DMV issues same license plate to two vehicles

August 5, 2011 10:26:59 AM PDT
One classic car owner is frustrated that his one of a kind ride doesn't have a one of a kind license plate to match. Tommy Scott's 1929 license plate apparently has a twin that's been racking up toll charges in another city.

For the better part of two years, Scott's been trying to prove that he's not the one racking up unpaid tolls, but he started getting answers only after we started asking questions.

Scott loves to show off his 1929 Model-A Ford, but he insists he's never driven it to the Austin area, not when its top speed is just 45 to 50 miles an hour.

"Sure enough, wouldn't get in it and drive it over there," he said. "That'd be an all day drive!"

But over the last two years Scott has received repeated notices insisting he owes tolls for driving on 183A, a toll road near Austin.

"At first it was funny, but it's not funny anymore," Scott said.

Scott points out a picture even on some of the notices that shows a large Chevy SUV driving that road, apparently with the very same license plate as Scott's Model-A.

That other vehicle is an SUV owned by the Perrin-Whitt Consolidated ISD in North Texas, near Witchita Falls. It's sometimes driven to Austin for business. The superintendent says they would never knowingly have had a bill for their tolls sent to someone else.

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles admits it has issued some plates twice with the very same numbers.

"We do recognize that it's a problem and we're working to resolve that problem as we speak," said Randy Ellingston with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

The DMV says the problem occurs when owners of vintage vehicles re-register antique plates. Until now there has been no system to check to see if that number is already in use. They are working now to change that.

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says it will eliminate Scott's bill, send it to the district and stop sending him new ones.

Scott says all this could be prevented by someone simply looking at the bills before sending, noting that what is pictured is clearly not his Model-A Ford.

"Goes back to the old story -- right hand don't know what the left hand is doing," Scott said.

Like the old vehicle that needs the human touch to keep the engine running, Scott says doing things properly sometimes requires you don't depend on computers.

Having someone review each toll road bill that is sent out is just not a realist option, the toll road authority in Austin said. The DMV hasn't been able to tell us just how many duplicate plates may be out there.

For its part, the school district says it plans on paying the money it owes in full and changing that license plate number.

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