Drivers Privacy Protection Act of 1994 Information
The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 is a United States federal statute and was formulated to protect the information disclosed to the department of motor vehicles of each state. The law came into existence in the year 1994 after the actress Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered in California. The law is currently enacted as Chapter 123 of Title 18 of the US Code.
Introduction of the bill occurred simultaneously in both the house of representatives as well as the senate in September 1993 and was enacted as a public law after President Bill Clinton signed it. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld this law in face of the tenth amendment challenge.
The statute categorically prohibits the disclosure of personal information without the consent of the person concerned. There are, however, certain exceptions made for the federal as well as the law enforcement agencies in accordance with the 18 U.S.C. § 2721. The personnel of the department of motor vehicles as well as the other authorized individuals or entities are required to keep the records confidential.
Conditions for Exemptions
The details of driving records may be divulged in the following circumstances.
• Carrying out federal or state government functions
• Motor vehicle safety
• To prevent motor vehicle theft
• To conduct a background check. Access to the driver’s record is only permitted to legitimate business owners or their agents, prospective employers and contractors.
• For purposes of rectifying the information contained in the record.
• For court cases
• For research and other statistical studies. The statute, however, prohibits publication of personal information.
• For motor insurance companies
• For investigation purposes
• For transportation
• On request from various motor vehicle divisions
• In accordance with specific state laws
• On providing a written consent by the concerned individual.
The law also states that it is illegal to obtain information about a driving record under false pretensions. Such individuals are held liable for criminal offenses with a monetary fine being imposed on the violator. A civil action can also be initiated against the offenders charged with violation of the Drivers Privacy Protection Act of 1994.
Effect on Disclosure of Records
The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 strictly prohibits the disclosure of private information. The act does not permit the officials of the motor vehicle departments to divulge any kind of personal information especially name, address and social security number to be made public. The five digit zip code number which normally follows the address is not considered to be a part of the classified information. The personal information may also include the photograph of the driver, driver identification number as well as the telephone number. Medical records of disability or other ailment history is also considered to be private.
The instances of accidents, traffic law violations and severe offenses like DUI/DWI along with the driver status are not considered to be a part of the personal information.
There are certain instances where the act allows disclosure of some of the information available from the driving records of an individual.