Today the U.S. Department of Justice rolled out the NMVTIS, or National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. It is designed to protect consumers from auto fraud as well as providing law enforcement professionals with new ways to investigate malfeasance involving automobiles.
The service will be available to consumers beginning January 30 through third party, fee-for-service Web sites. It's brought to you by a bureaucratic alphabet soup of agencies: NMVTIS is administered jointly by the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
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How it works: state motor vehicle administrators can verify and exchange titling and brand data with NMVTIS and then provide comprehensive vehicle history information to police, consumers, and others. Consumers will have direct access to a vehicle's brand history, odometer data, and other basic vehicle data; they will have access to the full title record if such information is available. The system will also enable police to track a vehicle's status from state-to-state.
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The National Insurance Crime Bureau claims that car theft generates nearly $8 billion in illicit revenue per year. They have spelled out the responsibilities and reporting requirements for states, auto recyclers, junk yards, salvage yards, and insurance carriers.
The reasoning behind the user fee for consumer access to the system is a federal law specifying that NMVTIS not depend on federal funding.