NHTSA Releases New “Early Warning Reporting” Web site

Previously unreleased raw data on accidents, injuries and vehicle or property damage will now be made available online to the general public on a Web site set up by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Collecting this raw information was mandated by Congress after the Firestone tire tread-separation debacle of 2003. NHTSA notes that this previously confidential information, which it calls Early Warning Reporting or EWR, is made up of "requests or demands for relief related to a crash, the failure of a component or system, or a fire originating in or from a vehicle" and that they are "unverified allegations…in and of themselves the claims are not evidence of a defect."

Basically, this states that these are just complaints logged in by people and they are not investigated. Still, one can get an idea of a certain type of car’s problems if many people claim the same defect in their vehicles. The new search engine is accessible now through NHTSA’s Web site. It lets consumers search for reports by manufacturer, vehicle category and reporting period and gives results down to the state, number of injuries and factors involved such as "speed control", "rollover" or "seats".

The selected results can be downloaded and saved. NHTSA says it has used this data in 84 investigations, 25 of which were launched "because of EWR data alone." The database will be updated quarterly. I’ve provided a link below to the site. You owe it to yourself to a least check it out. When information like this becomes available, it means more power to the people!