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Thursday, 29th January 2009

Auto Safety Database to Go Online After 16-Year Delay

From the Report:

A federal database that will allow car buyers to learn whether a vehicle has been stolen or rebuilt after a wreck will be launched on Friday – more than 16 years after Congress passed a law requiring its creation, and a year after three safety groups sued the federal government to force it to act.

“This information will be vital in helping consumers determine whether the used vehicle they are considering buying has been salvaged or rebuilt,” said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. “When buyers are kept in the dark, they can unwittingly buy cars and trucks that have serious safety hazards or have been completely rebuilt and often are not worth the price charged.”

Last year, Public Citizen, joined by Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) and Consumer Action, sued the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in federal court in San Francisco, asking the court to order the government to implement the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. In September, the court told the DOJ it had until Jan. 30 to make the information available on the Internet and to issue a rule requiring states, insurance companies and junk yards to report safety information.

The information to be made available Friday is still incomplete and covers less than two-thirds of U.S. vehicles. That is because insurers and junk yards have until March 31 to begin reporting data. Currently, 10 states are not reporting vehicle data at all, while two states that are – New York and California – are attempting to prevent public access to that data. The data will be available through third-party Web sites, which will charge a nominal fee per record search.

Source: Public Citizen

See Also: National Auto Fraud and Theft Prevention System Goes Live (via FBI)


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