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Early Warning Reporting, Foreign Defect Reporting, and Motor Vehicle and Equipment Recall Regulations

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Early Warning Reporting, Foreign Defect Reporting, and Motor Vehicle and Equipment Recall Regulations

Frank Borris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
March 10, 2014

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 46 (Monday, March 10, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 13258-13259]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05126]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 573, 577, and 579

[Docket No. NHTSA--2012-0068; Notice 4]
RIN 2127-AK72

Early Warning Reporting, Foreign Defect Reporting, and Motor 
Vehicle and Equipment Recall Regulations

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of Availability of Technical Specifications for Vehicle 
Identification Number (VIN) Look-up Interface.


SUMMARY: On January 22, 2014, NHTSA held a public meeting to review and 
discuss the technical specifications that vehicle manufacturers will 
need in order to support the VIN-based safety recalls look-up tool that 
will be housed on the NHTSA Web site www.safercar.gov. Numerous members 
of the auto industry, as well as consumer advocacy groups, vehicle 
history service providers, and others attended. This notice announces 
the availability of the final technical specification for the VIN 

DATES: March 10, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Previously submitted comments and petitions for 
reconsideration can be found in the docket.
    For access to the docket to read background documents or comments 
received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online 
instructions for accessing the docket. You may also visit DOT's Docket 
Management Facility, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground 
Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001 for on-line access to 
the docket.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Timian, Chief, Recall 
Management Division, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 
telephone 202-366-0209, email jennifer.timian@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On August 20, 2013, NHTSA published a final 
rule requiring certain vehicle manufacturers to allow the secure 
electronic transfer of manufacturer recall data to NHTSA when a 
consumer submits VIN information to the agency's Web site for purposes 
of learning vehicle recall information. See 78 FR 51382, 51401. This 
requirement applies to manufacturers who manufacture 25,000 light 
vehicles annually or 5,000 motorcycles annually. Further information 
about the requirement to transfer recall data to NHTSA based upon a 
consumer's VIN may be found in the August 20, 2013 final rule.
    In the final rule, NHTSA committed to hosting a public meeting to 
discuss the technical specification that would facilitate the secure 
transfer of recall information. That public meeting was held on January 
22, 2014, and was attended by vehicle manufacturers, equipment 
manufacturers, industry trade groups, safety advocates, vehicle history 
report providers, and members of the public. NHTSA reviewed a VIN look-
up tool technical specification document it previously made available 
to the public for discussion at the meeting, and attendees offered 
their commentary and suggestions, asked questions, and sought 
clarification on various points.
    Based on the information we received from the public meeting, as 
well as our review of the specifications, we have adjusted the 
technical specifications and are making available the final technical 
specifications. We note that these technical specifications may change 
to address problems, issues or difficulties that arise from time-to-
time during the operation of the VIN-look-up tool. In those situations, 
the agency will provide notice of its remedies to covered manufacturers 
through EWR and place the technical specifications on the agency's Web 
site, www.safercar.gov.
    The following summarizes the public meeting:
    1. Several manufacturers voiced concern regarding server 
maintenance scheduling and the technical specifications' instruction 
for manufacturers to provide information about scheduled server 
maintenance times to NHTSA. Manufacturers were concerned these set 
times would not offer enough flexibility to properly maintain their 
servers. Also, some manufacturers questioned how often their systems 
were allowed to be off-line for maintenance. The original technical 
specifications document did not specify how often a manufacturer's 
servers must be available for VIN look-up searches.
    With the revised technical specifications we are announcing today, 
we are discarding defined maintenance windows in favor of a 
performance-based requirement. This new requirement is intended to 
ensure manufacturers' servers are available to report recall results 
with regularity and during time frames when U.S. users can be expected 
to send inquiries through our Web site. We have devised a specific 
error code to be used if and when a manufacturer's servers are unable 
to accept a request so that we can monitor and track performance, and 
that will also report out a message to the user that the search cannot 
be completed at that time, and to try again at another time.
    2. Some manufacturers suggested that the technical specifications 
contain optional fields to include their manufacturer-assigned recall 
numbers and their contact information (such as toll-free numbers and 
Web site information) for display on any recall results shown on 
NHTSA's VIN look-up tool. NHTSA has amended its technical 
specifications document to add optional data fields to support the 
transfer of this information.
    3. Some manufacturers noted inconsistencies between the information 
required to be provided on the manufacturer's Web site (or that of a 
third party to whom consumers are redirected), See 49 CFR 573.15, and 
NHTSA's VIN look-up tool. We have updated the technical specifications 
to ensure consistency between the two notification systems.
    4. Also discussed were the measures for ensuring the secure 
transfer of information between a manufacturer and the agency. 
Consistent with the final rule, the technical specifications required 
use of SSL and unique API keys to ensure VIN requests and responses are 
encrypted adequately. Use of SSL and unique API keys is consistent with 
standard security practices. As noted in the earlier technical 
specifications, NHTSA will also validate VIN requests by requiring a 
CAPTCHA, or similar user validation, before contacting manufacturer 
servers for VIN results.
    Manufacturers with early warning reporting (EWR) accounts may 
obtain a copy of the VIN look-up interface technical specifications 
through the agency's Web site. To obtain the technical specifications, 
these manufacturers can use their EWR

[[Page 13259]]

account credentials to access the secure Web page at http://www.odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ewr/login.cfm. After logging in to the EWR 
system, the document labeled ``NEW--Technical Specifications for VIN 
Lookup Interface'' can be found on the next page. For any manufacturer, 
company, or group that does not have an EWR account, please contact 
Alex Ansley at alexander.ansley@dot.gov to receive a copy of the 
technical specifications.

 Frank Borris,
Director, Office of Defects Investigation NHTSA.
[FR Doc. 2014-05126 Filed 3-7-14; 8:45 am]

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