Title issues in Arkansas with HMMWVs

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ARYankee

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I'm starting this thread to get facts and exact info (documentation) to help me build a case for "on road use" and titling in Arkansas. I don't need opinions, work arounds, or any of the such.

Here is the back story. Before I even bought my Humvee, I did my due diligence and spoke with our DMV officials about getting a title and if the process I was using was good. I was assured several times and several different occasions that it was. I spoke with the experts. I went ahead and purchased my Humvee and began the process. I got it titled and registered. About 3 to 4 months ago I heard that folks were getting rejected and those that had titles were getting letters stating that they had to return their titles. Well I finally got my letter the other day.


My plan is to speak with them to see exactly what the issue is. All my letter stated was some blanket statute and not a specific reason. I want to know exactly what the problem is and why. I've seen other letters that stated that they don't meet FMVSS.

I know this fight has been fought in other states and won. What I would like to know from those involved is what documents they used in the fight and what issues they had.
 

hndrsonj

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Send a PM to Undysworld. He is probably the most knowledgeable having advised in several state cases that have been won.
 

ARYankee

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Thank you hndrsonj. I emailed him. I had corresponded with him way back in 2012 or so about some laws I was working on for Arkansas.
 

donkren

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Have a look at this NHTSA ruling: https://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/CA_HMMV.html

I think it spells doom for our guys in CA. I also think it is what is behind the state of Illinois' insistence that no HMMWV is eligible for registration. Even mine with a clean SF-97.

The really scary thing is, this ruling allows California, and any other state, to prohibit registering ANY vehicle "manufactured pursuant to military specifications and sold directly to the US military". And I don't think any DMV can justify singling out the HMMWV for special treatment under the law. So I see grave implications for ALL post 1967 military vehicles, those built since the inception of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

I'm no lawyer, and I'm admittedly biased, but I don't buy Ms. Glassman's argument. She admits that legal principal "preclude(s) States from adopting operational requirements that are more stringent than the requirements applicable to new vehicles under the FMVSS, because more stringent State requirements would have the effect of precluding the use of a Federally compliant vehicle in that State."
In other words, states can't make rules more strict than the feds.

But she then concludes that since military vehicles are exempted from the FMVSS, "there is no conflict between the FMVSSs and a California requirement that the vehicles meet safety standards."

It seems to me that the same principals of preemption would apply to a federal exemption from FMVSS, the states would have to exempt it too.

The only sure fix I see is to get this ruling overturned, or specific legislation in every state allowing FMVSS exempt military vehicles to be registered.

What do you guys think?
 

undysworld

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donkren,

As I've written before, state's control registration of motor vehicles. They do this according to that state's laws, because that's what they're authorized to do. If a state imposes a restriction through it's laws, then that DMV has the authority to deny registration. Yes, the letter of interpretation supports California's right to have a strict law. But that doesn't give any other state the authority to enforce California's law.

Federal law does exempt military vehicles from FMVSS requirements in the interest of mission capability. But being exempted from compliance doesn't preclude compliance. This is crucial.

In fact, the MIL-STD-1180B document shows that military vehicles, up to and including 5-tons, must meet military equipment standards identical to FMVSS, unless that compliance compromises mission capability.

So, does the Humvee comply? There are some aspects that do not, such as the steel dashboard (just like my FMVSS-compliant 1979 CJ-5) instead of a padded one. But my CJ-5 doesn't even have doors or a roof. Or ABS, traction control, stability control,... (My point is, LOTS of FMVSS-compliant, fully legal vehicles do not comply with current-year FMVSS requirements either, and nobody balks at registering these vehicles.)

Largely, the Humvee does meet the safety equipment requirements, like the dual-circuit brake system, passenger restraints, laminated glass, directional lights, etc. (IMHO, the single most important piece of safety equipment in any vehicle is the human behind the steering wheel.)
The only sure fix I see is to get this ruling overturned, or specific legislation in every state allowing FMVSS exempt military vehicles to be registered.

What do you guys think?
FWIW, that's an opinion, not a court ruling. But like you, in states where DMV is denying registration for Humvees, I see specific legislation as the best solution.
 

USAFSS-ColdWarrior

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donkren,

As I've written before, state's control registration of motor vehicles. They do this according to that state's laws, because that's what they're authorized to do. If a state imposes a restriction through it's laws, then that DMV has the authority to deny registration. Yes, the letter of interpretation supports California's right to have a strict law. But that doesn't give any other state the authority to enforce California's law.

Federal law does exempt military vehicles from FMVSS requirements in the interest of mission capability. But being exempted from compliance doesn't preclude compliance. This is crucial.

In fact, the MIL-STD-1180B document shows that military vehicles, up to and including 5-tons, must meet military equipment standards identical to FMVSS, unless that compliance compromises mission capability.

So, does the Humvee comply? There are some aspects that do not, such as the steel dashboard (just like my FMVSS-compliant 1979 CJ-5) instead of a padded one. But my CJ-5 doesn't even have doors or a roof. Or ABS, traction control, stability control,... (My point is, LOTS of FMVSS-compliant, fully legal vehicles do not comply with current-year FMVSS requirements either, and nobody balks at registering these vehicles.)

Largely, the Humvee does meet the safety equipment requirements, like the dual-circuit brake system, passenger restraints, laminated glass, directional lights, etc. (IMHO, the single most important piece of safety equipment in any vehicle is the human behind the steering wheel.)

