DOJ Press Release letterhead

  • Office of Justice Programs
  • Contact: Susan Oliver
  • (202) 514-6929
  • TDD (202) 514-1888


           WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today more than $6.8 million was awarded to 12 states and to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) to protect consumers from vehicle fraud and unsafe vehicles.

           The Fiscal Year 2009 funds will assist with implementation of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), an electronic system launched for consumers in January 2009 that enables users to verify key automobile information. AAMVA received $5.7 million to fully implement NMVTIS and make necessary system enhancements and relieve states from any user fees for the system in 2010. The states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina received up to $100,000 each to assist with their participation in the system.

           Consumers can access NMVTIS through and find information about a vehicle's condition and history. For a nominal fee, they can retrieve the most recent odometer reading, title and brand history, nationwide salvage and total loss determination, and, in some cases, historical theft data.

           NMVTIS also is the repository for the Department of Transportation's “cash for clunkers” vehicles. Fulfilling a requirement of the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 (CARS), junk and salvage yards receiving vehicles traded-in under the CARS Program report certain information about those vehicles to NMVTIS, thus reducing the possibility for them being illegally reintroduced into the economy. Consumers can identify “clunker” vehicles nationwide by searching the NMVTIS database.

           This vehicle history database is the only one in the country to which every insurance carrier and junk and salvage yard are required by federal law to report all salvage and total loss vehicles. Since April 2009, more than 6,000 junk and salvage yards and insurance carriers have reported critical “total loss” and salvage information related to more than 5.5 million vehicles.

           "The system, accessible through the website, assists consumers with making informed car buying decisions and protects them from purchasing unsafe vehicles. NMVTIS is the only system that all insurance carriers, junk yards and salvage yards are required to share information with, thereby protecting consumers and states." said James H. Burch, II, Acting Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs.

           Along with consumers, system users include state motor vehicle titling agencies, law enforcement officials, auto recyclers, salvage and junk yards, and insurance carriers. By capturing in one system specific pieces of information from state motor vehicle titling agencies, automobile recyclers, junk and salvage yards, and insurance carriers, NMVTIS protects states and consumers from fraud, keeps stolen vehicles from being retitled, and makes it more difficult for criminals to conceal stolen vehicles for criminal purposes.

           Since 1997, the Justice Department has invested nearly $22 million to assist states and other stakeholders in protecting consumers by implementing NMVTIS. Currently, 28 state motor vehicle agencies participate or contribute to NMVTIS, and 11 others are working towards participation. All state motor vehicle administering agencies are required to be fully participating on or before January 1, 2010. Auto recyclers and insurance carriers nationwide are already participating in the system as required by federal law.

For more information about NMVTIS and a list of system providers, visit

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           The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information can be found at