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Q

I have my truck registered in Maine but I work in NH and have no way to get back and have it inspected. Is it legal to get it inspected in New Hampshire?


A

According to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), ME requires all motor vehicles to undergo a safety inspection once a year. Vehicles registered in Cumberland County are also required to undergo an emissions test. You can get a safety inspection at many local mechanics and auto repair shops that are licensed by the state to conduct safety inspections. Inspections are regulated by the Maine State Police.

The ME State Police Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit told us there is a 30 day 'grace period' as it pertains to expired inspection stickers in Maine within the first 30 days of expiration, not within the first 30 days of returning to the state. This means if can get the truck inspected in Maine within 30 days of your expiration you should be okay according to ME laws. You also can request a permit to operate your truck with an expired inspection to get to an inspection station in Maine. This is referenced in Title 29-A - Maine Motor Vehicle Statues. This portion of ME law (29-A 1759 Temporary permits and warnings) states:

1. Issuance - A law enforcement officer, an employee of a municipal police department designated by the chief, an employee of a sheriff's department designated by the sheriff, an employee of the Department of Public Safety designated by the Chief of the State Police or an employee of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles designated by the Secretary of State may issue a permit allowing operation of an uninspected vehicle to an inspection station for inspection.

2. Reconstructable vehicle. This section does not apply to reconstructable motor vehicles as defined in Title 10, section 1471.

3. Warning - The owner or operator of a vehicle operated with an expired inspection sticker during the first month immediately after expiration may not be issued a summons to court but may only be issued a warning. This warning must state that the vehicle must be inspected within 2 business days. Failure to comply with a warning is a violation punishable in accordance with section 1768.

Subsection 7 of Section 1768 of ME law notes that an owner or operator of a vehicle required to be inspected commits a traffic infraction if that person operates that vehicle or permits that vehicle to be operated without displaying a current and valid certificate of inspection or producing the certificate on demand of a police officer.

The Maine State Police told us that the State does in fact accept inspections from other states, for one year from the date of issuance. This can also be referenced in Title 29-A. Section 29-A 1752 of Maine Statues. Subsection 9 relates to your situation with your truck. This part of Maine law notes that a motor vehicle registered in this State displaying a valid certificate of inspection from another state or a federally approved commercial vehicle inspection program for one year after the date of inspection is exempt from in state inspection.

If you also need an emission test though that may be a problem since the ME BMV notes that any Maine-registered vehicle must be checked at a Maine inspection station for the emissions test.

For more information about motor vehicle inspections the Maine State Police said to call 207-624-8941 so you can discuss if a New Hampshire inspection sticker would cover what it needs to in your specific situation and how long once you are back in ME you would need to obtain a Maine inspection sticker.

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