Thursday, 12 May 2011 16:09

ARA Calls on Congress to Review NMVTIS Implementation to Ensure Flood Damaged Vehicles Don't Enter Used Car Market

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) is calling on Congress to review implementation and enforcement of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). As many of the nation's waterways hit historic crests, thousands of motor vehicles from Illinois to Mississippi have been submerged under these waters. Now more than ever, it is essential that NMVTIS be fully implemented and the underlying statute enforced to help prevent the unknowing sale of these flood-damaged vehicles.

NMVTIS, a national electronic system that provides consumers with valuable information about a vehicle's condition and history, can play a crucial role in helping ensure that these flood-damaged vehicles are not sold to unsuspecting consumers in the used-car market. "After Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that truckloads of flooded vehicles were being taken out of Louisiana to other states where they were dried out, cleaned, and readied for sale to unsuspecting consumers in states that do not brand flood vehicles", said Michael Wilson CEO of the ARA . "NMVTIS must be fully implemented and utilized now so that similar events are not repeated, and flood damaged motor vehicles can be efficiently tracked before unsuspecting consumers purchase these vehicles", Wilson added.

Flood damaged vehicles are considered ticking time bombs, slowly being eaten away as water corrodes onboard computers and other vital components like airbags systems. These vehicles are deemed unfit by insurance companies, but too often are given token repairs and sold to unsuspecting consumers.

NMVTIS helps prevent vehicle histories from being “washed” or concealed because it serves as a national repository of vehicle brand information. Fully implemented, NMVTIS will have data from every state and will be queried before any state issues a vehicle a new title, making it extremely difficult to wash a “flood” designation from a motor vehicle.

Such fraudulent and unsafe practices can only be stopped if all states participate fully in NMVTIS and all "individuals" and "entities" that are required to report to the system are held accountable. "Regrettably, DOJ has limited resources to do this. Congress should intercede and permit individual state enforcement agencies to work more closely with DOJ to identify and implement efficient methods to increased participation. One way to enhance the program's success is to allow the fines collected from NMVTIS violators to be directly allocated back into the program and its law enforcement activities. Only with sufficient resources can DOJ and the appropriate state law enforcement colleagues target all businesses/individuals whom are operating under the radar and fulfill their obligations under the statute", Wilson asserts.

Since 1943, the Automotive Recyclers Association (“ARA”) represents an industry dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of “green” automotive parts, and the proper recycling of inoperable motor vehicles. ARA represents the interests of over 4,500 auto recycling facilities in the United States and fourteen other countries around the world. With programs such as the Certified Automotive Recycler Program (CAR) and other partnerships, ARA members continue to provide consumers with quality, low-cost alternatives for vehicle replacement parts, while preserving our environment for a “greener” tomorrow.