NMVTIS Resources

In This Section:

Policy & Regulations

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Danielle Waterfield
Director, Gov't Relations


National Motor Vehicle Titling Information System (NMVTIS)

The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is designed to protect consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles and to keep stolen vehicles from being resold. NMVTIS is also a tool that assists states and law enforcement in deterring and preventing title fraud and other crimes.

The Anti-Car Theft Act (the Act) of 1992 directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a national information system enabling states and others to access automobile titling information. In 1996, the Act was reauthorized, transferring the responsibility for this system to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The Act prescribes the ongoing responsibilities of DOJ in the operation and oversight of NMVTIS. 49 U.S.C. § 30502(a)(1) directs the Attorney General to establish NMVTIS to accomplish specific automobile titling information objectives that specify what information is to be made available and to whom.

A mandatory federal rule issued in January 30, 2009 by the DOJ, requires all scrap processors, junk and salvage yards to electronically report to this database an inventory of all junk automobiles or salvage automobiles obtained in whole or in part during the prior month.

Reporting Requirements

The Anti-Car Theft Act requires that “junk yards” and “salvage yards”   are required to regularly report specific information to NMVTIS.   The Act defines junk and salvage yards "as individuals or entities engaged in the business of acquiring or owning junk or salvage automobiles for resale in their entirety or as spare parts or for rebuilding, restoration, or crushing."

Over the objections of ISRI during the initial public comment period in November 2008, the DOJ determined that the term “salvage yard” includes scrap vehicle shredders and scrap metal processors, as well as "pull- or pick-apart yards," salvage pools, salvage auctions, and other types of auctions, businesses, and individuals that handle salvage vehicles (including vehicles declared a "total loss").

Junk yards and salvage yards are required to provide NMVTIS with the following information on each vehicle received into inventory every month:

  1. The vehicle identification number of each automobile obtained;
  2. The date on which the automobile was obtained;
  3. The name of the individual or entity from whom the automobile was obtained; and
  4. A statement of whether the automobile was crushed or disposed of for sale, export or other purposes.
  5. In the case of a sale/Export the name of whom the complete vehicle was sold to. (NOTE: this provision is not applicable to shredders and scrap processors who do not resell or export whole cars).

Because some junk or salvage yards may hold vehicles for several months or years before a final disposition (e.g., crushed, sold, rebuilt) is known, some junk and salvage yards may need to provide a supplemental or additional report at the time of disposition or within 30 days of the date of disposition. The NMVTIS regulations do not preclude a junk or salvage yard from reporting the disposition of a vehicle at the time of first reporting, if such a disposition is known with certainty. Junk and salvage yards are responsible for ensuring the accuracy and completeness of their reporting and for providing corrected information to the system, should the disposition be changed from what was initially reported.

The Role of Data Consolidators

NMVTIS mandates that the inventory submitted by the industry ultimately be transmitted electronically in an acceptable format. The law also allows the NMVTIS operator to restrict access to the database by requiring the industry to submit its inventory to a select few third-party data consolidators, who will then transmit the data to NMVTIS in the acceptable format.

To maintain reasonable competitive service, the law requires the NMVTIS operator to approve a minimum of three data consolidators for the industry to use to submit its data. Even so, individual data consolidators approved by the NMVTIS operator are free to establish their own individualized reporting mechanisms and contractual requirements, including charging a fee for the service.

Currently, there are three private company data consolidators have been approved and one service available through the NMVTIS operator directly. The private companies offer a fee-for-service arrangement that involves transmission (via single or batch uploads) through an Internet portal; FTP uplink, or a direct computer-to-computer link. However, they have different pricing structures and technical specifications for submitting data.

The NMVTIS operator (AAMVA) now offers a free direct reporting option, but this service is limited to reporting one VIN at a time through an Internet portal.

Federal NMVTIS Advisory Board

ISRI has a seat on the NMVTIS Advisory Board created by the DOJ for purposes of providing input and recommendations to the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) regarding the operations and administration of NMVTIS. ISRI was appointed to chair a working group tasked with defining key terminology being referenced by board members as it pertains to the life cycle of a vehicle. There are 25 members on the Board from all the various stakeholders, including law enforcement, state DMVs, the insurance industry, scrap recyclers and auto dismantling yards.

Enforcement Efforts

In August 2010, the Justice Department mailed a letter to “junk and salvage” yards in targeted states indicating that it planned to step up enforcement efforts. Reports from members indicate that noticeable enforcement began in August shortly after members received a similar letter from DOJ. A wave of enforcement followed in September as DOJ and the Transportation Department teamed up for regular audits, inspecting and investigating recyclers who participated in the Cash for Clunkers program. Some members have reported being audited on numerous occasions, but ISRI has not heard of any citations being issued to this point.

Inspectors are looking for NMVTIS reporting discrepancies, faulty recordkeeping, and other irregularities. ISRI has also learned that the Transportation Department inspectors are interpreting the Cash for Clunkers law as requiring scrap recyclers to report all C4C vehicles to NMVTIS twice: once when the vehicle is received, and the second time when it is crushed or shredded, even if they both occur within the seven day window for reporting detailed in the law.

The Justice Department indicated it plans to implement extra enforcement efforts in several states including: California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina.

State Reporting Update

Georgia and Tennessee are currently the only states accepting and submitting the required data from recyclers. The laws in both states were amended to require the state DMV to collect the data from recyclers at no cost to recyclers. The states entered into contracts with AutoDataDirect (ADD) and the systems thus far appear to be working smoothly. Several other states have indicated an interest in collecting and submitting the required data for recyclers, but at this time AAMVA has not authorized them to do so.

ISRI supports efforts in the states to eliminate duplicative reporting by streamlining the process to have reporting directly to the state DMV which then submits the data to NMVTIS on behalf of recyclers. To explore ways your state might implement a streamlined system such as those in Georgia and Tennessee, contact