As a direct result of the widespread distribution of counterfeit paper license plates across Texas, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has just selected a new director to head the agency.

During a meeting on Wednesday, the Board of Directors of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) appointed Daniel Avitia to the position of executive director of the agency.

Avitia functioned as the agency’s acting executive director for much of 2022.

“I think you have done an incredible job stepping into a very, very tumultuous time,” said TxDMV Board Member Manny Ramirez to Avitia during the meeting.

“It is an honor to be selected and trusted for this position,” said Avitia in a statement. “I am humbled to continue the leadership and development of this amazing agency. With the help of dedicated staff, leadership of the board, and widespread support from our stakeholders and constituents, I am excited to accept this position with deep humility and great eagerness to keep the department moving forward in the right direction.”

According to Avitia, the agency has made “significant progress” in combating paper tag fraud. To date, the TxDMV has denied 50 car dealers suspected of fraud access to its system.

Avitia also stated that limiting the number of tags that can be distributed is “working smoothly.”

The TxDMV is currently establishing a “centralized law enforcement contact center” that will be staffed by analysts serving as a point of contact for police. According to Avitia, law enforcement will access a secure portal for real-time motor vehicle datasets.

In addition to system security enhancements and talks of “redesigning” paper tags, Avitia said the board’s next priority is to approve legislation requiring all vehicle dealership owners to be fingerprinted.

Law enforcement and board members expect the new addition to reduce fraud dramatically. It could be finished by the summer, according to Avitia.

Whitney Brewster, the agency’s former executive director, resigned earlier this year as the board demanded more drastic measures to address the persistent paper tag issue.