When a police officer runs a driver's license number a wide range of information is collected from various databases and provided for the officer.
According to the Tennessee Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security, officers are able to see a driver's:
Name and address
Driver license number
License class and driving history
Driver license photo
Eye and hair colors
Sex and race
Height and weight
Organ donor status and gun permit status
DL issue date
Non-CDL status, non-CDL eligibility date, CDL status, CDL eligibility date
Social security number
It is a lot of information, but more is available using other databases available to officers.
Drivers told News 2 they were surprised at how much of their information can be accessed by running a field check.
"I think it is available to anyone who wants it," Maureen Kubicek said. "I don't think there are many secrets in government"
Others said having that much information accessible is good for safety of the officers and for the public.
"There are a lot of cases where real criminals who have done things a lot worse have been stopped for a traffic violation," Dinah Neeley said. "Police were able to catch them with that."
According to the DPS, there are state and federal laws that govern how and when the public's personal information is accessed.
"It's against the law to query driver license records without a legitimate law enforcement purpose," DPS Spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said in an email to News 2. "Furthermore, the federal driver privacy protection act (DPPA) and state law (TCA 55-25-104) prohibits the disclosure of personal information obtained by the department in connection with a motor vehicle record."
She continued, "All new employees have to sign a user agreement for acceptable use of network, including any databases maintained by the department. "
In 2008, THP Lieutenant Ronnie Shirley was terminated after an investigation revealed he ran background checks on more than 180 people.
Among the people impacted was former News 2 anchor Victoria Hansen.
Lt. Shirley did not access the driver's license database.
He used the Integrated Criminal Justice Web Portal (ICJWP), according to Qualls.
The ICJWP includes information from the driver's license database, but is separate from the driver license database.
According to the latest numbers available via the DPS Web site there were more than 4.5 million licensed drivers in Tennessee in 2012.
Thursday, August 28 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-28 19:28:07 GMT
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