Depending upon the identity and purpose of the requester, a driver's license number may be used to find a person's address. Federal and state law generally prohibit agencies' disclosure of personal driver or vehicle information, but there are many exceptions.
A driver's personal information, like her address, is protected and private under the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) a federal law with state counterparts. No one may simply request a particular driver's address and be given it by an agency without the agency facing civil and criminal penalties. A driver's record of crashes, driving violations and the status of the driver's license are not protected under the DPPA.
A person or entity may get a driver's address using her driver's license number under the exemptions and exceptions in the DPPA. For example, the police or other security agencies and private investigators may find someone's address this way if they have reasonable cause for needing the address. Similarly, attorneys may obtain a driver's address even if litigation or legal proceedings are only anticipated. Courts may order a driver's address be disclosed, as may a car's manufacturer. Employers routinely use driver's license numbers to obtain information about employees, as do insurance agencies. Even the Clean Air Act allows for obtaining a driver's address from his license number. Other than the exceptions in the DPPA, the requester has to produce proof of the driver's consent to obtain her address. A driver may always request his own records.
Although the DPPA seeks to protect drivers' personal information, it allows parties who have obtained the information under an exception to sell it. If a person or entity obtains the driver's personal information under an exception to the law, he may resell it if the purpose of the sale is the same as his purpose in obtaining it. But if a person or entity obtains the information based upon the driver's consent, she may resell it freely, as long as she keeps a record of the sales for five years. Under this rule, a person who signed a consent to disclose personal driver's license number information under a contract to buy or try a product may not realize that his consent means the information may be sold to other product sellers.
Stephanie Haun is a psychotherapist, musician and lawyer in Miami, Fla., who began writing in 1972. She covers a variety of topics including mental health, social issues, animals and music and has been published in numerous publications. Haun earned a Juris Doctor, a Doctor of Musical Arts in music and a Master of Science in Education in educational and psychological studies.