Is It Possible to Find Someone by His or Her License Plate Number?

The Department of Motor Vehicles is not allowed to give out the private information of motorists, including their address, to a private party. The Drivers Privacy Protection Act was enacted in 1994, in part because of the murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989 by a deranged fan who obtained her address through her license plate number.

Prior to the passage of the DPPA, an individual could go to the local DMV with a license plate number and pay a fee to obtain the personal information of the car's owner. Because of the misuse of this information, the DPPA was implemented by the federal government.

If an individual has an issue with another driver and obtains the license plate number, a report can be made in person or online with the local police department. The police can investigate the incident but cannot provide the other driver's name or personal information.