New Vehicle Database Lets Consumers, Law Enforcement Combat Auto Fraud
A new online vehicle database unveiled by the federal government gives used car buyers unprecedented access to critical vehicle history, and will allow law enforcement agencies to better monitor and prevent the selling of dangerous and stolen vehicles and other types of auto fraud.
Launched Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice, the new National Motor Vehicle Title Information System allows potential car buyers to get real-time access to a used vehicle's records -- including odometer data, title history, salvage and "total loss" designations, and theft reports. The New York Times "Wheels" Blog reports that data on about 73 percent of vehicles registered nationwide is now available on NMVTIS, with all states required to participate by around this time next year, but "the biggest improvement is that for the first time salvage yards, junkyards and insurance companies will be required to report on vehicles that had been totaled," beginning March 30, 2009.
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, an online system of the U.S. Department of Justice, was established under federal law in 1992 and is operated by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. According to an FBI Press Release, users of the NMVTIS will include state titling agencies, law enforcement officials, consumers, auto recyclers, salvage and junk yards, and insurance carriers. The system will allow consumers and law enforcement to easily identify vehicles that have incurred sufficient damage and been classified as "junk" or "salvage"; view updated odometer readings; and verify information on a vehicle's ownership documentation.
- The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System
- FBI Press Release: National Auto Fraud and Theft Prevention System Goes Live (FBI.gov)
- FBI Fact Sheet: National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (FBI.gov)
- N.Y. Times Blogs: A Used-Car Promise Finally Delivered
- CBS News: System Targeting Auto Fraud To Go Live
- Chicago Tribune: Justice Department Program Makes It Easier To Track Cars' Title History
- Consumer Guide to Buying a Used or New Car (FindLaw)
- Lemon Laws and Car Buyer Protections (FindLaw)
- Car Buying Tools and Resources (FindLaw)