Driver Privacy Act - Issue Summary

Should you be able to access motor vehicle records of a public employee driving a public vehicle?

Driver Privacy ActBy: LFDA Editor

SB 402 was signed into law on July 1, 2010. It makes motor vehicle records of accidents or collisions involving state-owned or state-leased vehicles governmental records subject to the right-to-know law.


Chapter 260, which covers the administration of motor vehicle laws in New Hampshire, had been shielding the records of every driver in the state.

That includes the records of public employees driving public cars during public time.

It was the all-inclusive nature of the act that had two newspapers -- the Manchester Union Leader and Portsmouth Herald -- making challenges to the rule under a Right to Know request.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Mark Hodgdon argued against the Portsmouth Herald’s request.  Hodgdon told the court that New Hampshire’s Privacy Act was “intended to protect all of us from unwanted intrusion in our life.”

House Speaker Terie Norelli told the Portsmouth Herald that the legislation was approved because "we all agreed that it should be public information."

It was part of a bill pertaining to state motor vehicle fleets.

Norelli told the Herald said there was debate about including town, city and county-owned vehicles in the amendment to make information about those vehicles public, as well. But because, "frankly, it was late in the session," the amendment pertains only to state vehicles.

In the future she said, "Maybe someone will file legislation for municipal vehicles."

Is it a good idea to expand the law to municipally-owned or leased vehicles as well?

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If you are interested in the Driver Privacy Act and want to take action here are some choices:

  • If you are new to contacting your government, please visit our page on How to Take Action.

  • Contact one of the organizations listed in Learn More. These groups represent the pro or con positions of issues.

  • Contact a government official as follows:

1. Contact members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives or the New Hampshire Senate

2. Give your opinion to Governor Maggie Hassan.

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What do you think about the Driver Privacy Act?  Whatever your thoughts are, we urge you to make your voice heard. See the "Learn More/Take Action" section on this page for more information.

Issue Status

Gov. John Lynch signed SB 402 into law on July 1, 2010. No subsequent changes to the act are apparent.

News

There are no 2014 articles on this topic. 
June 30, 2010
Seacoastonline: Lynch backs release of info on state-owned car accidents