Massachusetts drivers with expired inspection stickers from March and April will now have until the end of May to get a new one, as the state’s inspection system remains down due to a malware attack on its software contractor.
The Tuesday announcement marks both an expansion and an extension of the grace period that officials instituted due to the ongoing technical issues, which previously allowed motorists whose annual inspections expired in March an extra month to renew. Now, drivers with expired March or April stickers will get until May 31.
The state has said it expects the system, provided by Wisconsin-based Applus Technologies, to be back online by this weekend. But the extensionwould still likely be a help to motorists, as there is sure to be huge backlog of vehicles in need of new stickers. Thousands of inspections happen across the state on a typical day, and the system has now been down for more than two weeks.
The state is also offering leniency on two other inspection categories. Vehicles that have been purchased since March 23 will have until the end of April; new vehicles are usually required to be inspected within seven days. Also, drivers who have failed an inspection will get an extra day added to their 60-day deadline for every day the Applus system is down, officials said.
Officials have said they may penalize Applus, whose contract with the state stipulates fines of $5,000 a day for severe technical problems, and have notified the company that a three-year contract extension approved in February may not be finalized if the problems persist. Governor Charlie Baker has also called on Applus to compensate auto shops and other inspection stations, which have not collected revenue from the stickers or needed repairs during the outage.
The outage has affected inspection in seven other states, according to Applus.