State drops phone numbers from accident reports

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas law enforcement and transportation agencies have agreed to drop telephone numbers from traffic crash reports.
The Texas Transportation Commission is scheduled to consider the new reporting form at a Thursday meeting in Fort Worth.
The move would be a blow to businesses that contact drivers after car wrecks. However, the inclusion of phone numbers on the reports has prompted several transportation commissioners to express concerns about privacy.
If adopted by the commission, the new form would be used starting Jan. 1.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, which also has a say on the forms, in 2008 agreed to drop the numbers after concerns were raised about insurance fraud.
The numbers were reinstated, however, after a lawsuit by a chiropractor and a business that gathers crash-report information for clients. They successfully argued the state had to follow a formal rule-making process to make the change.
This year, DPS officials changed course and said they wanted to keep the numbers on the forms for law enforcement purposes, but transportation commissioners balked.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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