Scrap Metal

Metal Prices Good – Theft Bad

Metal Prices Good. Upward Trend in Theft BAD!

All over the country salvage and recycling dealers are riding the wave of fluctuating metal prices. Across the board prices have hit more than an 8-year high and there’s no sign of them going down. Predictions as far out as April 2023 show prices continuing to rise.

Pricing

There are several reasons for the increase in pricing. The pandemic has had a big impact. Back-ups in supply chains and product not shipping and homebound people deciding to do DYI fix-it projects on their houses and vehicles have driven up demand while supply has diminished. And now the war in Ukraine and the impact on Russian trade has factored in as well.

Cats… Meow?

With the upward tick in prices comes the threat of dishonest players looking for ways to make a quick buck. One of the most prevalent forms of theft right now is of catalytic convertors. The bad guys are stealing them and presenting them for sale at salvage yards and dismantlers/ recyclers. Some of Peak’s tow company customers have reported having the devices stolen from cars on their lots, even with strong security systems in place.

Legislation

Several states have introduced eral states have introduced legislation that attempts to curb that type of theft. Some are requiring the parts dealer to obtain a statement from the seller saying they have the right to sell it. Others are looking at making theft of the device a felony with stronger sentences if convicted. And others are developing requirements that dealers check the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) to determine if the vehicles and its catalytic convertor have been reported stolen.

Opportunity

The best way to minimize the opportunity for thieves to impact your business is to move those vehicles off your lot as quickly as possible. To find out how Peak Auto Auction can help your business turn abandoned vehicles into cash, give us a call at 720-232-2304 or send an email to [email protected]

Slow Down, Move Over, Save Lives!

SLOW DOWN, MOVE OVER, SAVE LIVES!

Every time you send one of your employees out on the road, you know there’s a chance someone could get hurt. According to AAA, work-related injuries and deaths of tow truck operators is on the rise, along with an increase in all vehicle accidents across the country.  That’s why safety precautions on the part of both the tow operator and the driving public is so important to keeping your valued employees safe.

All 50 states now have ‘Move Over’ laws that require motorists to move over one lane and slow down if they see law enforcement, medical crews, firefighters, and TOW PROVIDERS on the side of the road. Most states have even expanded the law to include disabled and utility vehicles. Regardless of whether the law includes all of these, common sense should prevail, and drivers should SLOW DOWN and MOVE OVER!

But raising awareness of this law can go a long way to making it more effective. Even though many states have penalties (fines from $50 to $300 in some places), it only takes one uninformed and careless driver to turn a roadside pickup into a tragedy. Peak is a big proponent of SLOW DOWN, MOVE OVER laws and encourage our customers to promote this important safety step to their employees, friends, and family.

There are other basics of safety that we know you practice daily but are always worth a mention.  The National Automotive Roads Fuel Association (NARFA) offers these safety tips for tow operators on its website:


  1. Be Ready:
    Before you head out on the road to rescue a stranded vehicle or perform a repossession, make sure you and your truck are ready to go. Tow truck driver safety starts by regularly inspecting your vehicle and equipment from the tire pressure and fluid levels to cables, connectors, splices and winches. Make a checklist to ensure you have all of the tools and backup parts and supplies you’ll need to respond to every conceivable situation.
  2. Drive Defensively:
    Getting from point A to point B is fraught with potential dangers for tow truck drivers. Always stay within the speed limit and maintain safe distances from other vehicles on the road to minimize the chance of an accident. When towing a vehicle, especially in adverse weather conditions, slow down even more and extend the following distance to a full length from the car in front of you.
  3. Take Control:
    From the moment you arrive at your destination, the better you control the scene, the safer everyone will be. Turn on safety lights, mark the area with cones, flares and markers, and move people out of harm’s way. Before you start to load any vehicle onto your truck, make sure you visually confirm objects and onlookers are clear of your equipment.
  4. Be Seen:
    Increasing visibility is one tow truck safety tip that can’t be overstated. Make sure everyone is aware of your presence by wearing bright-colored clothing and using flashing lights and reflectors on your truck. If you’re working on a federal highway, wearing an approved fluorescent vest is mandated.
  5. Protect Your Person:
    Increasing visibility is one tow truck safety tip that can’t be overstated. Make sure everyone is aware of your presence by wearing bright-colored clothing and using flashing lights and reflectors on your truck. If you’re working on a federal highway, wearing an approved fluorescent vest is mandated.
  6. Don’t Overdo It:
    Capacity cargo weight limits exist to make it clear how much your system can safely tow. Know what your truck is capable of and make an honest assessment of whether or not the job is right for you and your vehicle. Never tow a vehicle that’s beyond your capacity is one of the most crucial safety tips for tow truck drivers.

