The Maine Secretary of State’s Office says that all motor vehicle and trailer registrations, including temporary registrations, that expire during Maine’s current state of emergency caused by the coronavirus will be extended indefinitely.

Maine police departments, meanwhile, have also been directed to pause enforcement of expired motor vehicle inspections for the foreseeable future.

In an announcement posted on the Secretary of State’s website, the state said the extensions will apply to motor vehicle registrations issued by municipalities or the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, as well as temporary registrations that have been issued by car dealers.

“The State of Maine recognizes the needs of individuals, families and businesses for transportation, work and commerce during the emergency. These registrations can be renewed after the emergency ends,” the Secretary of State’s Office said.

Registrations issued by a city or town, including temporary registrations, will be extended 30 days following the termination of the state emergency that was declared on Wednesday by Gov. Janet Mills.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap on Tuesday ordered the closure of all Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices, including mobile units, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among his staff and members of the public. The closures will remain in place until further notice.

Dunlap is currently working with the Legislature on a plan to extend other essential items that may expire, including driver’s licenses and state ID cards.

In the meantime, Maine residents can access the department’s online services department to conduct other forms of business, including renewing a driver’s license, replacing a state ID card, ordering vanity plates, obtaining a driving record, or replacing a title. Motorists will not be able to obtain REAL ID credentials or new car registrations during the emergency.

Maine State Police Colonel John E. Cote has also directed police departments to relax state vehicle inspection requirements, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, which operate and monitor the vehicle inspection program. Cars with expired inspection stickers will not be targeted for enforcement.

“Don’t fret,” McCausland said. “You can get it once this crisis is over. This is not going to be an issue with Maine police.”

McCausland said loud exhausts, bald tires or other blatant safety violations will continue to be enforced.

“The vast majority of vehicles that need an inspection renewed will not fall into that category,” he said.

Staff Writer Matt Byrne contributed to this article.

This article was updated at 11 a.m. March 23 to add information about expired inspection stickers.


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