By Sgt. Venable Leon and USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
There is a lengthy process that occurs when a vehicle has been identified as abandoned.
Sgt. Dennis Brown is a Traffic Accident Investigator. His responsibilities include advising the garrison commander on roadway safety, enforcing traffic laws, and processing abandoned vehicles and accident collisions. He also works with Stuttgart’s Army Substance Abuse Program to help educate the public on roadway safety, and how to prevent DWIs.
Brown explained that once a vehicle has been abandoned on one of the installations in the Stuttgart area, the MP will tag the vehicle. Once tagged, the vehicle is eventually sent to the Stuttgart Army Airfield Impound Lot, but not without consequence for the original owner.
Once a service member chooses to abandon their vehicle, the process involves the time and coordination of multiple personnel.
A notice of abandoned vehicle form DD 2504, is put into the vehicle with the Directorate of Emergency Services contact information. Once the vehicle is tagged for tow, the traffic section conducts a search of the U.S. Army Europe Motor Vehicle Registration, and also use Installation Access Control System to determine if the vehicle was in fact abandoned, or simply illegal parked. Once this process is completed, the traffic section will attempt to make contact with the owner within 72 hours either by phone or email.
At the 45 day mark, the vehicle paperwork then moves through the customs process. A board review occurs to ensure that the Traffic Accident Investigator has meet all the legal requirements to process the abandoned vehicle. Once the vehicle has met the legal requirements, it goes to U.S. Customs and German Customs offices, to be declared officially abandoned. If the vehicle is found to have an existing lien, the MPs have to obtain a lien release form to release the vehicle to Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation in order to be disposed of.
Consequences of vehicle abandonment
The owner of the vehicle is sent a legal notice requiring them to reimburse the U.S. Government for the towing fees.
Service members are titled with Abandoned Vehicle under Article 134 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, and the command can potentially take non-judicial actions against the service member.
Civilians will be titled with Abandoned Vehicle under Army Europe Regulation 190-1 and local commands can take disciplinary actions toward the civilian.
In addition to the personal expense to reimburse the U.S. Government, this cost is also passed on at the unit level to repay the garrison to recoup the towing expenses the service member caused the garrison to incur.
Vehicle sale and disposal options
Leave your vehicle in the lemon lot located on Panzer Kaserne by the main Exchange, use local free classified ads such as the Stuttgart Citizen news offering for car parts, functioning cars and resale items. There are other online classified sites (in English) and resale Facebook pages and groups that are easy to find with a quick internet search.
Giving Power of Attorney to friend, unit leader or co-worker is another option if your car has not sold before departing Stuttgart.
Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation accept vehicles in any condition for a fair fee.
Sell a vehicle to a Department of Defense ID card holder
- If seller has a joint-owner on the vehicle, both parties must be present.
- If vehicle has a lien on it, a lien release letter is required.
- Buyer must have insurance for the vehicle.
- If the registration is current and the vehicle is 9 years old or newer, the buyer can accept the current expiration date on the registration without having an inspection. For the buyer to have a 2 year registration on vehicles 9 years old or newer an inspection within 30 days of the transfer date is required.
- Vehicles 10 years or older require an inspection within 30 days of the transfer.
- Transfer cost is $30.
Sell a vehicle to a Local National or someone who does not have Individual Logistical Support
- Service member must visit the U.S. Customs office in Building 2913, Room 303 on Panzer Kaserne and obtain the Army Europe Form 550-175B, “Permit to Transfer.”
- Seller must go with the Local National or non-ILS buyer to the local German customs office so the Local National can pay the taxes on the vehicle.
- The AE Form 550-175B must have the blue stamp from German customs.
- The service member must return the U.S. Army Europe license plates to vehicle registration, bill of sale, and AE Form 550-175B to clear the vehicle out of the USAREUR system.
- If the vehicle has a lien, a lien release letter is required to complete the transaction.
Dispose of the vehicle to Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation
- The vehicle must have current non-operational registration or permanent registration.
- Service member must go to the Auto Skills center on Panzer Kaserne.
- Once donated, MWR will give the service member a receipt and paperwork showing that the vehicle was turned over to MWR.
- Bring the receipt, paperwork from MWR and license plates, if applicable, to vehicle registration to clear the vehicle from the U.S. Army Europe system.
- If the vehicle has a lien, a lien release letter is required.
There is a vehicle disposal fee of $75.00, simply bring the car to the Auto Skills Center on Panzer Kaserne.
To have your vehicle collected, towing charges apply based on the pick-up location (ranging from about $50-90), $50.00 for hook up/load + $1.00 per kilometer from Panzer Kaserne, to where the vehicle is located, and back to Panzer Kaserne.
Flat rates for the Stuttgart Community towing services:
Patch Bks. $60.00
Kelly Bks. $80.00
Air field $85.00
Download the form for disposal/donation. Customers may also use this form to deduct the value of their vehicle on their taxes.
Editor’s Note: Updated with towing information and donation/disposal form June 28, 2016.