Understanding the Law on Federal Driver Privacy Protection

car accidentNot very long ago, we had a customer call one of our offices who was recently in a car accident. Our customer was looking for the information on the other driver in the accident. You see, when the two individuals were in the accident they did not exchange insurance information with one another. Instead, they just told the police officer their information, which was filed into the police report. However, in the copy of the police report that our customer got all of the other driver’s information was blacked out.

After a 7th Federal Circuit Court of Appeal decision and a U.S. Supreme Court decision, many law enforcement agencies have had to change their procedures that pertain to the Wisconsin Public Records Law. Under the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act, the following data cannot be in public reports without that persons consent: names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, photographs, social security numbers, medical and disability information, and driver license information.

In order to receive a full copy of the police report your lawyer or insurance agent must obtain it. In our customer’s case, they were simply looking for the insurance information of the other driver. One of our agents was able to go to the police department and get the fully copy of the report.

What we can learn from all of this—if you are ever in an automobile accident, remember to exchange information with the other motorist. If you do not get their information, you must send your lawyer or insurance agent to the police department and pay for the fully copy of the report.

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