A New Jersey statute requires that physicians treating patients for a variety of medical conditions report those conditions to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (“MVC”, formerly the Division of Motor Vehicles “DMV”). The statute in question is N.J.S. 39:3-10.4. It says:
Note especially that N.J.S. 39:3-10.4 includes in its wording, “...impairment or loss of motor coordination due to conditions such as, but not limited to...”. By its explicit terms, the statute encompasses epilepsy and epileptic-related conditions. But its “not limited to” language makes the statute broad enough to cover cardiovascular disorders, diabetic shock, and general physical or mental impairment.
Old age by itself is not “general physical or mental impairment” within the meaning of N.J.S. 39:3-10.4. New Jersey motorists are required to comply with traffic laws. But so must the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission itself. The MVC may not arbitrarily revoke driving privileges. The MVC may not arbitrarily require licensees to undergo a vision examination, take a law knowledge test, or a driver retest. This principle is exemplified in an Office of Administrative Law Decision. The decision involved an eighty-seven year old lady named Luella F. Kindig. What Kindig tells us is that when MVC directives lack legal or factual basis, they can be successfully challenged.
The Motor Vehicle Commission must afford to New Jersey motorists something called “due process.” Under this due process, the findings of some bureaucrat or physician can be challenged. In many cases, these challenges will be successful. Thus, your notice from the Motor Vehicle Commission that it intends to suspend your driving privileges is not the end of the case; it is only the beginning. Note, however, that fighting proposed suspensions for medical reasons will almost always be very costly.
The heavy expenses in proposed license suspensions for medical reasons arise from the fact that, in addition to the lawyers' fees themselves, the services of one or more health care professions will typically be needed. These health care professionals will often be physicians. They can be treating physicians. They can also be forensic physicians. Their services will include examining the motorist, preparing a report, and possibly appearing before an Administrative Law Judge, to testify.
The “Suspension Notice” page on this site provides crucial information for persons threatened with suspension of driving privileges on account of medical issues. The Law Offices of Allan Marain has successfully defended motorists threatened with medical suspensions, and arbitrary requirements that drivers be retested. Lawyers in that office are available to review the facts of your particular situation, and to tell you how their efforts can assist you.
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