By Stephen Markley on March 2, 2010
After a 17-year wait, the Justice Department has finally launched its comprehensive national car database on vehiclehistory.gov. The website includes the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System and will be used to prevent car theft and fraud.
Rather than having 50 separate state databases, the national database will help track stolen vehicles as they move across state lines and uncover “cloned” titles — vehicles illegally retitled in a different state. This will make it harder for damaged or defective vehicles to be sold to unsuspecting customers.
The Justice Department expects the database to eliminate $4 billion to $11 billion in fraud each year.
The website is meant to be used by both law enforcement and consumers. If you want a vehicle history report, the site will guide you to approved providers. You can buy a report that will include brand history (such as if a car has been labeled “junk,” “salvage,” or “flood”), an odometer report and other reports if a vehicle has been transferred or sold to an auto recycler or salvage yard.