New York state law requires that all vehicles registered in the state submit to safety inspections and emissions testing on an annual basis. The inspection station will tag the vehicle with a window sticker showing the date of the last inspection; if the inspection tag expires, the vehicle owner can get ticketed.
NYS Safety Inspections
New York is one of the many states that require all motor vehicles registered therein to submit to annual safety inspections. The inspections must be made either every 12 months or when a vehicle is sold or transferred to someone else.
The inspections are performed at licensed inspection stations, which conduct a review of the vehicle's vital equipment.
NYS Emissions Testing
At the time of the inspection, the vehicle must also undergo emissions testing unless it falls under one of the exceptions, which include vehicles less than two model years old or more than 25 model years old. Emissions testing is done to ensure that the vehicle meets the minimum standards under the Clean Air Act.
Penalties for Expired Inspection Tags
When an inspection and emissions testing is complete, the inspector issues a sticker, showing the date of the inspection, to place on the front windshield. The sticker will expire in 12 months or at the time of transfer if the vehicle is sold or given away.
If the sticker expires, the owner could be ticketed. If the sticker expired within the last 60 days, the ticket will be $25 to $50; if the sticker is more than 60 days expired, the ticket will be between $50 and $100.
If there is no sticker, the fine is between $50 and $100, plus a state surcharge of $88. The surcharge could go up to $93 in certain towns or villages.
Inspection and Testing Extensions
In limited circumstances, a vehicle owner may be able to obtain a temporary inspection sticker in NY, extending the time on a prior inspection. Extensions are only available to those who either are not in the state at the time the inspection expires or those who buy a vehicle from a private seller.
Extensions for New York Vehicles in Other States
If a vehicle is registered in New York but is going to be out of state when the inspection sticker expires, the owner can apply with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to obtain an extension.
The owner must first check with the authorities of the current state and make sure an extension sticker will prevent a ticket. If the state law allows it, the owner must send certain information to the DMV's Bureau of Consumer and Facility Services, P.O. Box 2700 ESP, Albany, New York 12220-0700. This information should include:
- The owner's name and the address out of state where he receives mail.
- The year, make and plate number of the vehicle.
- The expiration date for the current inspection sticker as well as the sticker number.
Obtaining the Extension Sticker
It could take two weeks to receive the sticker by mail, and the owner must obtain the sticker before returning to New York. The sticker should be kept in the glove box to show local authorities while out of state.
Once back in New York, the owner will need to write the date of return on the sticker and affix it to the windshield. She must then get the inspection within 10 days of that date.
Extensions for a Private Party Purchase
When a vehicle is purchased from a private seller (that is, someone who is not a registered dealer of motor vehicles), the inspection issued to the seller is no longer valid, even if it was only a short time ago. When the buyer registers the vehicle in his own name, he will receive a 10-day inspection extension. The 10 days begins on the date of registration, and he must obtain the inspection within that time.
There is no grace period after an emissions and inspection sticker expires; however, the vehicle owner may be able to obtain an extension in certain situations.
- Findlaw.com: N.Y. VAT. LAW § 301: NY Code - Section 301: Periodic Inspection of All Motor Vehicles
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: New York State Vehicle Safety/Emissions Inspection Program
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: About New York State Inspections
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: New York Vehicle Inspection Program (NYVIP2)
Rebecca K. McDowell is a creditors' rights attorney with a special focus on bankruptcy and insolvency. She has a B.A. in English from Albion College and a J.D. from Wayne State University Law School. She has written legal articles for Nolo and the Bankruptcy Site.