Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

State Records Committee Appeal 00-04

BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH

ROBOT AIDED MANUFACTURING CENTER, INC. dba EXPLORE INFORMATION SERVICES, Appellant, vs.
UTAH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, DRIVER'S LICENSE DIVISION, Appellee.

DECISION AND ORDER
(Amended 14 November 2000)
Case No. 00-04

By this appeal, Robot Aided Manufacturing Center, Inc. dba Explore Information Services (hereinafter, "Explore") seeks an order compelling the Utah Department of Public Safety, Driver's License Division (hereinafter, the "Division") to allow it continued access to certain motor vehicle record information.

The State Records Committee, having reviewed the materials submitted by the parties, and having heard the oral argument and testimony of the parties on August 9, 2000, now issues the following Decision and Order.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Explore is a Minnesota corporation registered to do business in the state of Utah. As part of its business, Explore obtains certain driving record information contained within the "motor vehicle records" maintained by the various drivers license divisions (or the equivalent agency) across the country and provides this data to various property and casualty insurance companies for underwriting and rate making purposes. Explore provides this service in over twenty states.

2. Explore provides this service pursuant to the Driver Personal Protection Act (hereinafter, the "DPPA"), 18 U.S.C. 2721, et seq. which states in 2721(b)(6) that personal information concerning a driver may be disclosed by a state "for use by any insurer or insurance support organization, or by a self-insured entity, or its agents, employees, contractors, in connection with claims investigation activities . . . rating or underwriting."

3. Explore qualifies as an "agent" or "contractor" of an "insurer" or "self-insured entity" under DPPA, and Explore continues to receive driving record data in the other states.

4. Explore has obtained certain driving record data, on a monthly basis, for approximately the past three and one-half years - since December 31, 1996.

5. The driving record data received by Explore comprises only a portion of the total information contained in the "motor vehicle records" the Division is required to maintain pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 53-3-104.

6. The driving record data contains the names of Utah drivers who have been entered into the database within the prior 30-day period as having motor vehicle citations. Included is that person's name, driver's license number, date of birth, type of violation and the date when the violation was recorded in the Division's database.

7. The Division has previously charged Explore a fixed monthly fee for the driving record data to reimburse the Division for its costs in providing the data.

8. Although the Division asserts it has classified the driving record data as "private," it acknowledges that driving record data might be "released by the Division in connection with a different request or provision." The Division will continue to provide the entire "motor vehicle record" to authorized persons requesting the information "over-the-counter," by mail or "on-line" pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 53-3-109(1)(b) and 18 U.S.C. Chapter 123.

STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION

1. The Government Records Access and Management Act ("GRAMA") specifies that "all records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(2) (2000). Records considered "private" under GRAMA include "records containing data on individuals the disclosure of which constitutes a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-302(2)(d) (2000). GRAMA further provides that "[t]he disclosure of records to which access is governed or limited pursuant to . . . another state statute, federal statute . . . is governed by the specific provisions of that statute . . . ." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(6) (2000).

2. On July 21, 2000, the Department of Public Safety (hereinafter, the "Department") denied Explore's appeal of the decision to deny continued access to this information. The Department denied the appeal stating that the "information requested by your client, particularly in the manner sought by your client, constitutes 'records containing data on individuals the disclosure of which constitutes a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.'" Therefore, the Department concluded the information sought was properly classified as "private" in accordance with Utah Code Ann. 63-2-302(2)(d). Records that are "private" are not public. Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(3) (2000).

3. The Committee finds the Department's decision was in error. Under the specific circumstances before us, release of the driving record data in the manner requested would not result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Considering the four factors in determining whether an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy exists - the plaintiff's interest in the disclosure, the public interests, the degree of invasion and the availability of alternative means of obtaining the requested information - we find no invasion. Since the disclosure of this information is unquestionably "personal identifying information," the Division may only disclose it: (i) when the division determines it is in the interest of the public safety to disclose the information; and (ii) in accordance with the federal Drivers' Privacy Protection Act of 1994, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 123 ("DPPA"). Utah Code Ann. 53-3-109(1)(b).

4. The Division has previously determined it will continue to disclose the entire "motor vehicle record," including the information contained in the driving record data, in compliance with DPPA and with 53-3-104(9). Given that the Division intends to disclose this information to parties authorized under DPPA, the Committee finds that the Division has determined that disclosure is in the interest in the public safety. Furthermore, Explore, as an "agent" or "contractor" of an "insurer" or "self-insured entity" under DPPA, is one of the entities to which personal identifying information may be disclosed under DPPA. Explore is therefore qualified and authorized to receive driving record data pursuant to GRAMA and 53-3-109(1)(b).

5. This decision is limited to the specific facts of this case, in which the request is related to the purpose for which the data was collected. It does not speak to other requests, the purpose of which could be a "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" and therefore appropriate to classify as private.

ORDER

THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED THAT, under the current statutory scheme, the Division must allow Explore continued access to the motor vehicle record information it has received for the past three and one-half years. The Division is entitled to charge a reasonable fee for the motor vehicle citation information, as authorized by GRAMA. The decision to prevent Explore's further access to the motor vehicle record data, in the manner Explore has requested it, is reversed.

RIGHT TO APPEAL

Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to the District Court. The petition for review must be filed no later than thirty (30) days after the date of this order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals process are governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and by Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404 and 63-2-502(7) (2000). The court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.

Entered this 14th day of August, 2000.

BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE

Betsy L. Ross, Chairperson
State Records Committee