first inspection during the months of October and November and the second inspection during the months of February and March. Such inspections shall be in addition to the periodic staggered inspection as required by this section.

The secretary of administration and finance, pursuant to the provisions of section 3B of chapter 7 and based on a recommendation of the registrar and said commissioner, shall determine the amount to be charged for the periodic staggered inspection of all motor vehicles required hereunder; provided, however, that the fee charged for such inspections shall be sufficient to offset fully the costs of administration and implementation of said inspection program incurred by the department, the registry and the inspection stations licensed pursuant to section 7W, including the cost of any contract entered into pursuant to section 142M of chapter 111; and provided further, that such fee shall be an annual charge which shall remain constant for each year of the two-year inspection cycle. Each inspection facility shall remit to the registrar a portion of the collected inspection fee in an amount established by said secretary in consultation with said registrar and said commissioner, which shall be deposited in the Motor Vehicle Inspection Trust Fund established by section 61 of chapter 10. All amounts credited to said fund shall be expended at the direction of the registrar in consultation with said commissioner, without further appropriation; provided, however, that such amount expended shall be used solely for the purpose of implementation, administration, oversight and enforcement of the inspection program instituted by the registrar pursuant to this chapter. The registrar shall, by agreement with said commissioner, transfer such moneys from said fund as may be necessary for the department of environmental protection to carry out its responsibilities pursuant to sections 142J and 142M of chapter 111 and Clean Air Act programs that support said inspection program. Pursuant to section 5D of chapter 29, the comptroller shall transfer to the General Fund the fringe benefit costs, including group life, health insurance and retirement benefits and any incidental costs incurred by said program. On or before December 1 of each fiscal year, the registrar shall file an annual financial plan for the projected revenues and expenditures of the account for the current fiscal year and for the subsequent fiscal year with the secretaries of public safety, administration and finance and environmental affairs and the chairmen of the joint committee on public safety and the house and senate committees on ways and means. All revenues credited to and all expenditures made from said fund shall be reported, by subsidiary, on the Massachusetts management accounting and reporting system and all personnel compensated from said fund shall be recorded on the human resources classification management system.

Each applicant to become a licensee under the provisions of section 7W shall remit a fee established by said secretary pursuant to the provisions of section 3B of chapter 7, based upon a recommendation from the registrar, before a license may be issued pursuant to said section 3B. Such fee shall be deposited in the Commonwealth Transportation Fund established in section 2ZZZ of chapter 29.

The rules and regulations promulgated by the registrar pursuant to this section shall provide that a motor vehicle which is not garaged or operated within the commonwealth during its assigned inspection period may be operated for 15 days after its return to the commonwealth if such motor vehicle bears satisfactory proof of adequate safety and emissions inspection from another jurisdiction. The owner or person in control of such motor vehicle shall obtain the required safety and emissions inspection within said 15 days.