NEALON, District Judge.
Plaintiffs have initiated this class action on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated
seeking injunctive relief and the convening of a three-judge court to declare Sections 616 (a)(3) and 1417(b) of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code unconstitutional in that they are violative of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court being satisfied that the necessary jurisdictional prerequisites had been met, this statutory three-judge court was convened under 28 U.S.C. § 2281. Bailey v. Patterson, 369 U.S. 31, 82 S. Ct. 549, 7 L. Ed. 2d 512 (1960); Ex parte Poresky, 290 U.S. 30, 54 S. Ct. 3, 78 L. Ed. 152 (1933).
Plaintiffs' attack on § 616(a)(3)
is centered on its requirement that the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, upon proof of conviction that a motorist has violated Section 1027 of the Motor Vehicle Code, to wit: leaving the scene of an accident or failing to identify oneself at the scene of the accident,
must automatically revoke the motorist's license for the period of one year. Plaintiffs claim that this procedure of mandatory revocation without a prior administrative hearing or opportunity to appeal
violates the due process requirements announced by the Supreme Court in Bell v. Burson, 402 U.S. 535, 91 S. Ct. 1586, 29 L. Ed. 2d 90 (1971). Further, they maintain that 75 P.S. § 1417(b), which provides that any license that has been suspended or revoked by the Secretary pursuant to § 616(a)(3) shall remain suspended or revoked until the motorist furnishes proof of financial responsibility, denies plaintiffs equal protection of the laws in that it discriminates against indigents.
The Stipulation of Facts entered into between the parties reveals that on February 24, 1970 plaintiff Larry Warner pled guilty to violating § 1027(b) of the Motor Vehicle Code for failing to stop and disclose his identity at the scene of an accident in which he was involved. Pursuant to § 616(a)(3), defendant revoked Warner's license on July 17, 1970 for a period of one year, said period expiring on July 17, 1971. Although the revocation period has expired, since Warner is financially unable to afford insurance or post security, his license has not as yet been reinstated. He claims that he has been irreparably harmed by the revocation in that he is a professional truckdriver and, therefore, has been deprived of his livelihood. As relief, plaintiff Warner requests an order directing the defendants to restore his operating license without requiring proof of financial responsibility. Plaintiff Slaseman, also an indigent, pled guilty to the same offense on August 17, 1970, and on May 27, 1971 his operator's license was revoked by defendants for a period of one year. Since the revocation period has not expired, plaintiff Slaseman requests the court to direct defendants to hold an administrative hearing on the issue of plaintiff's license revocation and to require defendants to reinstate his license without proof of financial responsibility.
In support of their due process contentions, plaintiffs rely on the recent Supreme Court case of Bell v. Burson, supra as controlling and assert that its holding precludes Pennsylvania from revoking their drivers' licenses under § 616(a)(3) without providing a prior administrative hearing that meets the requirements of due process. In Bell, the Supreme Court recognized that a driver's license, whether labeled as a "right" or a "privilege", creates an interest which is important to a licensee and, once issued, its continued possession may become essential to the pursuit of a livelihood. Accordingly, the Court held that where the statute is fault oriented, before a State may suspend the license of an uninsured motorist for failure to show proof of financial responsibility, it must provide a prior hearing on the question of his potential fault or liability. Id at 542, 91 S. Ct. 1586. See also Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 90 S. Ct. 1011, 25 L. Ed. 2d 287 (1970); Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp., 395 U.S. 337, 89 S. Ct. 1820, 23 L. Ed. 2d 349 (1969).
However, the Commonwealth contends that Bell is not controlling here because Pennsylvania's statutory scheme is significantly different from the statute considered in Bell. It argues that since Georgia's Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act made fault for the accident an important factor in the State's decision to suspend an individual's operating license, a prior hearing on this issue was necessary to satisfy the essentials of due process. Bell v. Burson, supra at 541, 91 S. Ct. 1586. In contrast, the Commonwealth contends that because fault for the accident is irrelevant to the Pennsylvania scheme and that any motorist who violates § 1027(b) is charged with notice that his license will be revoked regardless of culpability, a hearing prior to revocation would serve no valid purpose other than requiring the Commonwealth to prove that his conviction record was properly made, a ministerial act which should not be necessary. Cf. Stauffer v. Weedlun, 188 Neb. 105, 195 N.W. 2d 218 (1972). However, this very argument was raised and rejected recently in Reese v. Kassab, 334 F. Supp. 744 (W.D. Pa. 1971) where a three-judge district court held that the procedure under Pennsylvania's "Point System" Act providing for the suspension of a driver's license without a prior administrative hearing violated the requirements of procedural due process as set down in Bell. Reese v. Kassab, 334 F. Supp. supra at 745. There, the court pointed out
"that even if the convictions cannot be contested, there still remain the possibilities, among others, that the convictions were those of another person with the same name; that the fines and costs were paid on an information at variance with that for which the minor judiciary entered a conviction as plaintiff contends occurred in this case; . . . or that there were errors on the report of conviction form. In none of these instances is there a provision for a hearing before suspension even though notice of the assessment of points is given. Notice without opportunity to rectify error obviously is not sufficient."