Court rules for disclosure of Wisconsin accident reports

A federal law protecting driver's license data does not allow Wisconsin police departments to withhold driver information from accident reports, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

But whether that law might require such redaction in other kinds of reports would depend on what function police are serving by releasing the records, and whether the information was obtained directly from department of motor vehicle records, or merely verified with that information.

The 30-page ruling will likely trigger continued litigation and confusion over access to routine public records that Wisconsin authorities began to restrict in light of a failed class action 2010 lawsuit in Illinois filed under the federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act, or DPPA. Continue…