Rep. Thomas Winfield, Rep. Stephen R. Ucci and Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian are prefiling legislation to prevent the Division of Motor Vehicles from slapping a $250 fee on top of the ordinary costs of a motor vehicle inspection for Rhode Island drivers who are late in having their vehicles inspected.

“A late fee that is nearly five times the cost of the inspection itself seems excessive. That kind of money can be an insurmountable expense for many people, and it will just prevent them from ever going back and getting their cars inspected. The result is uninspected and possibly unsafe cars on the road, and that’s counter to what the inspection process is supposed to accomplish,” said Representative Winfield (D-Dist. 53, Smithfield), who will be the prime sponsor of the bill.

Said Representative Ucci (D-Dist. 42, Johnston, Cranston, “Expense is already a reason some people put off getting their vehicle inspected. If they know they are going to have to put work into their car in order for it to pass and they don’t have the money, they are more likely to let their inspection sticker lapse. A $250 fee makes the inspection that much more unaffordable to them, and serves only to deter them from complying with the inspection law. While I applaud the DMV for identifying new revenue streams, I think this one weighs most heavily upon those who are already struggling.”

Said Representative Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence), “This bill is a way to help working Rhode Islanders, many of whom live paycheck-to-paycheck and need their cars to get to work. If they have to choose between a $250 late fee and expenses like rent, heat and food, there’s not much question what they’re going have to do. This fee is probably causing otherwise law-abiding Rhode Islanders to violate the inspection laws simply because they can’t afford to comply.”

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