Enforcement

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety grants help ADOT promote safe commercial travel

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety grants help ADOT promote safe commercial travel

I-17 101 traffic interchange

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety grants help ADOT promote safe commercial travel

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety grants help ADOT promote safe commercial travel

February 12, 2024

Enforcement and Compliance Division receives nearly $70,000 for efforts

PHOENIX – Two grants from the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety will help Arizona Department of Transportation Enforcement and Compliance Division (ECD) officers promote safe commercial travel on state highways. 

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety awarded ECD $36,654 for DUI enforcement overtime reimbursement and to purchase 10 portable alcohol breath-testing devices. The former will help ECD officers participate in multi-agency commercial vehicle DUI enforcement around major holidays and events. Being able to test for intoxication at commercial ports of entry will reduce the need for ECD officers to call on area law enforcement agencies when enforcing laws related to commercial vehicles. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established 0.04% as the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above which a commercial motor vehicle driver is considered to be under the influence of alcohol and subject to sanctions in federal regulations. This BAC is half of Arizona’s legal limit for adult drivers of passenger vehicles.  

A $30,491 grant will reimburse ECD for the purchase of 10 window tint meters and four laser devices that can tell whether a commercial vehicle isn’t maintaining a safe following distance. Tinting material that makes vehicle glass too dark limits a commercial driver’s vision. Unsafe following distance is a major contributor to crashes and can be a sign that a commercial vehicle driver is fatigued, distracted or impaired. 

“We’re grateful to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for supporting ADOT’s work to protect Arizonans through commercial vehicle enforcement at and around commercial ports of entry,” ADOT Director Jennifer Toth said. 

ADOT’s ECD protects Arizona’s transportation infrastructure and promotes road safety through the inspection of commercial vehicles at the state’s ports of entry and mobile inspection stations. Duties performed by its ECD personnel include conducting vehicle identification inspections and conducting investigations related to vehicle dealers, title fraud and driver license and state identification fraud

The Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety is the focal point for highway safety issues in Arizona. The cabinet agency provides leadership by developing, promoting and coordinating programs; influencing public and private policy; and increasing public awareness of highway safety.

For more information about the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, please visit gohs.az.gov.

For more information about ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, please visit  azdot.gov/enforcement.

 

ADOT Fuel Tax Evasion Unit honored for red-dyed diesel enforcement

ADOT Fuel Tax Evasion Unit honored for red-dyed diesel enforcement

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT Fuel Tax Evasion Unit honored for red-dyed diesel enforcement

ADOT Fuel Tax Evasion Unit honored for red-dyed diesel enforcement

November 8, 2023

Officers work throughout the state to combat illegal use of tax-exempt diesel

PHOENIX – A team of Arizona Department of Transportation law enforcement officers has won a national honor for its efforts to make sure only eligible vehicles use tax-exempt diesel reserved for use off of state highways.

The Federation of Tax Administrators Motor Fuel Tax Section recently presented its National Chair’s Award to ADOT’s Fuel Tax Evasion Unit, part of the agency’s Enforcement and Compliance Division. The national group noted that other states often tap these ADOT officers’ expertise and ask to come to Arizona to train with them. 

State law allows for a certain type of diesel to be exempt from motor fuel taxes if used by vehicles designed for use off of highways, such as farming, mining and construction equipment. The fuel they use is referred to as red-dyed diesel because of the red dye added by the supplier. Red-dyed diesel pumps are clearly marked as “off road use only.”

The Fuel Tax Evasion Unit’s success benefits Arizonans because taxes generated from gasoline and diesel fuel sales provide most of the revenue ADOT receives to plan, build, operate and maintain the state highway system. It costs all of us when a personal or commercial vehicle makes illegal use of red-dyed diesel.

The four-member Fuel Tax Evasion Unit, which is funded by a federal grant, works throughout the state to deter commercial vehicles from illegally fueling with red-dyed diesel. Officers use equipment that can detect and quantify the amount of red-dyed diesel in a fuel tank. They also check locations that dispense red-dyed diesel to ensure that pumps are correctly labeled with fuel tax rate decals. 

