SANTA ROSA – In an effort to prevent future fraud, and for public safety and consumer protection, California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) investigators are teaming with the CHP, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Rosa Police Department to identify and update records of an estimated 4,000 vehicles destroyed by the Northern California wildfires in October.
Beginning January 11, 2018 and through the end of the month, DMV investgigators are working to properly mark and record destroyed vehicles. Destroyed vehicles must be identified to prevent the cloning or clearing of the title of a stolen vehicle or fraudulently linking the information of a destroyed vehicle to a damaged and unsafe vehicle.
“It’s heartbreaking to see the loss and devastation in this region and the thousands of vehicles destroyed,” said Association of Motor Vehicle Investigators of California (AMVIC) President Kenny Ehrman. “We continue to hold the fire victims in our thoughts and do what we can as investigators to assist. DMV investigators are trained in this area and can be sure DMV records are updated with the information we gather in the field.”
DMV investigators are spray painting “DMV” on unrecognizable vehicles and logging the address where they are found, along with any other descriptive information about the vehicle. The DMV then updates the vehicle’s record as a total loss if the owner has not already updated the vehicle record.
Under federal law, the state is required to report vehicles declared a total loss to the National Motor Vehicle Titling Information System (NMVTIS), a national database that protects purchasers of used cars from concealed vehicle histories nationwide. The work of marking the destroyed vehicles allows the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue cleanup efforts that will allow residents to rebuild in their communities.