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Feds: soon to be easier to check on vehicle recalls, fixes

It has always been problematic for vehicle owners or would-be buyers in Ohio and nationally to know with absolute certainty whether a car or truck has ever been recalled for a dangerous condition.

And just as importantly, consumers even having knowledge of a recall sometimes lack assurance that a vehicle has undergone the requisite fix to remedy a safety defect and ensure that a stated car accident risk has been attended to and eliminated.

Those types of concerns were the catalysts that resulted in language being tacked on to the massive national transportation bill enacted into law last year by President Obama. Pursuant to that law, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was tasked to create a database through which consumers across the country could quickly check recall-related information. The agency states that the database is now nearly finished and will soon be available for public use.

Although that certainly comes as good news to millions of consumers, fanfare is not universal. One outspoken critic of the new online tool is the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, with its discontent being largely aimed at a government demand for its members -- large-volume vehicle manufacturers -- to submit VIN numbers on all recalled vehicles.

That requirement is flatly burdensome, the alliance states, adding further that that there is already a system intact that allows consumers to submit VIN numbers to the NHTSA and hear back on recall information.

That is not good enough, counters the NHTSA. The new system will be faster, more comprehensive and more user-friendly.

Although a completion date for the new website has not yet been stated, it is anticipated that American consumers will be able to log in to the NHTSA database in the very near future.

Source: Pulse 2.0, "The NHTSA is close to completing Safercar.gov database," Dan Anderson, July 8, 2013

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