Determining if the vehicle you're about to purchase has been in an accident or flood isn't easy. There is no consistent nationwide reporting system, which has led to numerous cases of fraud.According to the LA Times, the implementation of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System will require state motor vehicle administrators, insurers and junkyards to report title information to a central database.
Sixteen years ago, Congress passed a law requiring the creation of a national database of vehicle title information that would allow consumers to determine whether a vehicle had been in a serious accident. It seemed like a great idea, but it was never implemented.
Thanks to a federal court ruling today, however, that should soon be changing.
A U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of California handed down a decision that requires the federal government to create a database of stolen cars and state, insurance and junkyard title information. Government-supplied data are to be made public by the end of January, with private industry data coming out by the end of March.
The ruling comes after years of pressure from consumer groups, which pointed out that without access to such information, motorists cannot really know whether a vehicle has been severely damaged or "totaled." That's a serious safety risk, because badly wrecked cars can be unsafe to drive even if they're repaired.