The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act Keeps Your Private Information Safe

A magnifying glass hovering over the word Privacy and other related terms such as secrety, protection, security and identity

Did you ever wonder what protections exist for all the private information you are required to provide to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles? Federal and state laws work together to help protect your confidential information.

In 1994, Congress passed a law called the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), which was originally designed to guard against crime. Congressional members were concerned with the illegal use of personally identifiable information for purposes such as fraud and identity theft. Yet another driving force behind this federal law was that private information had been used — although rarely — by stalkers to locate their victims.

As you might expect, there are several exceptions to the general prohibition on non-use under this federal law. For example, your personal information may be obtained by law enforcement to use in crime investigations. Here are some other examples:

  • government recalls and emissions issues;
  • insurance company accident investigations; and
  • lawyer investigations in personal injury lawsuits.

What is protected by the DPPA? Your name, street address, driver’s license number, Social Security number, telephone number, photograph, and medical or disability information. Information about your traffic violations, accident history, and license status are not protected under this law.

However, Virginia law provides even more protection for your private information than the federal DPPA. Your driver records are privileged under a Virginia law passed by the General Assembly in 1994. Although there are exceptions, many of them either require you to have applied for a certain type of job or position or for you to have given consent for the release of your information. For example, if you apply to work for a volunteer fire company or to volunteer for the American Red Cross as a vehicle operator, a shortened version of your information can legally be provided. You can review all of those exceptions here.

Under Virginia law, your information cannot be released to companies who want to use it to market products or services to you.

If you’re in an accident due to the negligence of another driver, call Sandler Law Group. You can also ASK ABOUT IT! Call toll free 800-9-THE-LAW or (757) 627-8900 to schedule an initial consultation. You may also contact us online at www.sandlerlaw.net or by email at GSandler@Sandlerlaw.net.

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