DMV Proposes Regulatory and
Administrative Initiatives to Tighten
Access to Driver Record Information
The Division of Motor Vehicles is proposing regulatory and administrative changes that will provide significant protections to the release of driver records. The enhanced protections will also clarify that information from the DMV database cannot be provided for the purposes of commercial solicitation or political canvassing or campaigning. Additionally, the DMV is also working with the Legislature to ensure the swift passage of legislation that will implement the federal "Driver's Privacy Protection Act" in New Jersey.
"We've listened to the public's concerns and we're working to address them," said Transportation Commissioner Frank J. Wilson. "I want to assure the public that driver record information is disseminated only in strict accordance with the state's 'Right to Know' law and that information stored on the database has never been, nor will it ever be, made available to marketing firms or junk mail houses.
"Also, the DMV has a program in place that protects the identities and addresses of victims of domestic violence or violent crimes. Furthermore, when legislation is passed allowing implementation of the federal law, motorists will be able to choose whether they want the personal information contained in their DMV records held in confidence or made available if requested by an individual other than the actual motorist or a commercial solicitor," said DMV Director C. Richard Kamin.
Included in the enhanced protections are:
Attached to this release are two fact sheets; one outlining the requirements for citizens to obtain copies of driver and vehicle records, and one explaining the authorized uses of the DMV's database and how the new Limited On-Line Access program works.
- Codification that the DMV database is not a public record and information from it cannot be provided for the purposes of commercial solicitation or political canvassing or campaigning.
- The requirement that requestors of driver records other than their own must demonstrate a legitimate beneficial interest in the record.
- The requirement that the requestor complete a DMV form in which a reason for requesting the record must be clearly stated.
Under regulations to be proposed, citizens requesting copies of driver license, vehicle registration, title and driver abstract records--other than their own--must demonstrate that they have a legitimate beneficial interest in the information, which can include:
In addition, the DMV will require that any citizen requesting copies of driver records other their own must also provide in writing the name, address and birth date or the driver license number of the individual whose record they request. Currently, citizens requesting copies of driver records other than their own must provide either name and date of birth or driver license number of the individual.
- Finding out a motorist's insurance company if involved in an accident (found on a vehicle registration renewal application).
- An employer obtaining a copy of a job applicant's driver history if driving is integral to the job (found on a driver history abstract).
- Obtaining the history of vehicle ownership prior to purchasing a used car (found in vehicle title records).
The DMV also intends to enhance administrative procedures to make the record request process more efficient and uniform. These enhancements include:
The DMV will also propose a regulation that will formalize the definition of a "high volume user." To qualify as a high volume user, a business must have a "legitimate use" for the information.
- Designing a form for write-in and walk-in requests for driver record, vehicle registration, title and abstract records that includes stating a reason for the request.
"Under the regulations we will propose, political and commercial solicitation, as well as marketing, will not be considered legitimate uses of database information. These regulations will formally codify what the DMV already does in practice," said Director Kamin.
Finally, the DMV will seek the passage of A-2049/S-1302, sponsored by
Assemblyman Anthony Bucco and Senator William Haines. By September 1997, the DMV must have implemented provisions of the federal "Driver's Privacy Protection Act," which will restrict the release of a driver's personal information to strictly defined categories of people and businesses.