In 1992, a law passed requiring each state's motor vehicle department to link into a federal database. After pleading from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), automakers and consumer advocates – plus one lawsuit – the U.S. Department of Justice will launch the system beginning tomorrow at 9 AM EST.

The database will attempt to reduce the amount of title-washing that plagues used car buyers when unsavory characters rebuild a totaled vehicle and sell it with a clean title, normally out of state. Currently, 27 states are participating and another ten should be on board shortly. All states are required to be in the system by Jan 1, 2010 and data will begin to be collected from insurance companies and salvage yards on March 31.

The DOJ claims that when the database launches tomorrow, approximately three-quarters of the nation's vehicle titles will be include, but unfortunately, the system won't be free. Online providers will act as the middlemen, but an announcement hasn't been made about which companies will handle the heavy lifting. While it's doubtful that firms like CarFax are going to dramatically affected by the move, we're hoping some competition among providers brings the cost down for consumers. To read all the details on the database, click here (PDF warning).

[Image: David Greedy/Getty]

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