And How States Are Using It
NMVTIS is growing in use and activity. According to AAMVA (the group that operates and manages the NMVTIS database), 96 percent of all the vehicles in the United States are represented in the database. There are a few states that are not contributing data to the database but this year grants have been given to these states, so they should be contributing data in the near future.
Just as a refresher, the NMVTIS database is the only database of its kind, containing data from the participating states DMVs and BMVs like brands, title status, odometer readings, changes in ownership and it also contains JSI data (junk, salvage, and insurance) where businesses report vehicles to NMVTIS. When the data is complete, it shows the “life history” of a vehicle from “birth” (when it was first sold from a new car dealer) to “death” (when it was purchased by a shredder for processing). In practical use, a person should be able to run to an inquiry in NMVTIS and see all the activity the vehicle has had so far. NMVTIS does not provide personal information like present or previous owner names, but it does show changes in ownership and salvage history.
Earlier this year AAMVA issued a clarification to the states that are using NMVTIS for titling purposes. In the clarification, AAMVA stated that NMVTIS is to be used as an aid/guide in the titling process and that the states should apply their state laws and statutes to use the data to determine how to title a vehicle.
The state of New York gets a fee from AAMVA of New York records, pulling vehicle reports of “crush” (where a vehicle has been reported crushed by a recycler). They check this data against their DMV information and if they find an active record on their side, they update the record to show it has been crushed.
The state of Ohio in early spring adopted the use of NMVTIS in the titling vehicles and they are using NMVTIS to place “salvage titles” on vehicles that have any sort of salvage history. This has generated many calls and complaints because, in many instances, the party titling the vehicle had a “clean” title or purchased the vehicle with a “clean” title but when they try to title/re-title it in Ohio, they are being issued a salvage title. This practice is an accurate and appropriate use of NMVTIS, but many parties are being “surprised” when they get a salvage title. The only way for a vehicle to get a clean title in Ohio is for the salvage reports to be “amended” (removed) from NMVTIS. Ohio has hired more BMV help to handle the calls/complaints and AAMVA/the NMVTIS data consolidators are getting lots of calls. Other states like Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Alabama are actively using NMVTIS as a reference.
It has always been important, but now it is more important than ever to be sure that as a reporting company, the information that is reported is timely and correct. It is important to note that as a reporting company, you may be contacted by some party (usually an upset owner) saying that a vehicle reported to NMVTIS by you was reported wrong and you must amend (correct your report). In seven out of 10 instances when I have been contacted by an upset person claiming they have a vehicle that has a salvage report made and “they know their vehicle is not a salvage vehicle,” when I asked them to check the VIN in other places besides the driver’s door and the dash, they come back saying their vehicle has multiple VINs on it. Vehicle cloning is a huge issue and many times the “upset” person is just the person who has the car now … someone did the cloning a few steps back.
My point with this is that as a reporting business that gets a complaint about a reporting error, don’t just instantly assume that your business reported a vehicle in error and make the “amendment.” In many cases, that report was the correct report and the complaint is coming in on a cloned vehicle and you’re just helping the clone “move through the process.” It is also important to note that “salvage history” can hurt the value of a vehicle and that is why people are upset about reports made to NMVTIS but if the report is correct, it should not be amended. The fact of the matter is NMVTIS is working and more people should be checking NMVTIS before they decide to purchase a vehicle because they don’t know what “history” the vehicle has.