Florida Record

Friday, February 21, 2020

Florida agency clarifies law making driver's license information public

By Marie Villa | Nov 24, 2016

General court 09

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Driver's license information is public record in the state of Florida, and the state agency in charge of licenses is clarifying what that means.

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said in a written statement, “The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles does not sell driver or motor vehicle information. Driver or motor vehicle information is produced as required by the Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) and Florida’s public records laws.”

Companies that fit the exemption law can request personal information excluding photos, Social Security numbers and medical or disability information. But each company that receives the information must abide by the Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act.

But it clearly states on the DHSMV website that Florida DHSMV does not solicit companies for this information.

Florida charges a fee to produce the public record and there is process for who these records are released to.

DHSMV Communications Director Beth Frady told the Florida Record, “There’s an assumption that there’s no vetting right now and there is indeed vetting.”

Brandon Robinson, elder consumer protection fellow at Stetson University college of law, bought a new car in July and before he received his registration in the mail, he started to receive warranty expiration notices for his car. Robinson told the Florida Record, “I started getting bombarded with mail telling me that my warranty was expiring on my vehicle.”

When he received the first notice, he pulled out his paperwork and called his extended warranty company to make sure he had signed the right papers.

Then it got worse for him when he bought a car for his wife the following month. “At one point between the two us we had six or seven of these things coming in a day,” says Robinson. He added that they have received as much as a 100 pieces of mail within two months after buying their cars.

Frady said they have not received many complaints and in order for the department to help consumers, people need to report this. “Since July we’ve only received two or three emails,” says Frady.

She added, “If there are individuals that are concerned, I would encourage them to go that website so we can research it for them.”

According to the DHSMV website, it states, “Customers with concerns regarding the dissemination of their information in accordance with state and federal law who would like the department to research those concerns may send their information to HSMV-Records@flhsmv.gov.”

One of the items that is being address since this story broke is how the department is handling the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the companies that have agreements with the state.

“Here’s what we’re doing to enhance the measures: The department is currently working on updating the MOU that we have, with each requesting party. And that would include some of the additional checks. I’m hoping to have that in the next few weeks,” said Frady.

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Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles