The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working
on a new and improved online database for vehicle recalls. It is expected
to be up and running within one year.
The updated auto recall database is intended to increase the number of
defective vehicles that are repaired. In 2012 alone, over 16 million vehicles
were recalled. However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report
found that just 70 percent of recall repairs on cars and trucks are completed
within an 18-month time frame. Some of these vehicles are then resold
to unsuspecting owners.
The NHTSA’s current database provides recall information for motor
vehicles, motorcycles child safety seats, and tires. The campaigns include
motor vehicle products that experienced a safety-related defect or did
not comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards. However, consumers
are only able to search by make and model.
Under the NHTSA’s proposal, owners and prospective owners would be
able to use an online search tool at www.safercar.gov to search by the
vehicle identification number — or VIN — to find out if a
specific vehicle has been recalled. More importantly, the database will
also indicate if it’s been repaired.