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Legal Requirements

In the United States, access to vehicle records is governed by the Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act(DPPA), which is a United States federal statute that controls the privacy and disclosure of public records gathered by state Departments of Motor Vehicles. The law was passed in 1994. It is the combination of the DPPA, and the laws of a particular state which will determine who qualifies for “permissible use” of these records.

Generally, permissible use is granted for:

1. Government agencies carrying out their functions.
2. Matters of motor vehicle or driver safety and theft
2. The removal of non-owner records from the original owner records of motor vehicle manufacturers.
4. For use in the normal course of business by a legitimate business or its agents, employees, or contractors, but only to:
-verify the accuracy of personal information
-correct information
-any matter before a court
-unpublished statistical reports/research
-insurance companies.
-providing notice to owners of towed vehicles.
-licensed private investigation agencies, and for permitted DPPA use
-employers.
-toll transportation facilities.
-requests from motor vehicle departments.
-when included with written consent of the individual is provided.
other uses specifically authorized by state laws.

It illegal to obtain drivers’ information for unlawful reasons or to make false representations in the process of obtaining such information. The DPPA establishes it as a criminal act to unlawfully obtain these types of records.

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