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DHSMV does protect Floridians’ personal information

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I would like to respond to media reports that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is selling your personal information.

I want to be perfectly clear… the Department does not sell or actively seek entities to purchase motorist records.  The Department responds to lawfully submitted public records requests and assesses a fee for the records, which places the burden of cost on record requestors rather than Florida taxpayers.  Entities that receive the information from motorist records are specifically not permitted to use the information for marketing purposes. 

Under state law, motor vehicle, driver license, and vehicular crash records are subject to public disclosure. The Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act keeps your personal information private by limiting who has access to the information. 

The Department does not share your Social Security number.  The Department automatically blocks personal information on your motor vehicle and driver license records and then only releases the information subject to specific exceptions.  There are federal and state laws that require the Department to provide information from motor vehicle and driver license records to entities that meet the exceptions.

Here are some examples why companies are entitled to the information:

• Insurance companies request driver transcripts on their customers for underwriting purposes. Since insurers base rates on risk and information in a driver’s history can help determine a driver’s risk, this helps insurance companies keep rates lower for motorists who demonstrate safe driving behaviors and assess higher rates for drivers whose records indicate poor driving behaviors.

• School boards request driver transcripts on potential or current employees to verify driving history so that they can make sure bus drivers who they hire to drive students to and from school are safe drivers. County, city and state governments request driver transcripts on their employees who operate city or state vehicles.

• Automobile manufacturers who need to recall vehicle request information so they can notify impacted owners.

Businesses, such as bus lines and trucking companies, need driving histories on their commercial drivers to ensure those hauling large sometimes hazardous loads are safe drivers.

Since the state driver license or ID card is the primary identification credential for Americans and the Department confirms your identify through the issuance process, many companies that purchase the information use your information for identification verification purposes. 

So while some members of the public believe that sharing the information makes them more vulnerable to ID theft, those companies that have been vetted are actually using the information to make sure that you are who you say you are, i.e. identity protection.

This is not a new practice, as the Department has been providing motorist information per public records laws for decades. 

I encourage all residents of the Sunshine State to educate themselves about public record laws on the state and local level.  Various municipalities have laws, rules and regulations that require them to make the information they collect available to the public. 

According to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Florida and every other state in the country provides driver and motor vehicle records within the guidelines of the Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act.     

The Department is dedicated to protecting our residents and to working toward our vision of A Safer Florida.  For information on the Driver Privacy Protection Act, visit the DHSMV website at www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/DPPAInfo.html. 

 

Julie L. Jones

Executive Director

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles