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December 21, 2009

New Motor Vehicle Inspection Law to Take Effect Jan. 1; Vehicles 5 Years Old or Less Will Be Exempt from Inspections

JEFFERSON CITY - A state law that goes into effect Jan. 1 will exempt some Missourians from having to get safety inspections for newer vehicles.

Beginning Jan. 1, motor vehicles are exempt from the safety inspection requirement for the first five years following the model year of manufacture.  For example, a car made in 2006 will be exempt from the safety inspection through 2011. 

Currently, the Missouri Department of Revenue requires proof of a safety inspection when vehicle registrations (license plates) are renewed.  Citizens presently have the option of renewing their license plates for one-year or two-year periods, so the need to obtain safety inspections for owners of newer vehicles will be minimized.  Under current law, brand new vehicles are exempt from the inspection for the model year of the car and the immediate year thereafter.  An estimated 650,000 vehicles will be exempt from having to get safety inspections in 2010 because of the enactment of the new law.

"The Department of Revenue wants to make people aware of the new law because fewer citizens will need to get their vehicles inspected," said Alana M. Barragán-Scott, director of the Department.  "This will also mean that many customers will need one less document when they renew their license plates.  However, the Department urges citizens to monitor the condition of their vehicles and get them repaired if they believe there are mechanical problems with their vehicles."

An inspection must be conducted at an authorized inspection station.  The cost of an inspection is up to $12 for cars and trucks and up to $10 for motorcycles, but the exact fee is decided by the management at each inspection center.  The inspection must be made within 60 days of the application of a title or renewal of license plates.

If a motor vehicle is sold, the new law still applies.  For example, if a 2009 car is sold to another person in 2011, a safety inspection will not be required.  Safety inspections of school buses and interstate commercial vehicles will not be affected by the new law.  

The current vehicle inspection law is in effect until Dec. 31, 2009, so most citizens who need to renew their license plates by the end of December will still need to have proof of a safety inspection whether they go to a local license office or renew online at www.plates.mo.gov

This bill does not affect the required emissions test in the St. Louis metropolitan area. 

For more information on safety inspections go to the home page of the Department of Revenue's Web site (www.dor.mo.gov) and find "Do I Need a Vehicle Safety Inspection?" under the Featured Links section, or go directly to http://dor.mo.gov/motorv/help.php#safety.