The Hoosier State Press Association Foundation is asking permission to file an amicus brief in a case that could impact public access to accident reports in Indiana. The case filed in the federal Northern District of Indiana alleges that Appriss, the company that contracts with the Indiana State Police to collect accident reports from all law enforcement agencies and create the database to allow analysis of those report, is violating the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. In Whitaker v. Appriss, the plaintiffs say Appriss’ sharing of the data violates the DPPA because the identifying information on the accidents was collected by police officers from driver’s licenses.
In addition to the database’s use for highway safety planning, Appriss is allowed to sell the data to third parties. That can include law firms who use the accident reports to contact potential clients.
HSPA executive director Steve Key said, “the Foundation decided to get involved because a similar case in Wisconsin resulted in police departments redacting identifying information from accident reports until the lawsuit was resolved.”
The Indiana Broadcasters Association has joined the request for amicus status with the HSPA Foundation.