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SB382 SUB2 Senate Bill 382 History

OTHER VERSIONS  -  Introduced Version  |  Committee Substitute (1)  |     |  Email


WEST virginia legislature

2017 regular session

Committee Substitute

for

Committee Substitute

for

Senate Bill 382

By Senator Boso

[Originating in the Committee on Government Organization; reported on March 20, 2017.]

 

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §17-24A-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §17A-4-10 of said code, all relating to certificates of title and registration for motor vehicles; allowing licensed automobile auctions to obtain title to abandoned or junked motor vehicles; making technical corrections; allowing insurance companies to obtain salvage certificates, cosmetic total loss salvage certificates or nonrepairable motor vehicle certificates to motor vehicles for which a total loss claim was paid; allowing licensed automobile auction to obtain salvage certificates or nonrepairable motor vehicle certificates to certain vehicles; specifying application requirements that require the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue certificates; and requiring applicant to indemnify and hold harmless the division from liability due to error or misrepresentation of applicant.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:


That §17-24A-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that §17A-4-10 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

CHAPTER 17. ROADS AND HIGHWAYS.

ARTICLE 24A. DISPOSAL OF ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLES, JUNKED MOTOR VEHICLES, AND ABANDONED OR INOPERATIVE HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES.


§17-24A-4. Abandoned or junked motor vehicles; notification to motor vehicle owner and lienholder; charges and fees; exceptions.


(a) The enforcement agency which takes into custody and possession an abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle shall, within fifteen days after taking custody and possession thereof, notify the last known registered owner of the motor vehicle and all lienholders of record that the motor vehicle has been taken into custody and possession, the notification to be by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice shall:

(1) Contain a description of the motor vehicle, including the year, make, model, manufacturer’s serial or identification number or any other number which may have been assigned to the motor vehicle by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and any distinguishing marks;

(2) Set forth the location of the facility where the motor vehicle is being held and the location where the motor vehicle was taken into custody and possession;

(3) Inform the owner and any lienholders of record of their right to reclaim the motor vehicle within ten days after the date notice was received by the owner or lienholders, upon payment of all towing, preservation and storage charges resulting from taking and placing the motor vehicle into custody and possession; and

(4) State that the failure of the owner or lienholders of record to exercise their right to reclaim the motor vehicle within the ten-day period shall be deemed a waiver by the owner and all lienholders of record of all right, title and interest in the motor vehicle and of their consent to the sale or disposal of the abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle at a public auction or to a licensed salvage yard or demolisher.

(b) If the identity of the last registered owner of the abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle cannot be determined or if the certificate of registration or certificate of title contains no address for the owner or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and addresses of all lienholders, notice shall be published as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, the publication area shall be the county wherein the motor vehicle was located at the time the enforcement agency took custody and possession thereof and the notice shall be sufficient to meet all requirements of notice pursuant to this article. Any notice by publication may contain multiple listings of abandoned motor vehicles and junked motor vehicles. The notice shall be published within fifteen days after the motor vehicle is taken into custody and possession and shall have the same contents required for a notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, except that the ten-day period shall run from the date the notice is published as aforesaid.

(c) An enforcement agency which hires any person or entity to take into custody and possession an abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle pursuant to this section shall notify the person or entity hired of the name and address of the registered owner of the motor vehicle, if known, and all lienholders of record, if any, within fifteen days after the vehicle is taken into custody and possession: Provided, That the requirements of this subsection shall not apply to motor vehicles for which the registered owner cannot be ascertained by due diligence or investigation.

(d) The person or entity hired by an enforcement agency to take into custody or possession an abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle shall, within thirty days after the possession, notify the registered owner of the vehicle and all lienholders of record, if any, as identified by the enforcement agency pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, by registered mail, return receipt requested, that the motor vehicle has been taken into custody and possession. The notice shall have the same contents required for a notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, including the ten-day period the owner or lienholder has to reclaim the motor vehicle. Upon the issuance of the notice, the identified owner of the motor vehicle is liable and responsible for all costs for towing, preservation and storage of the motor vehicle: Provided, That failure to issue the notice required by this subsection within thirty days after possession of the motor vehicle relieves the identified owner of the motor vehicle of any liability for charges for towing, preservation and storage in excess of the sum of the first five days of the charges: Provided, however, That the requirements of this subsection do not apply to motor vehicles for which the registered owner thereof cannot be ascertained by due diligence or investigation.

