The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Top 10 Trends in License & Title

January 2005, by Mike Antich - Also by this author

1. Increased Administrative Burdens
States are requiring more and more information in order to complete title and registration. “For example, there will be an increase in lessee and lessor states; an increase in requirements for FEIN (Federal Employee Identification Number) for both lessee and lessor; and increased requirement for ‘in-state’ addresses on the registration; and insurance cards will be required in more states for initial registration,” said Ken Ridgley, manager, title administration for PHH. In addition, some states will mandate that fleets assign a customer number to the owner, resulting in address issues,” added Ridgley.

2. Increased Security Concerns
In the post-9/11 environment, there is an increased concern that driver licenses, vehicle registrations, and other paperwork could be used to generate fake IDs. “Any process around commercial driver licenses (CDL) will receive greater scrutiny,” said Steve Niewald, title & license operations manager for GE Commercial Finance, Fleet Services. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administers background checks on all applications involving the transportation of hazardous materials. “As various jurisdictions respond to heightened security issues, expect more complex transactions, more forms, and greater involvement from both the registered owner and driver as a result.”

3. Increased Data Privacy
As increased security concerns require more driver-specific data, there is concern this data may be used in identity theft. “The Social Security Number Privacy and Theft Prevention Act is one attempt to safeguard the driver’s identity by prohibiting full or partial social security numbers from being displayed on driver licenses or ID cards,” said Niewald.

4. Expansion of State DMV Online Renewal Services
More states are receiving and implementing online renewals for fleet management companies, said Greg Tepas, director of operations for Emkay Inc.

“There will be continuing development of electronic titling to reduce the need for duplicate titles and the risk of fraud. DMVs will create additional online capabilities. State process improvements and automation will result in improved tracking of taxes due or past due at the time of title and registration,” said Ridgley.

Currently, online registration renewals are available only in nine states. Over the next five years, at least 25 to 30 of the remaining 50 states will institute online registration access. Convenience and time savings are two of the factors driving this trend. “The turnaround time for online renewals is much faster because we are able to maintain the inventory in-house. Instead of waiting days and weeks for an outside service to complete renewals, we are able to process renewals in-house and issue decals all within the same day in many instances,” said Mike Miller, operations manager, license, title, and used-vehicle marketing for LeasePlan USA.

Fleet management companies are moving closer to handling all initial license and titling in-house as opposed to having a service or dealer handle it. This will allow the fleet management company greater control over the process - accuracy, quickness, etc.

“We have seen increased electronic capabilities of the state in e-commerce for Internet renewals, address changes, plate cancellations, ownership transfers, title inquiries, license and title fee inquiries, and the ability to pay for violations and personal property tax,” added Mike Williams, manager of license and title for Donlen Corporation. “We also have seen an increase in the number of states allowing us to issue plates and registrations from our office.”

5. DOT Enforcing More DMV-Related Laws
In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is enforcing more DMV-related laws. States are increasing Web site services for renewing registrations. “In addition, DMVs are downsizing and limiting available services,” said Tim Delaney, manager, licensing services for ARI.

6. Increased Pressure on Compliance

Tied to heightened security awareness, local jurisdictions and law enforcement will enforce requirements more stringently than in the past. It will be critical for drivers to have current registration cards in their vehicle at all times. “Medium- and heavy-duty trucks and vans used in areas around hospitals, schools, and airports may be subject to more frequent inspections and requests for driver documentation,” said Niewald.

7. Electronic Transmittal of Insurance Info to the State DMV
“The trend toward electronic transmittal of insurance information eliminates the need to provide insurance cards/binders to the DMV offices and further streamlines the registration process,” said Miller.

8. Changes in Emissions Policies
An increasing number of states are requiring emissions and safety inspections because of heightened environmental concerns and safety expectations. “More states are accepting emissions test results directly from testing facilities, helping to reduce the amount of paperwork necessary to obtain a current vehicle registration,” said Miller.

9. Bulk Renewals
More states are considering allowing fleet management companies to renew all their vehicles at the same time, said Tepas. States are increasing Web site services for renewing registrations. “However, security restrictions prohibit cost-effective bulk renewals,” said Delaney.

10. Continued Efforts to Combat Title Fraud

The jurisdictions are building on earlier efforts to combat title fraud and are continuing to press for a uniform certificate of an electronic title. “The current variation from state to state makes this a daunting task, and there are many challenges to actually getting all parties to agree to a uniform process,” said Niewald.

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