‘Like nothing ever happened’: Auto repair shop not seeing influx of inspections after RMV system outage

SE Mass

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) ─ Even though the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) had spent a week working to bounce back from a malware attack that impacted inspection sites statewide, one local repair shop tells 12 News he didn’t see a backlog once the system came back online.

The incident prevented vehicle inspections from occurring as the RMV worked to fully restore the system, forcing them to issue a grace period for those with expired stickers.

The RMV said of the state’s 1,720 public inspection stations, all but 30 were back online Saturday morning. Those 30, according to the RMV, experienced more complex technology issues.

Bayside Automotive owner Dave Lessard tells 12 News that, when he returned to his shop Saturday, “it was like nothing ever happened.”

“We opened up Saturday morning we’ve had zero issues, it’s been pretty flawless,” Lessard said.

Lessard said on average, approximately 300 cars a month come in for inspections, which makes up roughly 15% to 20% of his business. He said the shop has been a state inspection station for nearly 60 years.

“This is the longest I’ve ever seen this system down,” he said. “[Usually,] it might be a couple of hours. Two, three hours at most.”

Lessard said he has a machine that his employees plug into a vehicle to conduct the inspection. He said the machine talks to the RMV’s main computer throughout the inspection.

“If it can’t communicate, there will be a red symbol that will go up in the right-hand corner of the screen letting us know that it is not communicating,” he explained. “It won’t let us proceed with the sticker.”

Since the system went back online Saturday, Lessard said he hasn’t been seeing a back up of vehicles coming into his shop in need of an inspection.

“During COVID last year, anyone who had a March, April or June sticker was extended to the last day of July,” Lessard said, adding that the grace period issued due to the system outage hasn’t made much of a difference.

Lessard said he’ll most likely see a much higher demand for inspection stickers come July.

He also said overall, the pandemic hasn’t affected his business much because the automotive industry is considered an essential business.

“The COVID situation hasn’t really affected the automotive business like others,” he said. “We’re pretty lucky.”

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