DMV State-by-State Guide to Records

Sometimes, what would seem like or seem like it ought to be a public record may not actually be so.  Driving records are one such instance of this.  The accessibility to these records varies wildly state-to-state, making it less of a dependable source record and more of an intriguing auxiliary item.  In this entry we go over what makes these records unique and where to look for them.  

Personal information which is integral to driving records is heavily protected by federal law and by states’ interpretation of that law.  The federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 codified protections against disclosing personal information associated with driver’s licenses unless express permission of the subject whose records are being accessed is obtained.  Additionally, this information is protected from release under definitions of acceptable use.  Acceptable uses as defined by the Act include use by a government agency, use in the normal course of business by a legitimate business or its agents for verification or correction purposes, and for use in connection with any matter before a court or arbitration proceeding.  Requirements of written consent or notarization further make the process of obtaining records cumbersome, if not impossible. 

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