Texas DMV Director Resigns After Paper Tag Fiasco
After a Dallas/Fort Worth news outlet exposed the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles' inability to track fraudulent paper vehicle tags across the Lone Star State, the DMV's executive director has officially resigned.
The Texas DMV (which deals with the buying, selling, and inspection of motor vehicles, and drivers' licenses) announced on Monday, February 7, 2022, that Whitney Brewster was stepping down from the director position, She previously spent nine years in the role.
Brewster's resignation is not necessarily shocking, considering that NBC 5 out of DFW launched an investigative special that looks into paper tag fraud in Texas in late fall 2021.
NBC 5 coverage estimated that buying and selling of fraudulent paper buyers' tags in Texas is a $200 million black market. Texans can pay $800 to the Department of Motor Vehicles as licensed vehicle dealers in order to access DMV data systems and print temporary paper tags for the vehicles they sell.
NBC 5 claims there's limited oversight from the DMV regarding how many paper tags are generated by licensed dealers, meaning so-called "businesses" can generate phony tags and sell them online for profits with little to no accountability. Falsified paper tags make it harder for law enforcement to keep track of stolen vehicles and the crimes they're connected to.
Texas' Legislature attempted to combat this with a new law that charged the DMV with limiting the number of paper tags a licensed dealer can produce from the data system and performing more rigorous background checks on potential licensed vehicle dealers. So far, the DMV hasn't released the paper tag limit per dealer.
The Texas DMV says that Brewster's departure from the organization will create room for different leadership and hasten the department's response to paper tag fraud.