A first-time offender can face a fine of $1,000 or $10 per gallon of the capacity of the fuel tank, whichever is greater, along with possible criminal charges and civil penalties. Those fines will be multiplied if a person has multiple violations.

You can help as well. Please report suspected violations of Arizona’s fuel tax laws to ADOT’s Fuel Tax Evasion Tip Line by calling 877.293.8357 (877.AZFuels) or making an online report at azdot.gov/RedDiesel

ADOT detectives make undercover bust of unlicensed auto dealer

ADOT detectives make undercover bust of unlicensed auto dealer

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT detectives make undercover bust of unlicensed auto dealer

ADOT detectives make undercover bust of unlicensed auto dealer

August 16, 2016

PHOENIX – An undercover bust of a man accused of selling more than 100 vehicles without a dealer license is a reminder for buyers to be wary and do their homework.

Detectives with the Arizona Department of Transportation cited Daniel Miranda, 35, of Avondale after arranging for a detective to buy a vehicle advertised for sale. Their investigation revealed that Miranda had sold 124 vehicles in the last 11 months without a license. This is known as curbstoning.

State law allows an individual to sell no more than six vehicles in 12 consecutive months without a dealer’s license.

In addition to a citation for acting as a used vehicle dealer without a license, Miranda was cited for not having a business license. The penalty for selling more vehicles than allowed by an individual is between $1,000 and $3,000 per vehicle, so Miranda faces a minimum $118,000 in fines.

“Our detectives are very proactive when it comes to finding unlicensed dealers, protecting vehicle buyers and ensuring that vehicles are sold legally,” said Michael Lockhart, chief of ADOT’s Office of Inspector General.

After citing Miranda, ADOT detectives requested a hearing at the ADOT Executive Hearing Office to establish a penalty. Miranda will also face a court hearing since the citations are criminal charges.

ADOT urges those looking to purchase used vehicles to be diligent and ask lots of questions. Also consider completing the transaction at a Motor Vehicle Division office or Authorized Third Party business, where employees can check the vehicle title for liens and confirm the vehicle identification number.

ADOT’s Office of the Inspector General investigates fraud involving driver license and identification card applications; vehicle sales by licensed and unlicensed dealers; and vehicle titles and registration. It also assists state, local and federal law enforcement agencies with investigations.

For more information, please visit azdot.gov.

ADOT advises public to stay vigilant when purchasing used vehicles

ADOT advises public to stay vigilant when purchasing used vehicles

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT advises public to stay vigilant when purchasing used vehicles

ADOT advises public to stay vigilant when purchasing used vehicles

July 20, 2016

PHOENIX – Because a title establishes who owns and has liens on a vehicle, altering titles is a common way that criminals defraud those purchasing used vehicles in private sales.

That’s why it’s worth noting that in late May, when a robbery occurred at an Authorized Third Party motor vehicle services business in Phoenix, the suspect made off not with cash but with 1,300 blank vehicle titles. That case remains under investigation.

While the Arizona Department of Transportation has checks in place to protect consumers against stolen titles, investigators with the agency’s Office of Inspector General note that blank titles provide many opportunities for criminals to commit fraud.

First, they can be used to retitle stolen vehicles, salvaged vehicles and vehicles deemed totaled by crashes. They can also be used to skip vehicle inspections when one is required.

“Title fraud is a common way to cheat buyers out of their hard-earned money,” said Michael Lockhart, chief of ADOT’s Office of Inspector General. “However, detectives in our Office of Inspector General have highly trained skills in investigating this type of vehicle fraud.”

The Office of Inspector General maintains a list of serial numbers of stolen titles that is regularly shared with law enforcement agencies, MVD offices, Authorized Third Party businesses and other entities.

Meanwhile, here are some things you can do to avoid falling victim to criminals when buying a used vehicle in a private sale:

Conduct the transaction at an MVD office or Authorized Third Party business. Employees at MVD offices and Authorized Third Parties can run the vehicle identification number (VIN) and check the record for liens and other notations that may not be on the title. Don’t hand over that check until you’ve verified you can take complete ownership of the vehicle.

