The importance of scraping your car legally

Following a recent article on Wicklownews “Scraping a car legally is prime motivator for more than half of motorists”.

Wicklownews reader Joe McCarthy who resides in Pennsylvania, USA got in touch to tell us how important it is to scrap your car legally and escape the problems he had, when he thought he was doing the right thing.

Joe tells us his story

“Back in 1987, I bought a new red Toyota pickup truck with a camper cap (Pictured above).

In its day, it was something else. But time and wear took all that away. In 2002, I decided to scrap the truck and buy something new. I researched the law and followed the procedure outlined by my state (Pennsylvania) authorities. All I had to do was notify them of the truck’s designation date to be scrapped and the license plate number attached. They would record the information and cancel the tag authority. Hence, the license plate and truck were no longer legal on the roads.

I had contacted a scrap yard company to arrange to pick up the truck. Of course, there was a minor remuneration for me in the process. The tow truck arrived at my home and took the truck supposedly to be scrapped.

A year and some days later, a knock came to my front door. A policeman was there to ask me a few questions. He wanted to know if I had reported my truck stolen. I was confused and told him I had scrapped it better than year before. He then handed me the long ago expired license plate from the truck and related a story. He said that police had stopped the truck on a highway and discovered the expired plates. The driver could not explain his having possession of the vehicle or provide proper documentation of ownership and was arrested pending an investigation into possible auto theft.

My explaining my actions regarding the truck gave the officer all that he needed. He said that it was now obvious that the scrap yard had sold the truck to the individual involved and that neither the scrap yard or the individual had removed the expired license plate. He said I should have at the time the truck was declared scrap. I said there was no indication of my having to do that what I made contact with state authorities. He understood.

About a month later, I received a telephone call reportedly from the District Attorney’s office asking me if I would be wiling to testify if necessary. I said yes. It wasn’t necessary.

The driver plead to buying the truck from the scrap yard and driving it illegally for that year on my canceled license plate. He received a heavy fine and was released. I was told that there was an investigation into the actions of the scrap yard in that it might not have been the only vehicle sold in this illegal manner. I never heard anything else afterward. As far as I was concerned, the issue was dead.

When I read your article in the Wicklow News about scrapping an automobile I thought I might toss my two cents into the issue for you to consider. I must assume that Ireland and Pennsylvania do not have the same laws governing scrapping an auto, but there is always that individual(s) who seek to circumvent the law. Perhaps my story will alert a few folks and spare them the possibility of a similar experience.”

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