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Do you know anyone who loves their state government? Combine that with the general distrust of data accuracy, and you have an unholy marriage. In Indiana.

According to a USA Today article, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) sent out a notice for drivers to renew their drivers’ licenses. The notices were supposed to be a proactive measure, as the state is expecting a glut of renewals in 2012. Because 2.4 million people who will need to renew their license, the state spent $247,450 to mail postcards to about 700,000 people with birthdays from January through August. Of those 700,000 people, 58,600 got the wrong information. (That’s 8.3% for you math-y types.)

Oh, they were close.

  • Addresses where checked and corrected.
  • Last names were correct.
  • First names were not.

So Rod Humphrey got a notice for Brandon Humphrey. Rod just threw the renewal notice out, thereby completely subverting the proactive measure taken by the BMV. The consequences of this are two-fold:

  • The renewal notices are more likely to be ignored, and therefore the proactive renewal-avoidance process less effective.
  • The mailing cost of those postcards is wasted. At a cost of 35 cents per mail piece (700,000 / 247,450), we can put the postal cost of the error at $20,510 (.35 x 58600).

To put that in perspective, that’s about 18,645 school lunches.

I hope the state is practicing good VA Hospital Spurs Change Through Data Transparency (a core piece of information governance) before they mail the remaining 1.7 million postcards!

Are you practicing solid information governance methods?

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