Study Regarding Implementation of a Uniform Statewide System to Allow for Electronic Transactions for the Registration and Titling of Motor Vehicles

(2010) Study Regarding Implementation of a Uniform Statewide System to Allow for Electronic Transactions for the Registration and Titling of Motor Vehicles. Transportation, Department of

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Abstract

LEGISLATIVE STUDY – The 83rd General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature, in Senate File 2273, directed the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study of how to implement a uniform statewide system to allow for electronic transactions for the registration and titling of motor vehicles. PARTICIPANTS IN STUDY – As directed by Senate File 2273, the DOT formed a working group to conduct the study that included representatives from the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Revenue, the Iowa State County Treasurer’s Association, the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association, and the Iowa Independent Automobile Dealers Association. CONDUCT OF THE STUDY – The working group met eight times between June 17, 2010, and October 1, 2010. The group discussed the costs and benefits of electronic titling from the perspectives of new and used motor vehicle dealers, county treasurers, the DOT, lending institutions, consumers and consumer protection, and law enforcement. Security concerns, legislative implications, and implementation timelines were also considered. In the course of the meetings the group: 1. Reviewed the specific goals of S.F. 2273, and viewed a demonstration of Iowa’s current vehicle registration and titling system so participants that were not users of the system could gain an understanding of its current functionality and capabilities. 2. Reviewed the results of a survey of county treasurers conducted by the DOT to determine the extent to which county treasurers had processing backlogs and the extent to which county treasurers limited the number of dealer registration and titling transactions that they would process in a single day and while the dealer waited. Only eight reported placing a limit on the number of dealer transactions that would be processed while the dealer waited (with the number ranging from one to four), and only 11 reported a backlog in processing registration and titling transactions as of June 11, 2010, with most backlogs being reported in the range of one to three days. 3. Conducted conference calls with representatives of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and representatives of three states -- Kansas, which has an electronic lien and titling (ELT) program, and Wisconsin and Florida, each of which have both an ELT program and an electronic registration and titling (ERT) program – to assess current and best practices for electronic transactions. In addition, the DOT (through AAMVA) submitted a survey to all U.S. jurisdictions to determine how, if at all, other states implemented electronic transactions for the registration and titling of motor vehicles. Twenty-eight states responded to the survey; of the 28 states that responded, only 13 allowed liens to be added or released electronically, and only five indicated allowing applications for registration and titling to be submitted electronically. DOT staff also heard a presentation from South Dakota on its ERT system at an AAMVA regional meeting. ELT information that emerged suggests a multi-vendor approach, in which vendors that meet state specifications for participation are authorized to interface with the state’s system to serve as a portal between lenders and the state system, will facilitate electronic lien releases and additions by offering lenders more choices and the opportunity to use the same vendor in multiple states. The ERT information that emerged indicates a multi-interface approach that offers an interface with existing dealer management software (DMS) systems and through a separate internet site will facilitate ERT by offering access that meets a variety of business needs and models. In both instances, information that emerged indicates that, in the long-term, adoption rates are positively affected by making participation above a certain minimum threshold mandatory. 4. To assess and compare functions or services that might be offered by or through a vendor, the group heard presentations from vendors that offer products or services that facilitate some aspect of ELT or ERT. 5. To assess the concerns, needs and interest of Iowa motor vehicle dealers, the group surveyed dealers to assess registration and titling difficulties experienced by dealers, the types of DMS systems (if any) used by dealers, and the dealers’ interest and preference in using an electronic interface to submit applications for registration and titling. Overall, 40% of the dealers that responded indicated interest and 57% indicated no interest, but interest was pronounced among new car dealers (75% were interested) and dealers with a high number of monthly transactions (85% of dealers averaging more than 50 sales per month were interested). The majority of dealers responding to the dealer survey ranked delays in processing and problems with daily limits on transaction as ―minor difficulty or ―no difficulty. RECOMMENDATIONS -- At the conclusion of the meetings, the working group discussed possible approaches for implementation of electronic transactions in Iowa and reached a consensus that a phased implementation of electronic titling that addressed first electronic lien and title transactions (ELT) and electronic fund transfers (EFT), and then electronic applications for registration and titling (ERT) is recommended. The recommendation of a phased implementation is based upon recognition that aspects of ELT and EFT are foundational to ERT, and that ELT and EFT solutions are more readily and easily attained than the ERT solution, which will take longer and be somewhat more difficult to develop and will require federal approval of an electronic odometer statement to fully implement. ELT – A multi-vendor approach is proposed for ELT. No direct costs to the state, counties, consumers, or dealers are anticipated under this approach. The vendor charges participating lenders user or transaction fees for the service, and it appears the lenders typically absorb those costs due to the savings offered by ELT. Existing staff can complete the programming necessary to interface the state system with vendors’ systems. The estimated time to implement ELT is six to nine months. Mandatory participation is not recommended initially, but should be considered after ELT has been implemented and a suitable number of vendors have enrolled to provide a fair assessment of participation rates and opportunities. EFT – A previous attempt to implement ELT and EFT was terminated due to concern that it would negatively impact county revenues by reducing interest income earned on state funds collected by the county and held