FWIW, that's an opinion, not a court ruling. But like you, in states where DMV is denying registration for Humvees, I see specific legislation as the best solution.
Ref the line above that's been made large and BOLD...

Nor does "it" allow any State to negate it's own participation in the standing RECRIPROCITY AGREEMENT between ALL 50 STATES to honor the LAWS of the State in which a vehicle is LEGALLY registered whenever said vehicle is operated in their State.

In other words, my MV's which are titled and registered in TEXAS can operate in ANY of the other 49 States as though it is still in TEXAS. IF my MV were to be a prohibited vehicle (for on-road use) in - let's say California - then California CANNOT say I am not allowed to drive it on their roads. It's LEGAL in TEXAS - then it's LEGAL in ALL 50 STATES! PERIOD!!! (At least as a "visitor". You MUST NOT subvert the laws of the State in which the vehicle is based by doing a cross-border titling/registration.)
One quirk of the TEXAS FMV LAWS is that as a Former Military Vehicle, still appearing with reasonable historical accuracy it's military configuration and coloration, can be registered with the NO TAGS (License Plate(s)) option. Hence, if I were to take it out of state, then that host State CANNOT insist it bear a Tag. Granted, I might get stopped for Failure to Display a License Plate, but THAT is exactly why I carry copies of the applicable LAWS in the vehicle at all times. Even local LEOs in Texas don't always know this is allowed.

Please see the link below in my Signature Block for the TEXAS FMV LAWS thread if you are interested in further reading.

Carry on.
 
Last edited:

undysworld

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Yup. That's right about reciprocity. So if your state outlaws Humvees, an out-of-state owner could legally drive his Humvee in your state, but a tax-paying citizen voter cannot. That dog don't hunt.

One more item to consider. If you have a valid US state title, any other US state should recognize that title as a valid document, not treat it as somehow suspect. On the contrary, unless the second state has evidence to suggest that the title is not clear and valid, it should be accepted. The US Constitution Article IV, Section 1 states: "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State." - "Records" includes a Motor Vehicle title.
 

ARYankee

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All great points gentleman. I appreciate the input and discussion. Things are in motion to work on getting this straightened out. I found out the other day on an info recon call, that they have also rejected other titles for former military vehicles as well so I can see this turning into more than just an issue for humvees.

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ARYankee

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A bit of an update. There was enough uproar that the Revenue folks rescinded their letter revoking my title and registration along with others. The fight is not over because there are others that are having issues still. We will be working with some MV friendly legislators for the upcoming session to produce some good legislation to help us.

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Degrey

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A bit of an update. There was enough uproar that the Revenue folks rescinded their letter revoking my title and registration along with others. The fight is not over because there are others that are having issues still. We will be working with some MV friendly legislators for the upcoming session to produce some good legislation to help us.

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Thanks for the update. In the mean time before the legislation, is it possible to title one?
 

ARYankee

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It depends really. I was just contacted by someone with one that has an out of state title and they wouldn't which is wrong. The problem is the folks at DFA behind this are totally ignorant and misinformed.

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Al Capone

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I started the fight in my state of la along with 2 other guys and we won with the help of a senator and a bill that made the omv title them for road use due to the prrof
of burden was in the omv to prove they did not
meet fmvss when we had documents that stated they did . And the threat of lawsuits against them and the fact that they would have to buy a bunch of the humvees from owners due to them admitting giving titles to owners by mistake and those owners selling them .
 

Degrey

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It depends really. I was just contacted by someone with one that has an out of state title and they wouldn't which is wrong. The problem is the folks at DFA behind this are totally ignorant and misinformed. /QUOTE]

I appreciate the input. So I just need to hope I meet someone friendly at the DFA office. The vehicle I'm looking at is currently owned by a fire department. In your opinion would they have any options to get a road title for it before it's sold that, maybe, would be easier than a normal person?
 

ARYankee

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Not sure there. If it already has a title they are supposed to honor that. I haven't got a straight answer from DFA. You just have to fight it. We are meeting in Conway on the 18th for our call to action meeting. We're going to discuss developing a bill for MVs in the state. You are welcome to attend.

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Degrey

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Not sure there. If it already has a title they are supposed to honor that. I haven't got a straight answer from DFA. You just have to fight it. We are meeting in Conway on the 18th for our call to action meeting. We're going to discuss developing a bill for MVs in the state. You are welcome to attend.

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I'd love the details. I'm working on the 18th but if I get off early enough I'm happy to participate and contribute however I can.
 

JKT1974

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Do you have an update on this? I bought a HMMWV with street legal title from Nebraska, but now I am reading that you can't title them in Arkansas. Will I have an issue transferring this title to Arkansas?
 

ARYankee

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I'd love the details. I'm working on the 18th but if I get off early enough I'm happy to participate and contribute however I can.
Well we didn't have a meeting because a couple of us work schedules got in the way. We are attempting to have one in the next month or so.
 

ARYankee

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Benton, AR
Do you have an update on this? I bought a HMMWV with street legal title from Nebraska, but now I am reading that you can't title them in Arkansas. Will I have an issue transferring this title to Arkansas?
No real update. They can't refuse to title it if it has been titled in another state and you are transferring it. You should contact your legislators and explain what is happening. They should be able to help you out until we can get a permanent fix.
 
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