(e) For an abandoned motor vehicle or junked vehicle having a loan value of $7,500 or less, as ascertained by values placed upon motor vehicles using a standard industry reference book, a person or entity hired by an enforcement agency to tow the abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle may, if the motor vehicle is not claimed by the owner or a lienholder after notice within the time set forth in subsection (d) of this section or if the identity of the last registered owner of the abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle cannot be determined or if the certificate of registration or certificate of title contains no address of the owner or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and address of all lienholders after publication as set forth in subsection (b) of this section, file an application with the Division of Motor Vehicles for a certificate of title and registration which, upon payment of the appropriate fees, shall be issued. The person or entity may then sell the motor vehicle at private sale or public auction.

(f) For an abandoned motor or junked motor vehicle having a loan value of $7,500 or less, as ascertained by values placed upon motor vehicles using a standard industry reference book, A licensed motor vehicle dealer as defined in section one, article one, chapter seventeen-a of this code, a licensed automobile auction as defined in section one, article six-c of said chapter, or a motor vehicle repair facility or a towing company registered with the Public Service Commission pursuant to section two-a, article two, chapter twenty-four-a of this code may if a motor vehicle is abandoned on the property or place of business of the dealer or a motor vehicle repair facility or towing company and is not claimed by the owner or a lienholder after notice within the time set forth in subsection (d) of this section or if the identity of the last registered owner of the abandoned motor vehicle cannot be determined or if the certificate of registration or certificate of title contains no address of the owner or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and address of all lienholders after publication as set forth in subsection (b) of this section file an application with the Division of Motor Vehicles for a certificate of title and registration for an abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle if:

(1) The vehicle has a loan value of $9,500 or less, as ascertained by values placed upon motor vehicles using a standard industry reference book;

(2) This amount will be increased every five years on September 1 of the fifth year based

on the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics most current Consumer Price Index;   

            (3) The motor vehicle is abandoned on the property or place of business of the dealer, licensed automobile auction, motor vehicle repair facility or towing company; and

(4) One of the following situations applies:

(A) The motor vehicle is not claimed by the owner or a lienholder after notice within the time set forth in subsection (d) of this section; or

(B) The identity of the last registered owner of the abandoned motor vehicle cannot be determined; or

(C) The certificate of registration or certificate of title contains no address of the owner; or            (D) It is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and address of all lienholders after publication as set forth in subsection (b) of this section. which, upon payment of the appropriate fees, shall be issued. The dealer or motor vehicle repair facility or towing company may then Upon payment of the appropriate fees, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall issue the certificate of title and registration, and the dealer, licensed automobile auction, motor vehicle repair facility or towing company may sell the motor vehicle at private sale or public auction.

(g) For purposes of this section, motor vehicle repair facilities and towing companies are not used motor vehicle dealers as that term is defined by subdivision (2), subsection (a), section one, article six, chapter seventeen-a of this code.

Chapter 17A. Motor Vehicle Administration, Registration, Certificate of Title, and Antitheft Provisions.

ARTICLE 4. Transfers of title or interest.

§17A-4-10. Salvage certificates for certain wrecked or damaged vehicles; fee; penalty.


(a) In the event a motor vehicle is determined to be a total loss or otherwise designated as totaled by an insurance company or insurer, and upon payment of a total loss claim to an insured or claimant owner for the purchase of the vehicle, the insurance company or the insurer, as a condition of the payment, shall require the owner to surrender the certificate of title: Provided, That an insured or claimant owner may choose to retain physical possession and ownership of a total loss vehicle. If the vehicle owner chooses to retain the vehicle and the vehicle has not been determined to be a cosmetic total loss in accordance with subsection (d) of this section, the insurance company or insurer shall also require the owner to surrender the vehicle registration certificate. The term “total loss” means a motor vehicle which has sustained damages equivalent to seventy-five percent or more of the market value as determined by a nationally accepted used car value guide or meets the definition of a flood-damaged vehicle as defined in this section.

(b) The insurance company or insurer shall, prior to the payment of the total loss claim, determine if the vehicle is repairable, cosmetically damaged or nonrepairable. Except as provided in subsection (p) of this section, within ten days of payment of the total loss claim, the insurance company or insurer shall surrender the certificate of title, a copy of the claim settlement, a completed application on a form prescribed by the commissioner and the registration certificate if the owner has chosen to keep the vehicle to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

(c) If the insurance company or insurer determines that the vehicle is repairable, the division shall issue a salvage certificate, on a form prescribed by the commissioner, in the name of the insurance company, the insurer or the vehicle owner if the owner has chosen to retain the vehicle. The certificate shall contain, on the reverse, spaces for one successive assignment before a new certificate at an additional fee is required. Upon the sale of the vehicle, the insurance company, insurer or vehicle owner if the owner has chosen to retain the vehicle, shall complete the assignment of ownership on the salvage certificate and deliver it to the purchaser. The vehicle may not be titled or registered for operation on the streets or highways of this state unless there is compliance with subsection (g) (h) of this section. The division shall charge a fee of $15 for each salvage title issued.

(d) If the insurance company or insurer determines the damage to a totaled vehicle is exclusively cosmetic and no repair is necessary in order to legally and safely operate the motor vehicle on the roads and highways of this state, the insurance company or insurer shall, upon payment of the claim, submit the certificate of title to the division. Neither the insurance company nor the division may require the vehicle owner to surrender the registration certificate in the event of a cosmetic total loss settlement.

(1) The division shall, without further inspection, issue a title branded “cosmetic total loss” to the insured or claimant owner if the insured or claimant owner wishes to retain possession of the vehicle in lieu of a salvage certificate. The division shall charge a fee of $5 for each cosmetic total loss title issued. The terms “cosmetically damaged” and “cosmetic total loss” do not include any vehicle which has been damaged by flood or fire. The designation “cosmetic total loss” on a title may not be removed.

(2) If the insured or claimant owner elects not to take possession of the vehicle and the insurance company or insurer retains possession, the division shall issue a cosmetic total loss salvage certificate to the insurance company or insurer. The division shall charge a fee of $15 for each cosmetic total loss salvage certificate issued. The division shall, upon surrender of the cosmetic total loss salvage certificate issued under the provisions of this paragraph and payment of the five percent motor vehicle sales tax on the fair market value of the vehicle as determined by the commissioner, issue a title branded “cosmetic total loss” without further inspection.

(e) If the insurance company or insurer determines that the damage to a totaled vehicle renders it nonrepairable, incapable of safe operation for use on roads and highways and as having no resale value except as a source of parts or scrap, the insurance company or vehicle owner shall, in the manner prescribed by the commissioner, request that the division issue a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate in lieu of a salvage certificate. The division shall issue a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate without charge.

(f) Any owner who scraps, compresses, dismantles or destroys a vehicle without further transfer or sale for which a certificate of title, nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate or salvage certificate has been issued shall, within forty-five days, surrender the certificate of title, nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate or salvage certificate to the division for cancellation.

(g) Any person who purchases or acquires a vehicle as salvage or scrap, to be dismantled, compressed or destroyed, shall, within forty-five days, surrender to the division the certificate of title, nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate, salvage certificate or a statement of cancellation signed by the seller, on a form prescribed by the commissioner. Subsequent purchasers of salvage or scrap are not required to comply with the notification requirement.

(h) If the motor vehicle is a “reconstructed vehicle” as defined in this section or section one, article one of this chapter, it may not be titled or registered for operation until it has been inspected by an official state inspection station and by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Following an approved inspection, an application for a new certificate of title may be submitted to the division. The applicant is required to retain all receipts for component parts, equipment and materials used in the reconstruction. The salvage certificate shall also be surrendered to the division before a certificate of title may be issued with the appropriate brand.

(i) The owner or title holder of a motor vehicle titled in this state which has previously been branded in this state or another state as salvage, reconstructed, cosmetic total loss, cosmetic total loss salvage, flood, fire, an equivalent term under another state’s laws or a term consistent with the intent of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System established pursuant to 49 U. S. C. §30502 shall, upon becoming aware of the brand, apply for and receive a title from the Division of Motor Vehicles on which the brand “reconstructed”, “salvage”, “cosmetic total loss”, “cosmetic total loss salvage”, “flood”, “fire” or other brand is shown. The division shall charge a fee of $5 for each title so issued.

(j) If application is made for title to a motor vehicle, the title to which has previously been branded reconstructed, salvage, cosmetic total loss, cosmetic total loss salvage, flood, fire or other brand by the Division of Motor Vehicles under this section and said application is accompanied by a title from another state which does not carry the brand, the division shall, before issuing the title, affix the brand “reconstructed”, “cosmetic total loss”, “cosmetic total loss salvage”, “flood”, “fire” or other brand to the title. The motor vehicle sales tax paid on a motor vehicle titled as reconstructed, cosmetic total loss, flood, fire or other brand under the provisions of this section shall be based on fifty percent of the fair market value of the vehicle as determined by a nationally accepted used car value guide to be used by the commissioner.

(k) The division shall charge a fee of $15 for the issuance of each salvage certificate or cosmetic total loss salvage certificate but shall not require the payment of the five percent motor vehicle sales tax. However, upon application for a certificate of title for a reconstructed, cosmetic total loss, flood or fire damaged vehicle or other brand, the division shall collect the five percent privilege tax on the fair market value of the vehicle as determined by the commissioner unless the applicant is otherwise exempt from the payment of such privilege tax. A wrecker/dismantler/rebuilder, licensed by the division, is exempt from the payment of the five percent privilege tax upon titling a reconstructed vehicle. The division shall collect a fee of $35 per vehicle for inspections of reconstructed vehicles. These fees shall be deposited in a special fund created in the State Treasurer’s Office and may be expended by the division to carry out the provisions of this article: Provided, That on and after July 1, 2007, any balance in the special fund and all fees collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the State Road Fund. Licensed wreckers/dismantlers/rebuilders may charge a fee not to exceed $25 for all vehicles owned by private rebuilders which are inspected at the place of business of a wrecker/dismantler/rebuilder.

(l) As used in this section:

(1) “Reconstructed vehicle” means the vehicle was totaled under the provisions of this section or by the provisions of another state or jurisdiction and has been rebuilt in accordance with the provisions of this section or in accordance with the provisions of another state or jurisdiction or meets the provisions of subsection (m) (n), section one, article one of this chapter.

(2) “Flood-damaged vehicle” means that the vehicle was submerged in water to the extent that water entered the passenger or trunk compartment.

(3) “Other brand” means a brand consistent with the intent of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System established pursuant to 49 U. S. C. §30502 and rules promulgated by the United States Department of Justice to alert consumers, motor vehicle dealers or the insurance industry of the history of a vehicle.

(m) Every vehicle owner shall comply with the branding requirements for a totaled vehicle whether or not the owner receives an insurance claim settlement for a totaled vehicle.

(n) A certificate of title issued by the division for a reconstructed vehicle shall contain markings in bold print on the face of the title that it is for a reconstructed, flood- or fire-damaged vehicle.

(o) Any person who knowingly provides false or fraudulent information to the division that is required by this section in an application for a title, a cosmetic total loss title, a reconstructed vehicle title or a salvage certificate or who knowingly fails to disclose to the division information required by this section to be included in the application or who otherwise violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall for each incident be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,500, or imprisoned in jail for not more than one year, or both fined and imprisoned.

(p) With respect to a motor vehicle that the vehicle owner has not chosen to retain, if an insurance company or insurer is unable to obtain the properly endorsed certificate of title for a motor vehicle within thirty days of the payment of a total loss claim, the insurance company or insurer, at any time thereafter, may apply to the Division of Motor Vehicles for a salvage certificate, a cosmetic total loss salvage certificate or a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate, as applicable. Upon payment of the appropriate fees and receipt of a properly completed application, the division shall issue a salvage certificate, a cosmetic total loss salvage certificate or a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate, as applicable, in the name of the insurance company or insurer. The insurance company or insurer may then sell the motor vehicle at private sale or public auction. For purposes of this subsection, a properly completed application is an application that includes:

(1) Evidence that the insurance company or insurer has paid a total loss claim on the motor vehicle and that the vehicle owner has chosen not to retain the motor vehicle;

(2) A copy of the written request for the certificate of title sent by the insurance company or insurer to the vehicle owner and any known lienholder; and

(3) Proof that the request for the certificate of title was delivered to the last known address of the vehicle owner and any known lienholder at least thirty days prior to the application.

(q) A licensed automobile auction may apply to the Division of Motor Vehicles for a salvage certificate or a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate without surrendering the certificate of title for a motor vehicle subject to an insurance total loss claim for which the insurance company or insurer denied insurance coverage or otherwise does not take ownership. Upon payment of the appropriate fees and receipt of a properly completed application, the division shall issue a salvage certificate or a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate, as applicable, in the name of the licensed automobile auction for such motor vehicle. The licensed automobile auction may then sell the motor vehicle at private sale or public auction. For purposes of this subsection, a properly completed application is an application that includes:

(1) A copy of the written request on the automobile auction’s letterhead to the vehicle owner and any known lienholder that the motor vehicle be removed from the automobile auction’s facility upon payment of applicable charges;

(2) Proof that the request was delivered to the last known address of the vehicle owner and any known lienholder at least thirty days prior to the application; and

(3) An affidavit signed by an employee or officer or director of the licensed automobile auction that the licensed automobile auction has had possession of the motor vehicle for which the certificate is sought for at least forty-five days, that applicable charges have not been paid to the licensed automobile auction for the motor vehicle, and that the licensed automobile auction has no reasonable expectation that a vehicle owner, insurance company, insurer or lienholder will remove the motor vehicle from the automobile auction’s facility upon payment of applicable charges within a reasonable time.

(r) An applicant pursuant to subsection (p) or (q) of this section shall indemnify and hold harmless the Division of Motor Vehicles from any liability arising from an error or misrepresentation made by such applicant in a submission to the division pursuant to said subsections.

 

NOTE: Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

 

 

 

 

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