Assembled Vehicles Coalition of Texas
For years Dune Buggy, Sandrail and Kitcar Owners feared that there was an impending problem when it came to legal title and registration of their home built assembled vehicles. Yet the problem was always swept under the rug in hopes that the actual problem would never come to fruition. With that in mind citizens continued to follow procedures that they thought were lawful in receiving a legal title and registration. That is until they learned of the unheralded rule change set in place by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
Texas Administrative Code, Title 43, Part 10, Chapter 217, Sub-chapter A. Rule 217.3
- (6) Not eligible for Title. The Following are not eligible for a Texas Title regardless of the vehicles previous title or registration in this or any jurisdiction.
- (A) Vehicles that are missing or stripped of their motor, frame, or body, to the point that it materially alters the manufactures original design or makes the vehicle unsafe for on-road operation as determined by the department.
- (B) Vehicles designed or determined by the department to be a Dune Buggy.
- Additionally, Transportation Code 502.048 allows the department to refuse registration to any motor vehicle the department determines to be unsafe, improperly equipped, or otherwise unfit to be operated on a public highway.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles passed Administrative Rule 217.3 in the name of safety. Although the department has been asked numerous times, it has not been confirmed that actual statistics of auto accidents exist, or the number of Dune Buggies, Sandrails and Kitcars that have been involved in accidents.
A number of citizens became aware of the revocation of vehicle titles and registration. In some cases, many years after the vehicles were thought to be legally titled and registered. These citizens received demand letters from department officials to send in their current title and registration paperwork, license plates, and even the registration sticker off the windshield. They were told that the only remedy to have the department review their decision was for citizens to petition the department. Many citizens took that advice seriously. Late in 2017, following Government Code Sec. 2001.021. PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF RULES, we sent 188 petitions, respectfully requesting the department reverse its previous decision to revoke titles and registrations of specific vehicles.
In early December of 2017, the department added to their agenda, item number 7, Consideration of issues related to the titling and registrations of vehicles manufactured, assembled, or altered by persons other than licensed manufactures or converters (Street Rods, Custom Vehicles, and Dune Buggies). Multiple citizens that own Dune Buggies, Sandrails, and Kitcars attended the Texas DMV Board Meeting providing expert testimony in regards to the action of the departments rule that resulted in the revocation of titles and registrations. The Assembled Vehicle Coalition of Texas recommended only two items:
1. Reinstate the title and registration of those vehicles that had executed the proper inspection and title registration process that were previously approved by the department.
2. Create a Working Group made up of interested parties to discuss future policies and procedures regarding Assembled Vehicles. The board granted part two, but not part one of the request.
The first Working Group Meeting was hosted by the Texas DMV in early March. Attendees included the list below. During the two-day conference the items discussed were policies and procedures, federal and state law, as well as other issues of concern. The two-day conference ended with the Texas DMV requesting that the Assembled Vehicle Coalition of Texas provide its recommendations to the department for further and final action. Those recommendations are provided in this write up.
Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
Jeremiah Kuntz – Director, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
David Duncan – General Counsel, Office of General Counsel
Daniel Avitia – Director, Motor Vehicle Division
Tim Thompson – Deputy Director, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
Clint Thompson – Chief of Title Services, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
Linda Kirksey – Chief of Registration Services, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
Tony Hall – Title Policy and Procedure Planner, Vehicle Title and Registration Division
Kyle Kirk – Title Policy and Procedure Planner, Vehicles Titles and Registration Division
Chris Kadas – Attorney, Motor Vehicle Division
Michelle Lingo – Attorney. Motor Vehicle Division
Creighton Root – Specialist, Government and Strategic Communications Division
Texas Department of Public Safety
Pablo Luna – Program Manager, Regulatory Services Division
David Palmer – Major, Texas Highway Patrol Division Industry, Associations, and Other Stakeholders
Coleman Sachs – Attorney Advisor, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
David Smith – President/CEO Factory Five Racing
Stuart Gosswein – Senior Federal Government Affairs Director, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)
Karen Phillips – General Counsel, Texas Automobile Dealers Association (TADA)
Cathie Curtis – Program Manager, American Association of Motor Vehicles Administrators. (AAMVA)
Alma Russel – Senior Director of Motor Vehicles, Williamson County
Brian Johns – Detective, Williamson County Sheriffs Office
Faron Smith – Founder, Save the Texas Dune Buggy and Co Founder, Assembled Vehicles Coalition of Texas
Ron Hinkle – Legislative Consultant, Assembled Vehicles Coalition of Texas
Justin Sullivan – Kitcar Builder, Co Founder, Assembled Vehicles Coalition of Texas
Lonny Doyle – Owner, DF Kitcar
Adam Doyle – Owner, DF Kitcar
The Assembled Vehicle Coalition of Texas issued the following recommendation to the Texas DMV, Second Board Meeting held in late April.
