From Jeff Rowsam – Denmark WI MV owner / collector / advocate
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Owning and Operating Former Military Vehicles in Wisconsin
Under the Proposed BILL LRB 3284/4
“Registration of Historic Military Vehicles”
This information is the result of meetings with state legislators, attorneys, WI DOT managers and Military Vehicle organizations.
1) Why is the State Of Wisconsin no longer registering former military vehicles?
a. There has been a huge increase in the volume of applications to register “non conforming” vehicles of many types. The safety capability of these vehicles is undocumented.
b. Included in that “non conforming” category are motorized scooters, pocket bikes, Gators & commercial Mules, lawn tractors, ‘medium-speed vehicles’, mini-bikes, Barbie cars, go-karts, golf carts, race cars, Japanese mini-trucks and military surplus vehicles.
c. Existing WI statute 341.10(6) states that WI shall not register any vehicle designed for off road use or that does not comply with Federal Regulations s114. (s114 is NHTSA) (read the full text)
d. With a newly networked and computerized data system, the state is now better equipped than in the past to review vehicle applications. The DOT has begun to enforce the existing law which was not done uniformly in the past.
2) My Military Vehicle seems pretty safe, what’s the big deal?
a. There is currently no known public data base to support the safety record of former military vehicles operated in WI. Law enforcement crash reports do not separate data other than by plate type.
b. The new HMV bill would put all the MV’s in a separate category and would build a data base that can be used in the future to support a lobby effort for expanded use of HMV’s.
3) If the Army can operate on public highways, why can’t we drive the same trucks?
a. The military operates under different federal rules. The HMV’s that we propose to operate are for the most part “tactical vehicles” designed to support a combat mission.
b. A simple WWII Jeep may seem no different than a civilian SUV but any new law must cover ALL ex-military vehicles, small and large, armored and thin skin types, vintage and modern.
c. Military tactical vehicles by there mission profile make safety compromises such as non standard bumper heights, impact hazards in the operators compartment and driver visibility.
4) How come we don’t sue the State of WI for unrestricted or at least collector use?
a. The state is enforcing an existing law.
b. Owners and collectors are currently not sufficiently organized or funded to mount a legal challenge to the “off road design” definition. It would require thousands of dollars in legal fees and collectors could still loose.
5) How come the MVPA doesn’t fight this at the federal level?
a. A challenge at the federal level was considered.
b. The cost of such a challenge is astronomical.
c. With a challenge about use, the Department of Defense could change policy and require complete demil mutilization of all future vehicle sales.
d. Title and registration is a state issue.
6) Why is the proposed bill so restrictive?
a. The state DOT will compromise a total ban on HMV’s only if the safety exposure to other motorists is reduced by limiting HMV use.
b. If the legislature would enact a new statute that would keep the HMV registrations “as is” under collector or regular plates, the DOT secretary will lobby the Governor to veto such a bill.
c. The bill we have crafted to allow owners to keep driving, LRB3284/4 “Registration of Historic Military Vehicles” is the result of input from vehicle clubs, owners, legislators and the DOT.
7) What’s the difference between getting a vehicle title and getting a vehicle registration?
a. Issue of a “Title” document conveys ownership. “Registration” allows operation on public highways.
b. The proposed bill LRB3284/4 addresses registration only.
c. Most applications received by the DMV request both documents in a single transaction. The DMV has been inconsistent in issuing these documents. The DOT agrees, that with the correct supporting documents, the state must legally issue title to demonstrate ownership.
d. We are addressing the registration issue with the legislature and will address the title issue with the DOT after the registration issue.
8) Why can’t we just keep our MV’s with the same collector plate we have now?
a. Vehicle use under the current collector plate law, allows any vehicle to be used as a daily driver (except in Jan and can’t haul more than 500 lbs). That includes HMV’s such as armored cars and oversize tactical trucks which are the safety concern of the state.
9) I thought that only vehicles made after 1968 were affected?
a. In 2009 the DOT proposed an administrative rule called “Trans 123” which was intended to address the issue of all “Non Conforming” vehicles thru the administrative process. That rule, as written by the DOT pointed to the federal safety requirements of National Highway Transportation Safety Act (NHTSA) of 1966 which took effect with 1968 model vehicles.
b. Trans 123 is on hold until the current HMV legislative proposal is addressed. The proposed bill would remove HMV’s from the Trans 123 rule proposal in the future.
c. The legislative bill we propose will create a new law that takes precedence over an administrative rule. However, to create a general law, it must cover all former military vehicles. Past, present and future without regard to individual vehicle years or models.
10) What is the difference between Imported and US military vehicles?
a. Imported vehicles must comply with the NHTSA until they are 25 years old. Foreign imports more than 25 years old are exempt from federal safety regulations.
b. The requirement in the proposed HMV bill to only allow imported HMV’s over 25 years old is to synchronize with federal import law. American built HMV’s that were used by foreign governments and returned to the US may be considered “Imported”.
c. The proposed bill LRB3284/4 allows any US produced military vehicle because the actual model year is often not available and current government sales sometimes lack model year or may list vehicles with rebuild dates and not model year.
d. The state registration forms will be simplified for US built HMV’s by dropping the requirement to establish a model year.
11) What if I don’t change my registration to the new Historic Military Vehicle license plate?
a. The DOT will not issue any warning notice to existing registrations.
b. HMV owners will be allowed a reasonable amount of time after the new HMV plates are available to apply and receive them. Probably 12 months.
c. After that it is a law enforcement issue. The fine for an unregistered vehicle is a $180 citation.
12) What happens to the “collector” plates I have now?
a. Collector plates are owned by the individual and will be retained by the owner.
b. They can be used on other qualified collector vehicles you may own now or in the future with a change in collector registration application.
13) If my MV is already registered and I apply for the new license, do I have to pay another fee?
a. No, the state can not charge twice for registration of the same vehicle. HMV owners with existing registrations will be required to apply for the new Historic Military Vehicle plate. The plate will be provided at no charge.
b. Refunds for previous registrations are not provided by the DMV.
14) I don’t understand the new fees for HMV registration?
a. Since the HMV proposal has restrictions for use, the fee for future registrations will be kept low at a one time fee of $5 per vehicle. The same as the current Wisconsin Antique plate
b. The cost of development for any new “special” plate that any group proposes to the state is $11,800. This is the cost of developing new application forms, computer language and programming and implementing the change.
c. Since the HMV owners did not ask for the new plate, the bill proposal LRB3284/4 was written to have the state fund the development cost and be repay by charging an additional $25 fee on any new HMV registrations until the $11,800. cost is retired.
d. A new registration will be $5 + $25 = $30 total. The fee returns to $5 per registration after the fund is repaid the $11,800.
The information in this document is accurate at the time it was produced. Since the legislation is pending and the final bill outcome may be revised, the information presented in the FAQ’s is subject to change without notice.