Can Anyone Access the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Accident Reports?

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Oklahoma Highway Patrol accident reports are available to anyone. To receive a report as of 2014, a request form must be filled out and submitted with a fee to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

Accident reports are among public records that typically are not considered confidential. In the United States, accessibility of public records is governed by the Freedom of Information Act. Federal agencies can refuse to provide information requested under the act if it is protected by certain exemptions. States also have freedom of information laws governing open records and open public meetings. States can determine how easily accessible records are to the public and whether fees are charged to review records. Public records laws are intended to make governments accountable for their actions and enable citizens to be aware of the workings of government.

The Internet has significantly increased access to public records as of 2014, and many private companies sell access to records databases. Some companies use publicly available records to construct profiles of individuals that can be purchased. Public records data also is used in collecting child support, in conducting background checks on prospective employees and in paying retirement benefits. Most transactions conducted between individuals and government become part of the public record.