rhode island oWinners of imported Japanese domestic market kei cars and trucks face new, unexpected challenges in keeping their ride road legal. State JDM is following Maine’s lead in canceling registration of Kei cars. But while Maine is clear why it’s revoking its registration, it’s difficult to get a straight answer from Rhode Island.
Responses to my post about Cancellation of Maine’s Imported Car Registration were grieving. Readers have confirmed that their own cars have gotten the kiss of death from Maine and to date, there really isn’t much to do about it. But among those messages was the warning that Maine is not alone. Rhode Island is also deregistering imported vehicles, but the logic is unclear and the state has yet to answer many questions.
Back in July, a reader named Casey received a letter in the mail from the Rhode Island DMV stating that her Suzuki Carry’s registration had been suspended indefinitely. It is a letter with the same words as Maine but it No explanation given:
Reason for suspension: D2 – Unsuitable motor vehicle.
looking for DMV’s site What does it mean, got zero results for it. KC seeks clarification from the state And he informs her that his kei truck is unsafe.
Chuck Woczynski, Host revival motoring The podcast received two letters, one for the Honda Acti and one for the Daihatsu Mira TR-XX Avanzato.
These letters state that pursuant to Rhode Island Common Law 31-2-2 and 31-2-15, the enforcement office of RI’s DMV is requesting Whoczynski to contact about their registration. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of nomination.
Rhode Island Common Law 31-2-2 And 31-2-15 Don’t explain why the vehicles are getting unregistered, but essentially say that the DMV and its investigators have the power to cancel the registration and confiscate the license plates. I have confirmed with a lawyer that these are still in operation today:
31-2-2 Subordinates and investigators. – The Administrator of the Division of Motor Vehicles shall appoint any subordinate which he may require for the proper performance of his duties. He shall appoint investigators who shall have the authority to examine the application for a motor vehicle license or registration to ascertain the truth of the statements made therein, to seize or recover the license or registration certificate and the number plate of any person To be. The license or registration must have been suspended or revoked, and to perform any other duties not inconsistent with law as the Administrator may direct.
31-2-15 Seizure of documents and plates. – The division of motor vehicles authorized to issue upon termination, cancellation, cancellation, or suspension of any registration card, permit, license, or registration plate, or which is fictitious, or which is unlawful or wrongfully issued has been done.
Woczynski says that when he followed up to the letter and reached out to the DMV, he was told that his kei cars were unsafe and that his license plates should be handed over to the state.
Casey and Woczynski thought they did the right thing. They Bought Cars Over 25 Years Old in Compliance The federal government’s infamous 25-year rule. their imported vehicles cleared customs And they also got shiny Rhode Island license locations. Woczynski says he has been registered in the state for three years and was renewed before the state demanded his surrender.
Unfortunately, even if you do all you can to please the federal government, the state has the right to decide that certain vehicles are unfit for use on its roads. Laws on imported vehicles vary by state. And some are friendlier than others.
But why is the state doing this? The answer has been excruciatingly hard to find.
If you try to search Rhode Island general laws, you won’t find anything that doesn’t cover kei cars. General Law 31-1-3 Types of Vehicles Kei does not exclude cars. The alleged broken laws are also not mentioned in the above letters.
Cay car owners in Rhode Island say emails go unanswered and when they get an answer on the phone, it’s that their vehicles are simply “unsafe.”
I decided to reach the state myself, contacting Paul Grimaldi, spokesman for the RI department that oversees the state DMV. I have also contacted other DMV officials, all of whom have not returned correspondence at this time.
Grimaldi confirms that residents are receiving these letters and are being asked to surrender the license plates of their imported vehicles. He says that why this is happening, it will be known only after the department completes the review. It’s been almost a month since then and at this time the DMV still has no response.
In the meantime, Woczynski provided me with an internal memo that was allegedly leaked by a DMV employee and given to one of his listeners. It states that the RI DMV is revoking registration not because of certain laws on its books, but because kei cars are built to different safety standards and not designed for American roadways.
I am not able to confirm the validity of this alleged leak at this time. I have reached out to Grimaldi regarding this memo and have not received a response at the time of writing.
If the memo is true, Rhode Island is using the same logic as Maine, But Maine actually changed its laws to reflect this.
Meanwhile, as . is reported by Drive, Rhode Island kei car owners are dealing with headaches and Answers vary wildly from state to state. Some have been asked to surrender their plates while others have been told they can continue driving on them for now. Others have tried to get their plate back without success.
Transparency will go a long way here. Maine responded quickly, saying it was now classifying imported vehicles as off-road vehicles, with updated laws for this. Rhode Island’s approach has so far brought up more questions than answers.
Thankfully, Rhode Island allows its residents to appeal individual DMV decisions to court. Some kei car owners have reported some success in taking this route, with the state allowing them to continue driving their cars.
But overall, the state has few explanations to do and until then, Rhode Island Cay car owners are left to figure things out on their own.
Note: This is clearly a huge waste of time and energy. Are there enough kei cars in Maine or Rhode Island to be worthy of state attention? Are they more vulnerable to other drivers than semi-trailers or dump trunks? Not at all Old cars are not up to today’s crash standards, are we taking them off the road? If you want to have this discussion with the people responsible for this crap, go ahead and call them or send them a fax. Phone: (401) 574-8999 Fax: (401) 574-8997-rc