For the second-straight year, a state audit has raised concerns about the Iowa D.O.T.’s paper trail for tracking the registration of stolen or damaged vehicles. The Iowa D.O.T. had hoped to digitize the registration process for stolen or damaged vehicles which are salvaged and repaired so they’re road-worthy again.
However, legislators did not approve the move. Under the current system, a paper “salvage title” is issued for a vehicle that’s been stolen or damaged in a wreck and can’t be driven. In 2010 the former police chief in Van Meter pled guilty to misconduct in office for inspecting “salvage” vehicles and pocketing some of the inspection fees.
Last year a state audit raised concerns about the system, as paper documents for getting salvage titles are handed out around the state, but the Iowa D.O.T. doesn’t track the missing certificates.
The proposal legislators failed to embrace would have required the people seeking salvage titles to pay the fee electronically, a move state officials say would help prevent cash transactions that could be pocketed by the local officials who conduct the vehicle inspections.