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Mass. RMV launches updated vehicle inspection program

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles announced Monday that its updated public motor vehicle testing inspection system is operational throughout the state.

All service stations that installed the new “state-of-the-art testing equipment” are now conducting public vehicle inspections on the new system, the RMV said.

New still-photograph cameras, wireless testing equipment, improved workstations, sticker technology that prevents fraud, and tablets that RMV staff use for real-time reporting on station and inspector compliance area are all components of the “enhanced” Massachusetts Vehicle Check Program, the RMV said. The use of video cameras will also be integrated into inspections in January.

And while the testing equipment has been updated, the safety and emissions inspection process and vehicle requirements have not changed.

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“The Registry of Motor Vehicles is pleased to implement key upgrades to the Auto Emissions and Safety Inspection Program,” Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney said in a statement. “The purpose of the inspection program technology including the introduction of cameras is to further ensure that only safe, non-polluting vehicles are on Massachusetts roadways. Motorists will not be impacted by the changes to the inspection process, as the items on a personal vehicle checked now are the same items checked by inspectors prior to October 1.”

Service stations will now use cameras to ensure accurate inspections, document the status of vehicles being inspected, and allow for video conferencing for inspectors if they need technical support, the RMV said. Vehicles arriving for inspection will have photographs taken of their VIN, odometer, front license plate, and back license plate. Staff members conducting the inspection will also be photographed.

“The inspection network is up and running” as of Monday afternoon, MassDOT spokeswoman Jacquline Goddard said in an email. And, while some service station owners requested help with the sticker printing process on the new system Monday, “they are being helped over the phone,” Goddard said.

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The new cameras and updated equipment cost service stations $5,810 per workstation. For stations offering heavy duty vehicle inspections, the cost is $8,141.94 per workstation, the RMV said.

The program updates come as the state transitions to a new system vendor, Applus Technologies, after the previous contract for Parsons Technology expired at the end of September.

The Vehicle Check Program is funded by a $35 fee paid by vehicle owners at the time of inspection, around $23 of which is kept by the service stations conducting inspections. The remainder of the fee covers additional program costs.


Ben Thompson can be reached at ben.thompson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Globe_Thompson