A Maryland State Trooper or other law enforcement officer may issue a Safety Equipment Repair Order (SERO) to the operator of a vehicle that is observed to be defective or not functioning in accordance with Maryland laws and regulations. Appendix A lists the types of defects for which a SERO can be issued. The SERO requires the vehicle owner to have the problems cited on the SERO repaired within 10 days, and a certification of the repair to be submitted to the Maryland State Police (MSP) Automotive Safety Enforcement Division (ASED) within 30 days. If certification is not received in 30 days a Notification of Registration Suspension will be issued with the registration suspended five days after it is issued. An SERO can be issued for defective safety equipment on all classes of Maryland registered motor vehicles, trailers, and semi-trailers. (There are a few exception like Interchangeable registration and Historic under 10K).
How do I resolve a Safety Equipment Repair Order (SERO)?
To resolve an SERO issued for your vehicle, you must have the vehicle repaired within ten (10) days. The repairs may be made at a garage or repair shop of your choice, or you may do it yourself. After the vehicle is repaired, you will need to take the SERO to an Maryland authorized inspection station in order to have the repair inspected and certified. The registered inspection mechanic will sign and stamp all copies of the SERO to certify that all defects cited on the SERO have been fixed correctly. The registered inspection mechanic will retain Copy 3 (yellow) for his/her records. If the SERO is electronically generated, the mechanic has the option to make a copy for their records. If all of the defects identified on the SERO are followed by an asterisk (*), indicating that the repair can be visually inspected, it can be inspected free of charge at an authorized inspection station. You may also ask a Maryland State Police trooper or local police officer in a participating police department to certify the repair. The Trooper or officer must inspect your vehicle during day light hours, while the weather is not inclement. However, be sure that all of the defects identified on your SERO have an asterisk.
When the repair has been certified and the SERO has been signed and stamped, you must submit Copy 5 (buff card stock) of the SERO to the Maryland State Police Automotive Safety Enforcement Division (ASED). The copy must be submitted no later than 30 days after the date on which the SERO was issued. If you received an electronically generated SERO, the right half is to be sent to the Division. Either mail or hand-deliver Copy 5/right half of the SERO to:
Maryland State Police
Automotive Safety Enforcement Division (ASED)
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
You should retain Copy 4 (goldenrod) of the SERO for your records or if an electronically generated SERO retain the left half of the SERO.
What happens if I don’t return the signed copy of my SERO within 30 days?
If the Maryland State Police ASED does not receive the signed Copy 5 of your SERO within 30 days after the date that the SERO was issued, you will receive a notice that your vehicle registration will be suspended. The suspension will take place five (5) days after the notice of suspension is mailed.
When your vehicle registration is suspended you cannot:
- Legally drive the vehicle; or
- Renew the vehicle’s license plates.
If your vehicle’s registration is suspended, you must immediately return the license plates to an MVA branch office. If you do not return the license plates within 10 days after the date on which the suspension notice was mailed, a tag pick-up order will be issued. The license plates then will be subject to immediate confiscation by a police officer.
What should I do if I got rid of my vehicle after the SERO was issued?
If your vehicle has been traded, sold, repossessed, junked or otherwise disposed of, you must submit a document that indicates the vehicle’s disposition and includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), make, model, title number, and the date of the disposition. The document should be attached to Copy 5 of the SERO when it is submitted to the ASED.
The type of documentation required depends upon the vehicle’s disposition:
- Traded – submit a copy of the contract with the dealer who accepted the vehicle as trade-in.
- Sold – submit a notarized statement signed by you.
- Repossessed – submit a statement on the letterhead of the company that repossessed the vehicle (usually a financial institution).
- Junked – submit a statement on the letterhead of the automotive dismantler or recycler who received the vehicle.
- Otherwise disposed of – submit a notarized statement signed by you.
What should I do if I lost my SERO and need a duplicate?
If you lose your SERO, you may contact the MSP Automotive Safety Enforcement Division or your local MSP barracks weekdays (excluding state holidays) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and ask about obtaining a copy.
The vehicle owner must pay for the repairs needed to correct the vehicle defect(s). If the defect is a visual defect, noted with an asterisk (*) beside the defect number, there is no fee for the certification. There may be a fee charged by the registered inspection mechanic based on a flat, hourly rate, which is set by the inspection station where the registered inspection mechanic works for non-visual defects. Even if the repaired defect can be visually confirmed, the mechanic may still charge a fee if the inspection requires jacking, lifting, measuring, or testing the vehicle.