Mississippi Cracks Down on Title Washing
Mississippi passed a law this month that requires a branded title for salvaged vehicles. Senate Bill 2277 would prevent a clear title to a salvage vehicle. Before a branded title may be issued for a vehicle for which a salvage certificate of title has been issued, the applicant must mail in an application and have the vehicle visually inspected by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Andrew Caldecott, Executive Director for the Mississippi Independent Automobile Dealers Association, says that it took over two years to advance this legislation. Several stakeholders worked with MIADA, including the state's franchise dealer association and consumer finance groups.
For years, Mississippi was one of a handful of states where someone could legally “wash” a title. Someone could acquire a totaled (or flooded, or stolen) vehicle, rebuild it, and obtain a clean title. It comes as no surprise that many rebuilders set up shop in Mississippi. They were some of Senate Bill 2277's most stringent opponents.
“It's really a bill that needed to be brought forth years ago, for the good of the industry and the consumer,” Caldecott said.
The bill is effective July 1, 2018.
Texas has long recognized the need to brand titles for vehicles that have sustained substantial damage and prevent certain vehicles from being operated on the road as a means of protecting consumers. Jeremiah Kuntz, Vehicle Titles and Registration Director for Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, shared that “In addition to issuing salvage and nonrepairable titles to qualifying vehicles and ensuring appropriate brands are recorded on titles, we recognize those title types and corresponding brands from other jurisdictions when the vehicles enter Texas.”
Key Takeaway: Texas auto dealers can soon breathe easier when acquiring inventory that was previously titled in Mississippi.