On December 4, 2015, the President signed the Driver Privacy Act of 2015 (HR-22 §§ 24301 & 24302) into law, which previously passed both houses of Congress. This Act is part of the larger FAST Act, Fixing America’s Surface transportation Act.
The Driver Privacy Act provides that electronically recorded data on motor vehicles is the property of the owner or lessee and, for our purposes, such information cannot be accessed by third-parties without the consent of the owner/lessee or a court order. The owner consent must in written, electronic, or recorded audio form. The full text is below.
This law does not affect data retrieval in many states, which already had similar state laws on the books. But, the new act changes the way we can do business in Wyoming when investigating motor vehicle accidents. Note that the act also specifies that permission of “an owner” is required, not necessarily “the owner” at the time of the accident.
SEC. 24301. SHORT TITLE.
This part may be cited as the “Driver Privacy Act of 2015”.
SEC. 24302. LIMITATIONS ON DATA RETRIEVAL FROM VEHICLE EVENT DATA RECORDERS.
(a) Ownership of data.—Any data retained by an event data recorder (as defined in section 563.5 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations), regardless of when the motor vehicle in which it is installed was manufactured, is the property of the owner, or, in the case of a leased vehicle, the lessee of the motor vehicle in which the event data recorder is installed.
(b) Privacy.—Data recorded or transmitted by an event data recorder described in subsection (a) may not be accessed by a person other than an owner or a lessee of the motor vehicle in which the event data recorder is installed unless—
(1) a court or other judicial or administrative authority having jurisdiction—
(A) authorizes the retrieval of the data; and
(B) to the extent that there is retrieved data, the data is subject to the standards for admission into evidence required by that court or other administrative authority;
(2) an owner or a lessee of the motor vehicle provides written, electronic, or recorded audio consent to the retrieval of the data for any purpose, including the purpose of diagnosing, servicing, or repairing the motor vehicle, or by agreeing to a subscription that describes how data will be retrieved and used;
(3) the data is retrieved pursuant to an investigation or inspection authorized under section 1131(a) or 30166 of title 49, United States Code, and the personally identifiable information of an owner or a lessee of the vehicle and the vehicle identification number is not disclosed in connection with the retrieved data, except that the vehicle identification number may be disclosed to the certifying manufacturer;
(4) the data is retrieved for the purpose of determining the need for, or facilitating, emergency medical response in response to a motor vehicle crash; or
(5) the data is retrieved for traffic safety research, and the personally identifiable information of an owner or a lessee of the vehicle and the vehicle identification number is not disclosed in connection with the retrieved data.