Raimondo puts the brakes on DMV's $250 late fee

The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. (WJAR)

Outcry against a new fee from the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles pushed Gov. Gina Raimondo to halt its imposition.

There will not be a $250 charge to reinstate vehicle registration suspended for lack of inspections, according to the governor.

“I told them to hold off,” Raimondo said of the DMV. “You know, we weren’t planning to charge until January anyway. So, this gives the legislature time to come up with a better solution. So. I just said pump the brakes, hold off, don’t do it.”

The reinstatement fee was first put on the books in 2009, when lawmakers upped the cost for reinstatements for Driving Under the Influence, or refusing a breathalyzer test.

The fee for those infractions has been collected since then, but the DMV was not able to collect the inspection violation fees until its new computer system went online, according to a spokesman.

Once word got out that the fee would apply even to registrations pulled for lack of inspection, the objections began.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello agrees that the amount is exorbitant.

“These are regular folks that tend to have older cars. That have to spend a lot of money to get them inspected, and if they just don’t get it done in time another $250 can be substantial and sometimes devastating,” he told reporters. “This is a win for the citizens of the state. They spoke up. They let us know what they were thinking. We came together. I asked the governor to stop implementation until we can consider it next session.”

The governor said the request had a significant impact on her decision.

“They were the ones to pass this several years ago, before I came into office,” she said of Rhode Island lawmakers. “They want a chance to fix that, so I support that. So, I’m going to give them the time.”

Mattiello’s proposed solution is to have no cost at all for reinstating registrations lost to lack of inspections.

“Other registration reinstatements, such as DUI’s, chemical test refusal reinstatement fee, I believe should be $250, but currently on a reinstatement for an expired inspection sticker, there is no reinstatement fee and it’s going to stay that way,” he said.

The General Assembly session starts in January.

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