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DMV Launches Awareness Campaign to Combat Unlicensed Vehicle Dismantling


Contact:  Office of Public Affairs
2415 First Avenue 
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 657–6437 |

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November 27, 2017

DMV Launches Awareness Campaign to Combat Unlicensed Vehicle Dismantling

Sacramento – In an effort to address unlicensed vehicle dismantling, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is announcing a statewide campaign to inform the public of the health and safety risks posed by this activity. Dismantling a vehicle without a license is against the law and can involve stripping down vehicles, selling used vehicle parts illegally, and dumping hazardous waste into the environment.

An estimated 1.2 million vehicles are disposed annually in California – and approximately 360,000 wind up in the hands of unlicensed and unregulated dismantlers. This activity occurs not only in private garages and industrial areas, but also in residential neighborhoods, near parks, schools, and vulnerable waterways such as storm drains. Individuals who dismantle vehicles without permits typically do not properly dispose of chemicals such as engine oil and transmission and radiator fluids. This hazardous waste can end up in rivers and streams and contaminate drinking water. Defective auto parts also could contribute to serious vehicle collisions. Economically, unlicensed vehicle dismantlers do not pay sales and income taxes, which results in a loss of state revenue.

“Unlicensed vehicle dismantlers operate in the underground economy and do not comply with licensing requirements,” DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said. “These individuals ignore environmental regulatory requirements, insurance and tax obligations, and workplace safety requirements. Vehicle fluids can seep and contaminate ground water and defective parts can be sold to unsuspecting people, creating a potential public safety hazard.”

The DMV Vehicle Dismantler Industry Strike Team is collaborating with representatives from the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), California Air Resources Board (CARB), and California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) to investigate the occurrences of unlicensed and unregulated vehicle dismantling.

DMV’s investigators will continue focusing on problem areas throughout the state by identifying and citing unlicensed vehicle dismantlers, as well as checking for compliance with state law and environmental regulations. The DMV also is unveiling a poster and webpage to educate Californians on the impact of unlicensed vehicle dismantling.

The DMV encourages the public to report unlicensed vehicle dismantling activity. Anyone who suspects a person or business may be dismantling vehicles without a proper license or permit should complete the online complaint form.

*For high-resolution photos, contact DMV Office of Public Affairs at




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