Use good judgment and ask lots of questions. There are no stupid questions when it comes to protecting yourself in a big purchase. Do this:

  • Ask for identification to make sure the seller is the owner listed on the title.
  • Ask to see vehicle maintenance records.
  • Check the VIN on the inside of the driver’s door frame and on the top of the dashboard to make sure they match.
  • Check for VIN tampering such as the door frame sticker peeled off and replaced, and altered rivets on the dashboard plaque.

It’s most important to take time and not rush the process. If the seller is acting suspicious, unwilling to show ID or records or trying to rush the process, walk away. Take the time to find the right purchase.

Use an online service to check the VIN. There are several online services that can perform a vehicle record check to look for salvage notices and other notations. These services can cost money, but it is well worth it when the alternative is potentially paying for a vehicle that can’t be registered, driven or sold.

Seek help if you’ve been scammed. ADOT is here to help victims of fraud involving vehicle titles, registrations and driver licenses. Call our 24-hour fraud hotline at 877.712.2370 or email [email protected].

ADOT participates in joint-agency inspection of fuel distribution locations and gas stations

ADOT participates in joint-agency inspection of fuel distribution locations and gas stations

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ADOT participates in joint-agency inspection of fuel distribution locations and gas stations

ADOT participates in joint-agency inspection of fuel distribution locations and gas stations

August 29, 2013

ADOT participated in a multiagency enforcement detail last month that focused on retail gas stations.

Ever hear of something called meter creep?

Meter creep occurs when a gas pump meter charges for fuel when no fuel is actually coming out of the pump. Meter jump occurs after the pump nozzle turns off and the meter shows gas is still flowing. The cause of the meter creep and jump is generally related to a maintenance or calibration error with the pump. Both equipment errors may result in consumers paying for gas they do not receive.

Interesting bit trivia, right? Wonder why we’re blogging about it?

Well, under a federal grant awarded by the Federal Highway Administration, a multiagency enforcement detail was conducted on the Navajo Nation in both Arizona and New Mexico on July 9-11, 2013. The enforcement detail focused on determining if retail gas stations are adhering to the federal, state and Navajo Nation rules, laws and regulations governing taxation and quality of fuel sold for use in motor vehicles (see photos above).

ADOT participated in the detail along with the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, Office of the Navajo Tax Commission, Navajo Nation Business Regulatory Department, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department and the Internal Revenue Service.

Personnel from the Office of the Navajo Tax Commission headed the five teams that conducted the inspections in several areas of the Navajo Nation reservation.

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Enforcement details further enhance enforcement of Arizona and federal rules and regulations.

The purpose of the detail was to present a visual enforcement personnel presence to ensure motor fuels are being delivered to retail outlets with proper shipping documents, motor fuel tax revenues are collected and properly reported, the fuel is at the stated octane level, required licenses are in place and properly displayed, the dispensing or fuel metering is exact and the correct labels are affixed to the pumps.

A sixth team was designated specifically to visually inspect all diesel-powered vehicles (both private and commercial) for approved highway usage of “Red Dye” diesel, a fuel primarily for off-highway use in agricultural machinery.

Conducting the required inspection and testing of retail fuel pumps helps to protect consumers from meter creep or jump.

More about fuel taxes

Arizona Revised Statutes Titles 28 and 41, and Section 900 of the Navajo Fuel Excise Tax Statutes provide the statutory authority, regulations, rules and laws governing motor vehicle fuel taxes and inspection of retail stations. Since 1999, the state of Arizona and the Office of the Navajo Tax Commission have partnered together through an intergovernmental tax agreement relating to the enforcement of the fuel excise tax.

ADOT’s participation in the on-site inspections and audits of the retail stations, carriers, distributors, and refiners strengthens the Navajo Nation’s ability to ensure regulatory and tax compliance. The details further enhance enforcement of Arizona and federal rules and regulations.

Fuel taxes, mandated by law, are the primary funding source for maintaining Arizona’s highway system. Ensuring tax collection compliance is essential but equally important is ensuring that the laws are applied equitably and accurately.