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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2006
Contact: Doug Dunbar
207-626-8404

Suspended Driver Website Proving Successful in
Helping Law Enforcement Officials to Identify
Repeat Violators and to Get Them Off Maine Road

AUGUSTA , MAINE – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced on Wednesday that the new Online Suspended Driver Service launched by his Department in February has already proven to be a useful tool for law enforcement agencies.  Feedback from police departments across the state indicates that officials have used the website to identify problem drivers and take them off the road.

Officials in Fairfield, for example, have reported using the list to arrest an individual who was not only operating after suspension, but also operating under the influence of alcohol and violating various bail conditions.  In Presque Isle, six people were caught operating after suspension during February and early March as a result of this new service.  Police officers in Farmington, Madawaska, Brownville and other communities also report making traffic stops and taking action as a result of information provided by the suspended driver list.

As part an ongoing effort to deal with drivers who operate after suspension and perpetually violate motor vehicle laws, the Department of the Secretary of State and the Department of Public Safety created this online service earlier this year.  It enables law enforcement personnel to more quickly and easily obtain lists of suspended drivers in Maine.  Although driving records have always been available to law enforcement agencies, this new web-based service provides enhanced capabilities, utility, speed and convenience.

“Since the service was launched nearly three months ago, approximately 400 public safety officials have used it to generate nearly 3,500 reports of suspended drivers in various geographic areas.  Drivers should be aware, if they weren’t already, that Maine takes operating after suspension very seriously,” Secretary of State Dunlap commented.

This service was created in cooperation with InforME (www.maine.gov/informe/) and is the result of input from local, county and state law enforcement officials.  The electronic lists of suspended drivers are based on Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) data and are updated every two weeks.  Lists are tailored to geographic needs, so an officer can generate a report for a specific community or communities.  Individual users can edit their own search criteria.

“Although Maine compares favorably with other states in terms of the number of suspended or unlicensed drivers involved in the most serious of accidents, more can be done to discourage people from operating after suspension.  This new service is giving law enforcement officers another valuable tool to enhance their efforts,” Secretary Dunlap added.

The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) prohibits public access to personal data on driving records, including names and addresses, without proper identifying information.  Because of this and additional state laws, the new online service is not available to the public.  More information about DPPA, which was enacted following violent crimes in other states in which the victim’s address was obtained using motor vehicle records, is available at www.maine.gov/informe/subscriber/dppa.htm.