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KAYE A. WOLFE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/06/76)

decided: April 6, 1976.

KAYE A. WOLFE, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County in case of Department of Transportation v. