Bringing an out of state classic car into North Carolina and having it re-titled has been a continuing issue for citizens of the Tar Heel State. Some states readily accept out-of-state titles as legitimate. Others have onerous bureaucratic barriers.
In North Carolina, under current law, no title may be issued for out-of-state vehicles 35 years old or older or a specially constructed vehicle prior to the completion of a vehicle verification conducted by the License and Theft Bureau of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This process can take some time though these verifications must be conducted as soon as practical.
The North Carolina DMV continues to delay these inspections for weeks after a request is made, and more than a month in some cases, including in well-populated metropolitan areas. Once the inspection is completed, vehicle owners are informed that it may take weeks before a title is mailed. I've heard of people waiting up to a year before having a determination made. In today's information age and with all of the information the government collects, how can this happen? What is it that makes it so hard to determine if an owner has proper ownership documentation.
North Carolina Senator Hartsell is attempting to solve these problems by introducing a bill (S.B. 344) to shorten the time the DMV has to make its determination. If a required inspection and verification is not conducted by the DMV within 10 days after receiving a request and the inspector has no probable cause to believe that the ownership documents or public vehicle identification number does not match the vehicle being examined, the vehicle will be deemed to have satisfied all inspection and verification requirements and the title will be issued to the owner within 10 days. If an inspection and verification is performed in a timely manner and the vehicle passes the inspection and verification, title will issue to the owner within 10 days of the date of the inspection.
I think that makes a lot of sense. How nuts is it for you to buy an out-of-state classic car and wait 12 months for your title? That's a heck of a burden on the buyer. You're left in limbo. You can't plate it, drive it, or even sell it. Government officials charged with issuing titles should not have the right to tie up your assets without justification just because they opt to drag their feet getting the job done. S.B. 344 would provide vehicle owners a fair, reasonable and reliable time period in which they could have these older cars inspected and receive title from the DMV.
Senator Hartsell needs our support in forcing the DMV to do their job in a timely fashion. If you live in North Carolina, contact the Senate Commerce Committee, find a list of members at www.semasan.com.
Let's simplify and speed up this process.
Matt Agosta is the President of Steele Rubber Products and
ARMO (Automotive Restoration Market Organization) Legislative Chair.