There are many reasons why DMV investigators go after unlicensed vehicle repair shops and they include consumer and environmental safety, as well as protecting our state’s finances. These shops operate in the underground economy, do not comply with state licensing requirements or pay taxes. They tend to ignore environmental regulations, and often aren’t up front with consumers about the parts they are selling.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
FRESNO – On May 25, 2022, investigators with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) led a multi-agency strike team in issuing citations to 25 unlicensed auto repair shops and vehicle dismantlers during an enforcement operation in Fresno County.
The crackdown targeted 41 locations to verify compliance with state laws and environmental guidelines. The inspections focused on locations that receive and sell used auto parts to investigate any possible activity involving stolen vehicles and related components.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control inspected 28 locations and issued 10 citations for hazardous waste violations.
The Vehicle Industry Dismantler Strike Team was established by a 2016 law and reinstated by Governor Newsom with the signing of Senate Bill 366. It stipulates the DMV lead a team of representatives with the California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), State Water Resources Control Board, Department of Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), California Air Resources Board and California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to investigate unlicensed and unregulated vehicle dismantling.
It is against the law for anyone to act as a vehicle dismantler, auto repair facility or dealer without having an established place of business, meeting specific requirements, and having a current valid license or temporary permit issued by the DMV. Violators face a fine up to $1,000 and jail time. Environmental violations can carry a civil penalty of $25,000 per violation and fines ranges between $5,000 and $100,000.
DMV investigators are able to carry out these types of enforcement operations by using technology and databases that assist in identifying and tracking potential unscrupulous activity.