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May 2014

Fighting Fraud Together

AAMVA's NMVITS Working Groups make recommendations for better use of the system.

In response to issues that arose with the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), AAMVA created the NMVTIS Law Enforcement Working Group and the NMVTIS Business Rules Working Group in 2012. For the past two years, in collaboration with state groups and law enforcement, the Working Group members have been researching ways to improve NMVTIS and its usage. Now, they’re beginning to reveal their recommendations.

“As jurisdictions began to use NMVTIS more in their day-to-day activities, it became clear that processes among the jurisdictions could be more consistent—because if they were consistent, jurisdictions would be able to interpret and understand the data better,” says Cathie Curtis, director of vehicle programs for AAMVA.

While both Working Groups share the goal of increasing the effectiveness of NMVTIS for users, they look at the issues from different perspectives. “As opposed to Business Rules, [Law Enforcement] is more narrowly focused on making the platform more effective for law enforcement and using NMVTIS as a tool to investigate vehicle-related crimes,” says Brian Ursino, director of law enforcement for AAMVA.

Both groups have identified numerous ways NMVTIS could be made more effective. The Business Rules Working Group recently released its best practices guide, titled NMVTIS Best Practices for Title and Registration Program Managers in DMVs, which addresses topics like the accidental issuing of duplicate titles and clear identification for non-repairable vehicles. Individuals who use the system regularly helped inform the Working Group’s recommendations, and jurisdictions are encouraged to utilize the advice to develop their business policies and practices in a consistent manner.

At the same time, the Law Enforcement Working Group is working on improving search parameters and increasing NMVTIS awareness among law enforcement. “There are a lot of areas that aren’t aware of NMVTIS, so they aren’t using it,” says Ursino. “One of our tactics [to fix this] is to compare the data that shows the highest auto theft hot spots and overlay that with data showing the lowest NMVTIS usage rates. Where they overlap are areas that are ripe for targeted marketing.”

So what is next on the horizon for these NMVTIS Working Groups? Christopher McDonold, deputy director of the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council for the Maryland State Police, underlined the focus on getting the word out. “In my almost 20 years of being involved with auto theft,

I would have loved to have [NMVTIS] while working cases,” says McDonold. “We needed this. Now that we have it, we should have 100 percent compliance within the next year.”

Kitty Kramer, chair of the Business Rules Working Group and program manager of the registration operations division for the California DMV, expressed a similar sentiment, but with consumers in mind. “The ultimate goal is for consumer awareness and protection, because obviously people should be educated about what kind of vehicle they’re purchasing and whether or not it’s been damaged,” says Kramer.