Help Me Hank! Wrong Guy
Help Me Hank: Help Me Hank! Wrong Guy
Scott Martin is a law-abiding driver. He goes the speed limit, he only turns the direction he's allowed to and he stops if the sign says stop.
"I havenít been ticketed or pulled over for anything legitimately in 20 years," Martin said.
But he got a letter from the Mass registry warning theyíre going to revoke his license.
Revoke his license?
"I canít work without my license," Martin said.
And then Scott read the reason:
"For outstanding charges that I had in Vermont," Martin said.
Vermont? Nothing against the Green Mountain State, Martin knows thereís world class skiing and golf and cheese, but he knows nothing about a bunch of tickets.
He called the registry to complain.
"And I said I hadnít been to Vermont in a long time," Martin said.
And long story short: they had the wrong Scott.
"I just learned its another Scott Martin from Vermont," Martin said.
The Mass Registry told him it was a Vermont mix-up. Vermont told him it was a Massachusetts mix-up.
"And it was rough, so thatís when I contacted you guys," Martin said.
Why was the registry going after the wrong guy? Turns out it wasnít really a Mass mistake and it wasnít really a Vermont mistake.
We found that Scottís name had popped up in a country wide database of problem drivers called the National Driver Register. Itís set up to prevent people with a revoked license in one state from getting a new one in another.
When there's a common name, like Scott Martin, experts admitted in our story last year: sometimes the computer nabs the wrong one.
As a result, the innocent get blamed for what the guilty do.
"Thatís right," Jay Maxwell, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators said.
And in Massachusetts Martinís case, the computer was even more confused.
He has the same birthday as the Vermont Scott Martin and right now name and birthday are all the computer checks.
"In a country with 50 states, and I donít know how many millions of people, itís bound to come up where you get confused with someone else," Martin said.
We faxed the Mass registry a letter from Vermont officials confirming our Scott was not the scofflaw and soon after he renewed his licenses no problem. But the NDR still contains duplicate names, which could mean double trouble for other drivers.
"Iím hoping this story will help other people. It will give them a push to straighten out the system," Martin said.
Officials know the system has its glitches, and to fix it they're working on a test project that will include driver's photographs.
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