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Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)

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What is the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act?

The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) is a federal law which limits the ability for state departments of motor vehicles and authorized recipients and how they may disclose to the public any personal information or data that is contained in a person’s motor vehicle record, which includes a motor vehicle owner’s permit, the motor vehicle title, the motor vehicle registration, or identification card that is issued by a department of motor vehicles. Numerous states have enacted similar legislation further regulating this data.

DPPA Facts & Information

  • The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act is also known as the DPPA.
  • The DPPA is a federal law that – it regulates and restricts who can gain access to the information in DMV records.
  • The law was triggered by the death of Rebecca Schaeffer, who was killed and located by her mad fan through her DMV records in 1989.
  • DPPA was introduced by Rep. Jim Moran in 1992.
  • The bill was introduced simultaneously during the 103rd United States Congress in the House of Representatives (as H.R. 3365) and the Senate (as S. 1589) on 26 October 1993.
  • DPPA was signed by President Bill Clinton as part of Public Law 103-322.
  • The law was signed and passed on September 13, 1994.
  • It is currently codified at Chapter 123 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

DPPA allows the following:

  • Any government agency which needs the record to perform their duty
  • Anything that needs the record for any motor vehicle related cases or driver safety and theft.
  • Any legitimate business, agents, contractors and employees that need the records in the normal course of the business to verify the personal information accuracy and to correct information.
  • Any connection with any matter before an arbitration or a court proceeding.
  • Any research or producing statistical reports, provided that personal records is not published.
  • For insurance company documentation.
  • For licensed private investigation agencies, for permitted DPPA use.
  • For use by employers.
  • For use by private toll transportation facilities.
  • For response to requests from motor vehicle departments.
  • For the bulk distribution and/or surveys, marketing materials, or solicitations.
  • When written consent of the individual is provided.
  • For other uses specifically authorized by state laws.

DPPA restricts the following:

  • Name
  • Address (but not the 5-digit ZIP code)
  • Telephone Number
  • Photographs
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Client Identification Number (CID)
  • Medical information
  • Disability information


Anyone who makes a false statement to obtain any personal information could have to pay a fine. Also, a lawsuit for “damages” (an amount of money to compensate someone for a particular loss) may be brought against someone who obtains, discloses or uses the information knowingly for a purpose that is not permitted under the DPPA.

How does the DPPA impact consumer mailing list data?

DPPA restricted commercial company to acquire personal information from the DMV records such as names and addresses for the sake of sending people advertisement.

DPPA on the other hand, allows an exemption provided that the commercial company secure a written permission from the person. In this case, the Department of Motor Vehicle can give the personal information of the person to the company.

A company may be allowed to attach an advertisement in combination with mailings done for official business of the department of motor vehicles, like a reminder about the renewal of registration of the motor vehicle.

An authorized recipient of DPPA personal information may resell it to any person who uses it for a permissible purpose under the DPPA.