Appeal, No. 49, March T., 1953, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Aug. T., 1952, No. 402, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. D. R. Walkinshaw. Order reversed.
Randolph C. Ryder, Deputy Attorney General, with him Willis E. Topper and Robert E. Woodside, Attorney General, for appellant.
D. R. Walkinshaw, appellee, in propria persona.
Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE
This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order of the court of common pleas sustaining the appeal of D. R. Walkinshaw, defendant, from an order of the Secretary of Revenue suspending defendant's operator's license for failure to appear for a special examination at the direction of officials of the Bureau of Highway Safety.
While all the facts do not appear of record, defendant stated at the bar of this Court at oral argument that he received the notice to submit to an examination after he was involved in a minor accident with another automobile. The defendant considered himself blameless for the accident and regarded the summons
to an examination as an affront. He therefore notified the Director of Highway Safety that he refused to appear. Authority of the Department of Revenue to order defendant to be examined specially, regardless of his culpability for the accident, is found in § 608(f) of The Vehicle Code of May 1, 1929, P.L. 905, as amended, 75 PS 168(f): "The secretary may, in his discretion, require the special examination, by such agencies as the secretary may direct, of any applicant for learner's permit or operator's license, or of any operator, to determine incompetency, physical or mental disability or disease, or any other condition which might prevent such applicant from exercising reasonable and ordinary control over a motor vehicle or tractor."
Defendant first complains that the notice which he received did not comply with the statute because it did not come from the Secretary of Revenue. There is no substance of this contention. The notice was on the letterhead of the Department of Revenue and was signed by the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Highway Safety. Such a notice obviously issues under the authority of the Secretary of Revenue. There is nothing in the statute to indicate a requirement that every notice be signed by the Secretary personally.
Defendant also argues that the Secretary had no authority to suspend his license without affording him a hearing after he had failed to appear for the examination. The Attorney General frankly admits in his brief that no provision of The Vehicle Code, supra, explicitly authorizes the Secretary to suspend an operator's license without a hearing for failure to submit to an examination. But the statute must be given a common-sense interpretation. The ...