Automakers will need to provide a searchable database on their websites within the next 12 months to allow consumers to see if a recall affects their particular vehicle, a U.S. regulatory body said Wednesday.
The rule, issued by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, said vehicle makers must provide online access for drivers to search recalls by vehicle identification number, or VIN.
Auto companies that produce more than 25,000 light vehicles annually will be required to participate. Motorcycle manufacturers that make 5,000 or more bikes per year will also be required to list the VINs online.
Several automakers, including Ford Motor Co, Toyota and Honda, already have this feature on their websites, but all must have the search function by Aug. 14, 2014, NHTSA said.
The administration said the move will allow drivers to better determine if their vehicle is being recalled.
NHTSA's website allows users to search by model year, make and model.
"Safety is our highest priority, and an informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in that effort," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
NHTSA initially proposed creating a database on NHTSA's own site in September 2012 that would require automakers to submit VINs to the administration daily. Automakers objected to the proposal, claiming it was "costly, burdensome, subject to data integrity issues and service outages, and unnecessarily duplicative of the services many manufacturers already provide," NHTSA said in the final rule.
NHTSA also will require automakers to include a standardized label on all letters mailed to vehicle owners notifying them of recalls.