Are you Acquainted with NMVTIS?

Why Every Tow Company Should Get Acquainted With NMVTIS

NMVTIS. DOJ. AAMVA. JSI. It’s like an alphabet soup of acronyms but it’s something every tow company needs to be aware of. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) was authorized in 1992 when Congress passed the Anti-Car Theft Act. Its purpose was to prevent and reduce fraud and theft, and importantly to protect consumers from unsafe vehicles. With passage of the Anti-Car Theft Improvement Act in 1996 oversite of NMVTIS was transferred to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) became the system operator in 1998. The system became active in 2009 after a pilot project of the state program was conducted and determined to meet that Act’s objectives.


Got Title?

The Gutenberg editor uses blocks to create all types of content, replacing a half-dozen ways NMVTIS rules require states to provide their titling information and establish a practice of performing a title verification check through NMVTIS before transferring a title or issuing a title to an individual or business who say they purchased a vehicle in another state. Currently 49 states and D.C. participate in the system. In addition to these requirements on state DMVs, NMVTIS also requires that any entity (including tow companies) that handle more than five junk, salvage, or insurance (JSI) total loss vehicles per year must report those vehicles into NMVTIS within a month or possibly face a fine of $1,000 per incident. This data, provided by the private entities, result in brands on the vehicle so a consumer knows if something significant has occurred with the vehicle.

Reporting…

A consumer can purchase a NMVTIS vehicle history report which provides basic information about the vehicle (year, make, model), a title history that includes where and when the vehicle was titled (which state, date the new title was issued, and the odometer reading.) The brand section is where the JSI data is included. Brands include previous salvage, rebuilt, junk, flood and other occurrences that identify the vehicle’s prior condition. This alerts consumers who are thinking about purchasing a used car to any safety issues it may have.
So how do you avoid that $1,000 penalty for not reporting? Report! There are four entities authorized by the DOJ as consolidators of the JSI information. That means you set up an account with one of them and input the required data and that entity reports the information to NMVTIS for you. There are four consolidator entities: Auto Data Direct, ISO, Audatex, and AAMVA.

More Information

For more information about NMVTIS and how to report visit:

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) – American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators – AAMVA


Does that car belong to a member of the Military?

Hmm… Does that Car belong to a member of the Military?

It happens. You’ve towed a vehicle into your lot and attempted to notify the owner and lienholder to have it picked up with no luck. You notice there’s a bumper sticker on it that says Look Sharp, Be Sharp, Go Army! Do you move forward with taking possession of the vehicle? Not so fast! At this point you want to make a good faith effort to verify whether this vehicle is owned by an active member of the military.

SCRA

According to the U.S. Department of Defense’s official Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Website, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) (50 USC App. § 3901 et seq, as amended), formerly known as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940, provides members on active-duty status with important safeguards in areas of financial management that include rental agreements, security deposits, evictions, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgages, civil judicial proceedings, income tax payments, etc. SCRA website enables financial service providers to determine if an individual is eligible for the provisions of SCRA.

Penalties…

That includes enforcement of liens on an impounded vehicle without a court order if the vehicle is owned by a service person.  In statements issued by the Department of Justice last fall, they reported on multiple cases of tow companies having to pay significant civil penalties and additional compensation for the vehicle owner because they auctioned off vehicles and violated SCRA.

Good Faith?

So how does a tow company make that good faith effort to avoid penalties and protect the asset of one of America’s service members? There are a couple of websites we’ve found that can help.

Summary

You can go to  https://scra.dmdc.osd.mil/scra/#/home.  This is a free service but requires that you have the date of birth and social security number of the serviceperson.

A second website called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service provides search results without birthday and social security number, but there is a fee of nearly $39 per search. That site can be found at https://www.servicememberscivilreliefact.com.

It doesn’t happen often, but when an active service member’s vehicle is impounded and sold without their knowledge, the penalties and compensation for violations can cost a tow company thousands of dollars. Better to spend a little time and money in advance to avoid a financial disaster later.