Thanks to Matt Lamontagne of Leo & Sons Auto Repair in Lawrence, who alerted us to a change in the Massachusetts RMV’s Safety Inspection Regulations. A notice was posted to the safety inspection dashboard available to licensed inspection shops that reads:

RMV’s regulations for safety inspections have been revised, including requirements for airbags.   

Effective immediately, only vehicles 10 model years old and newer are subject to airbag requirements during the annual safety inspection.   

Per the regulations, you can no longer fail model year 2007 and older vehicles if the airbag light is on, or if the airbag is missing or has been deployed.   

Until the workstation software can be updated, you must mark model year 2007 and older vehicles as “Pass” for the airbag, regardless of its condition.   

If a model year 2007 or older vehicle would otherwise fail the airbag part of the inspection, you need to indicate the following in the Comments:

Airbag check exempt per 540 CMR 4.04 (15)

Since this change to the safety inspection has not yet been publicized, this inspector comment will make it clear to motorists why you indicated that their vehicle passed its airbag check.   

Model year 2008 and newer vehicles are still subject to airbag inspection requirements.  

Look for a description of the other changes to RMV’s safety inspection procedures in the coming days once guidance to inspectors regarding these changes has been developed.


This is a significant change in airbag compliance. Previously, all airbags, no matter how old the vehicle, were required to pass inspection or the vehicle was failed.

Matt believes this is a big problem for shops and consumers. He writes, “Besides the obvious public safety concern, the revised regulation is going to hurt the bottom line for a lot of shops in the aftermarket, mine included.”

What do you think? Will this “free pass” affect the volume of airbag repairs or replacements in your shop? Will it compromise vehicle safety?  Let us know your opinion by emailing


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