The Iowa D.O.T. is hoping to digitize the registration process for stolen or damaged vehicles which are salvaged and repaired so they’re road-worthy again. Dena Gray-Fisher of the Iowa D.O.T. says under the current system, you first get a paper “salvage title” for a vehicle when it’s been stolen or damaged in a wreck and can’t be driven.
“And you want to get it re-titled after you’ve made some repairs to it so you can actually get it registered and have it back on the road again,” Gray-Fisher says. A state audit has identified problems with the current paper system, as paper documents for getting “salvage theft titles” are handed out around the state, but the D.O.T. doesn’t track “missing certificates”.
Last year the former police chief in Van Meter pled guilty to misconduct in office for inspecting “salvage” vehicles and pocketing some of the inspection fees. Getting the initial documents digitized will help protect consumers, as Gray-Fisher says there won’t be a piece of paper issued intially with information that someone at the D.O.T. will have to enter into the state’s computerize title system for vehicles.
“It makes it a more secure process. It certainly will be a much more efficient process to do that versus paper,” Gray-Fisher. “…Overall, it’s a good business practice because it will tighten the administrative oversight over the entire process.”
If legislators provide the money, D.O.T. officials envision the new system would allow inspectors to immediately enter vehicle information electronically, and the payment for the inspection would be made electronically, too, reducing the possibility for theft of the inspection fees.