Reinstate titles and registration:
Based on the following facts, all titles and registration of the vehicles in question that have previously been inspected by qualified inspectors as per the policies and procedures of the Department of Public Safety and have had all proper and previously approved documents submitted to and approved by the local Texas DMV offices in their respective cities should be immediately put back in place.
Letters from the department came to vehicle owners stating that the owner’s specific vehicle title and registration is revoked because “the department has determined that the vehicle in question does not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and has concluded that your vehicle is not an actual replica…” or “A review of our records indicate your vehicle was erroneously issued a title and registration… these types of vehicles are considered non-titled vehicles designed for off-road usage and may not be legally operated for use on Texas streets or roadways.”
The above explanation from the department to vehicle owners are not based on facts but based on “determined by the department” and considered “not an actual replica” or have labeled vehicles incorrectly noting they are “designed for off-road usage”.
All of the conclusions provided by the department in revocation letters to private owners of the vehicles are incorrect. No state law concludes these specific types of vehicles are considered off-road, nor these specific type of vehicles are required to comply with FMVSS, nor are they required to be deemed actual replicas, but may “resemble” a previous vehicle model.
April 26th was the second Working Group meeting, and it was only scheduled for half a day. Turns out half a day was all that was truly needed. Unfortunately that was the day that we all understood that the Texas DMV was stringing us along. They continue to hang their hat on Dune Buggies, Sandrail and Kitcars not complying with Federal Motor Vehicle Standards. It is incomprehensible to most, how our vehicles are considered to be unsafe by the Texas DMV while other custom built cars are considered to be safe. Or are they? A member of the meeting asked “if a Dune Buggy owner cuts the chassis in order make the wheelbase shorter, how does that differ from a vehicle that has been C-Notched in order to raise the chassis over the axle to get the car lower to the ground with Air Ride Suspension”. The response from the Texas DMV was that “those vehicles do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Standards”. We then said, “there are hundreds if not thousands of vehicles that are just as described LEGALLY driving around Texas every day”. Their response, “then give us their names and we will revoke them too”. Of course we don’t want to drop anyone else in the grease, but we do want them to be aware. The meeting ended with the members of the Assembled Vehicle Coalition of Texas and our Legislative Consultant agreeing that the Texas DMV does not want to play ball with us, so we go to the next step.
Our new plan of action whatwe all had hoped the Texas DMV wouldn’t force us to take. As of May 4th, 2018, we are no longer trying to take the high road. So we look to you to help build awareness of our situation, so that we can put an end to the problem before it grows to the next style of vehicle, or state for that matter.
Our Legislative Consultant has already been hard at work reaching out to State Legislators. He was already in contact with the State Legislators before Aprils meeting. The State Legislatorshave expressed that they felt the Texas DMV has gone rogue, after all, it is our Legislators that pass bills that the Texas DMV must follow. The way that the Texas DMV went about passing this Administrative Rule just does not seem right to the Legislators. In fact, we have already had multiple Legislators say that they would sponsor a Bill for us. In addition, our Lobbyist is in contact with the Sunset Advisory Commission, and they are also extremely interested in our Issue with the Texas DMV. The Sunset Advisory Commission is an agency of the Texas Legislature that makes recommendations to the Legislature on whether or not to continue various state agencies. Strangely enough, the Texas DMV Vehicle Titles and Registration Division is under review with the Sunset Advisory Commission right now. Another fact is that the Sunset Advisory Commission is having a meeting later this month with an open public forum, and the Assembled Vehicles Coalition of Texas will be there with our Lobbyist.
Although stories have been run in major publications via the internet as well as print. The Assembled Vehicle Coalition of Texas has done their best to keep the media at arm’s length, because we felt it would help the Texas DMV work with us. As we stated, the Texas DMV does not want to play ball, so we are forced to go another route. We have a Press Release that we will published soon. In addition, there is this article that serves to give as a play by play to help people understand the issue. We also have a brochure that we will pass out to anyone who wants to help. It is suitable to post in every parts store and repair facility that will allow it. Everything is available for anyone to print if they like.
This brings us now to two important items to talk about.
1. We need your help! There is strength in numbers, and we need to build up the membership of the Save the Texas Dune Buggy Facebook page. That is where the most up today information can and will be found.
2. This one is never an easy one. We need your financial support to help pay the monthly fees of the hired Legislative Consultant/Lobbyist. Without his continued advice, contacts, and ability we would have never got this far.
We are selling T-Shirts, Ball-caps, Koozies, etc. and we have had some very generous donations. But we do need more! We have a Go Fund Me fund set up and the link is below. Go Fund Me will take their cut, but the rest goes to paying our VERY valued Legislative Consultant/Lobbyist. Please make a donation if you can, even if you feel it is a small donation. After all… “a little plus a little equals a lot”. Please help!
We would like to thank you for taking the time to read about the Assembled Vehicle issue here in Texas. We sincerely hope we can put this to an end before it expands out to the next vehicle or state!
Facebook Page –
Faron Smith – 505-688-7640
Justin Sullivan – 512-925-7054