Determine vehicle owner: when is this permissible?

The holder data stored in the extensive registers fall under data protection, as they are the personal data’s property. It is therefore fundamentally not possible to always and in any case finding the holder using the license plate number. Information is therefore only possible if there are good reasons to do so.

The statements in Section 39, Paragraph 1 of the Road Traffic Act (StVG) must be observed. According to this, owner data is only transmitted by the registration authority or the Federal Motor Transport Authority if

“If the recipient, stating the relevant license plate or vehicle identification number, states that he is using the data to assert, secure or enforce or to satisfy or defend against legal claims in connection with participation in road traffic or to file a private lawsuit for road traffic Violations required (simple register information). ” (§ 39 paragraph 1 StVG)

This applies, for example, to the cases described above :

  1. Investigation of a tank fraud
  2. Cost setting for towing/moving
  3. Parking of private parking lot, driveway or a parked vehicle
  4. The assertion of damage claims after an accident or damage/soiling caused by a vehicle

On the other hand, information based on purely civil law claims is not possible. Therefore, you can determine the vehicle owner z. B. not only because of the following reasons:

  • a vehicle sale or purchase should be initiated,
  • You want to contact the vehicle owner for personal reasons,
  • GEZ debtors should be determined
  • Enforcement of assets against a debtor should be carried out
  • and much more

When submitting an application, the applicant must always state the relevant reason. The registration authority and the Federal Motor Transport Authority note the reasoning.

If it turns out afterwards that there was actually no valid reason and therefore no authorization for the information, the recipient of the information can be prosecuted. The licensing authority can then file criminal charges against the recipient of the information for improperly querying holder data. It is also a data protection violation.

Exception: When is the holder determination differently also permitted in civil law matters?

In § 39 paragraph 3 StVG an exception was named to the rule actually corresponding information may be granted after only when the legal claims in any relationship are to tasks on the road. According to this, restricted information can be provided if the maintenance advances fund has claims against the person concerned, for example.

The same applies in connection with other maintenance claims for minors or privileged children and under 25-year-olds who are dependent on benefits under the Second Social Code (SGB II) due to a lack of maintenance payments.

It is also permissible to determine the vehicle owner in the event of claims from the social security funds. However, the backlog of claims must always be at least 500 dollars.

In the corresponding information, however, there is no information on motor vehicle liability insurance or the registration number of the person concerned, since these are irrelevant for purely civil law claims without connection to road traffic.

Who can identify vehicle owners – with or without a license plate?

Who can identify vehicle owners - with or without a license plate
In principle, § 39 StVG also allows private individuals to determine the vehicle owner if this is necessary for the enforcement of claims arising from events in road traffic.

However, there must be valid reasons for the request in any case. In order to avoid an improper request, you should always be informed after a damage event whether it is actually necessary to determine the holder using an existing car number.

As a rule, private individuals or lawyers only need this information if the debtor or accused is not known. If you receive the accident report sheet from the police after a traffic accident or if you deal with the insurance company of the opponent of the accident, the owner’s details are usually already known in addition to the license plate. A renewed query is therefore not necessary.

Authorized to determine the vehicle owner in accordance with § 39 StVG are, for example, B .:

  • Damaged/injured
  • Driver/car owner
  • hired lawyer
  • Driver’s employer
  • Liability insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Comprehensive insurance
  • Transport insurance
  • Car park operator
  • Airport administrations
  • Property managers
  • Green card office
  • Central call of car insurers
  • Traffic victim assistance
  • and much more
In addition, of course, the police and fines have a right to determine the vehicle owner, whether by license plate lookup, vehicle identification number (VIN) or other characteristics.
However, these are given more powers than private individuals or lawyers and other third parties. This is guaranteed by Sections 36 to 37 StVG .
This essentially determines that the query is fundamentally permissible if it serves to clarify contraventions or to check whether the admission regulations have been complied with.
Due to the urgency, the information is often given much faster and without prior application. The query is usually only possible internally by calling up the data in the register.

Identify car owners thanks to LicensePlateLookup: What information do you get?

In the event of a permissible keeper query, those affected will receive the information in writing from the registration authority or the Federal Motor Transport Authority. The information usually contains the following information (cf. § 39 paragraph 1 number 1 to 11 Road Traffic Act):

  • First name and surname of the owner
  • if necessary order and artist name
  • Address of the keeper
  • Information on vehicle type, type and manufacturer
  • Name and address of the liability insurer
  • Insurance certificate number (or confirmation number)
  • if applicable, information at the time of the end of the insurance
  • possibly exemption from compulsory insurance
  • Date of allocation of the license plate
  • Mark
However, the information on the respective insurance can only be transmitted to the requester by the vehicle registration authority. This data is not stored in the central vehicle register of the Federal Motor Transport Authority.