If the inspection on your car has expired in the midst of all the closings and social distancing requirements associated with COVID-19, what do you do?
The answer, it’s complicated.
A press release from state Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger and Speaker of the state House Tim Moore states, “We continue to work with the Governor’s team to identify and resolve issues facing North Carolinians in this crisis. DMV [North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles] regulations are a particularly pressing matter that we have worked daily for several weeks on a bipartisan basis to resolve.”
The resolution the governor’s office and the legislature have devised is far from ideal, but the governor’s office has agreed not to enforce the regulation and the legislative leaders have agreed to pass legislation to retroactively extend the deadlines for inspections when the legislature is back in session.
So even though technically vehicles still have to be inspected, drivers are not supposed to receive citations for an expired inspection.
The press release from Berger and Moore states, “We support passage of legislation when the General Assembly reconvenes to retroactively extend vehicle inspection deadlines. Until such legislation passes, we support bureaucratic flexibility on compliance with the existing deadlines. Based on our communications with the Executive Branch, we understand that the Department of Public Safety and State Highway Patrol are doing just that by not prioritizing enforcement.
“This shared commitment by the legislative and executive branches provides North Carolinians’ certainty that the state government will provide this flexibility they need now and to act retroactively to alleviate DMV deadlines despite the current law temporarily in place.”
Providing “flexibility” may not sound like it is saying that the deadlines won’t be enforced, but Berger and Moore are saying that is what it means.
But if the legislature does extend vehicle inspection deadlines retroactively when it reconvenes, that should mean that a citation written by an “un-flexible” state bureaucrat would not hold up in court, if and when the courts are back up and running, which at the earliest will be June.