C.S.H.B. 399
By: Goodman
Committee Report (Substituted)


Under current statute, a motor vehicle accident report filed after January
1, 1970, by a peace officer is a public record open for inspection. As a
result of this provision, private entities such as automotive body shops
and chiropractors began to use the information contained in accident
reports to solicit persons involved in accidents who may have suffered
injuries and/or vehicle damages. In some cases the solicitors refer
accident victims to specific attorneys. 

Legislative attempts to restrict access to personal information contained
in accident reports for purposes of solicitation began in 1991, by
amending Section 35.54 of the Business and Commerce Code. The amendment
provided that a person possessing information originating from law
enforcement agencies could not use, or sell, the information to
solicitors. The Attorney General (AG) found the amendment's broad language
to be a restriction of commercial free speech. In 1995, as a result of
this AG opinion, legislation was passed to narrow the restrictions to
information available on accident reports.  As a result, information
contained in accident reports may be released to persons providing the
relevant agency with two or more pieces of information relating to the
accident limited to: 

1) the date of the accident
2) the name of a person involved in the accident
3) the specific location of the accident.

The above formation is readily available on daily police dispatch logs,
which are not addressed by current statute, thus allowing businesses to
continue to request accident reports for solicitation of accident victims. 


This bill will limit access to information regarding motor vehicle
accidents to prevent business from soliciting business from persons
involved in an accident. 


It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any
additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency or


SECTION 1 Amends Subchapter D, Chapter 550, Transportation Code, by adding

  (a)  This section applies to information reported under Section 601.004,
Transportation Code, or Chapter 772, Health and Safety Code.  This
information   relating to a motor vehicle accident, held by the Department
of Public Safety or   another governmental entity, includes information
contained in 9-1-1 record, a   dispatch log, or towing record.  Any of the
record that includes the accident date,   the name of anyone involved, and
the specific location. 
  (b)  Unless specified in subsection (c), this information will be
limited to the   department or a government agency using it for the
purpose of accident     prevention. 

  (c)  Upon payment of a fee and written request, the department or
government   entity may release accident information to the following: 
   (1) entities addressed under subsection (b);
   (2) the law enforcement agency of the officer who investigated the
accident and submitted the accident report; 
   (3) upon subpoena, by the court hearing a case involving the accident;
   (4) anyone providing the name of anyone involved in the accident and
one    or both of the following subsections: 
    (A) accident date;
    (B) specific address, highway, or street where the accident
  (d)  The department of government entity will adopt a form to be used to
determine if the person or entity requesting accident information is
entitled to the   information under subsection (c). 

  (e)  Anyone entitled to the information under subsection (c), can
receive the   information according to Subchapter F, Chapter 552,
Government Code.  The   information requested must be in the form of: 
   (1) an opportunity to view the original;
   (2) an electronic medium or computer format;
   (3) a paper copy .

SECTION 2 Emergency Clause


SECTION 1 Section 550.0651(a)  Adds to the list of information sources
which are included in   this section.  

  (1)  Chapter 772, Health and Safety Code is added.

  (2)  Dispatch logs, towing records and 9-1-1 Service providers are added.

  (3)  Originally the second half of subsection (a).

  (c)(4)  The name of a person involved in the accident becomes a
requirement.   Information in subsections (A) and (B) are optional, at
least one must be provided. 

  (B)  Formerly subsection (C), but makes the criteria regarding the
accident site   location more specific.  The original subsection (B) is
moved into (c).