New rules to protect motorists' privacyMeasures should tackle rogue wheel clampers

25 July 2006

 

Cars in a traffic jam

New measures have been announced to stop motorists' personal details being passed to ‘parking enforcement cheats' such as rogue wheel clampers.

The new regulations are designed to stamp out such practices as clampers getting car owner information from the (DVLA).

Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman said: ‘Protecting the privacy and confidentiality of individuals is critical, and that is why we are introducing this raft of measures to address the concerns raised regarding the kinds of organisations that receive information. The new measures will reassure people that their personal information will be protected from misuse, while still allowing its release to those with a legitimate reason to receive it.’

At present the DVLA can give out car-owner details to inquirers who claim ‘reasonable cause’. But critics said such vague rules left criminals with easy access to details. Following a number of complaints, the government announced the crackdown.

Misuse of information

The new measures are designed to protect people from misuse of information while allowing those who do have reasonable cause to get the data they need.

A major change is that organisations which want to get a driver's details emailed to them will need to belong to an accredited trade association. Any organisation outside an accredited association will have to make detailed requests case by case.

If an organisation uses information improperly, further requests may be refused. Officials will make regular checks and target companies that prompt complaints. There will be complaints procedures for people who believe their data has been misused.

Threats to drivers

But the AA Motoring Trust said it was disappointed that the DVLA won't have to tell vehicle owners when a request for their personal data has been made by a parking enforcement company.

But AA Head of Road and Transport Policy Paul Watters added: ‘The way some companies threaten drivers frightens many into not complaining. The new measures, hopefully, will open the way for people to root out the parking enforcement cheats and put them out of business.’