until the monthly transfer to the state. To avoid that problem in this implementation, the EFT solution should remain revenue neutral to the counties, by allowing fees submitted by EFT to be immediately directed to the proper county account. Because ARTS was designed and has the capacity to accommodate EFT, a vendor is not needed to implement EFT. The estimated time to implement EFT is six to nine months. It is expected that EFT development will overlap ELT development. ERT – ERT itself must be developed in phases. It will not be possible to quickly implement a fully functioning, paperless ERT system, because federal law requires that transfer of title be accompanied by a written odometer statement unless approval for an alternate electronic statement is granted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is expected that it will take as much as a year or more to obtain NHTSA approval, and that NHTSA approval will require design of a system that requires the seller to electronically confirm the seller’s identity, make the required disclosure to the buyer, and then transfer the disclosure to the buyer, who must also electronically confirm the buyer’s identity and electronically review and accept the disclosure to complete and submit the transaction. Given the time that it will take to develop and gain approval for this solution, initial ERT implementation will focus on completing and submitting applications and issuing registration applied for cards electronically, with the understanding that this process will still require submission of paper documents until an electronic odometer solution is developed. Because continued submission of paper documents undermines the efficiencies sought, ―full‖ ERT – that is, all documents necessary for registration and titling should be capable of approval and/or acceptance by all parties, and should be capable of submission without transmittal or delivery of duplicate paper documents .– should remain the ultimate goal. ERT is not recommended as a means to eliminate review and approval of registration and titling transactions by the county treasurers, or to place registration and titling approval in the hands of the dealers, as county treasurers perform an important role in deterring fraud and promoting accuracy by determining the genuineness and regularity of each application. Authorizing dealers to act as registration agents that approve registration and title applications, issue registration receipts, and maintain and deliver permanent metal license plates is not recommended. Although distribution of permanent plates by dealers is not recommended, it is recommended that dealers participating in ERT generate and print registration applied for cards electronically. Unlike the manually-issued cards currently in use, cards issued in this fashion may be queried by law enforcement and are less susceptible to misuse by customers and dealers. The estimated time to implement the electronic application and registration applied for cards is 12 to 18 months, to begin after ELT and EFT have been implemented. It is recommended that focus during this time be on facilitating transfers through motor vehicle dealers, with initial deployment focused on higher-volume dealers that use DMS systems. In the long term an internet option for access to ERT must also be developed and maintained to allow participation for lower-volume dealers that do not use a DMS system. This option will also lay the ground work for an ERT option for sales between private individuals. Mandatory participation in Iowa is not recommended initially. As with ELT, it is recommended that mandatory participation be considered after at least an initial phase of ERT has been implemented and a suitable number of dealers have enrolled to provide a fair assessment of participation rates and opportunities. The use of vendors to facilitate ERT is not initially proposed because 1) DOT IT support staff is capable of developing a system that will interact with DMS systems and will still have to develop a dealer and public interface regardless of whether a vendor acts as intermediary between the DMS systems, and 2) there is concern that the cost of the vendor-based system, which is funded by transaction-based payments from the dealer to the vendor, will be passed to the consumer in the form of additional documentation or conveyance fees. However, the DOT recommends flexibility on this point, as development and pilot of the system may indicate that a multi-vendor approach similar to that recommended for ELT may increase the adoption rate by larger dealers and may ultimately decrease the user management to be exercised by DOT staff. If vendors are used in the process, additional legislation or administrative rules may be needed to control the fees that may be passed to the consumer. No direct cost to the DOT or county treasurers is expected, as the DOT expects that it may complete necessary programming with existing staff. Use of vendors to facilitate ERT transactions by dealers using DMS systems would result in transaction fees that may ultimately be passed to consumers. LEGISLATION – As a result of the changes implemented in 2004 under Senate File 2070, the only changes to Iowa statutes proposed are to section 321.69 of the Iowa Code, ―Damage disclosure statement,and section 321.71, ―Odometer requirements.‖ In each instance, authority to execute these statements by electronic means would be clarified by authorizing language similar to that used in section 321.20, subsections ―2‖ and ―3,‖ which allows for electronic applications and directs the department to ―adopt rules on the method for providing signatures for applications made by electronic means.‖ In these sections, the authorizing language might read as follows: Notwithstanding contrary provisions of this section, the department may develop and implement a program to allow for any statement required by this section to be made electronically. The department shall adopt rules on the method for providing signatures for statements made by electronic means. Some changes to DOT administrative rules will be useful but only to enable changes to work processes that would be desirable in the long term. Examples of long term work processes that would be enabled by rule changes include allowing for signatures created through electronic means and electronic odometer certifications. The DOT rules, as currently written, do not hinder the ability to proceed with ELT, EFT, and ERT.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: funding, payment, electronic, ERT, EFT, ELT, vehicle registration and titling
Subjects: Government finance and taxes
Transportation > Automobiles > Vehicle registration forms
Government finance and taxes > Government revenues
Transportation
ID Code: 10054
Deposited By: Tracey Bramble
Deposited On: 08 Dec 2010 13:13
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2010 13:13
URI: http://publications.iowa.gov/id/eprint/10054

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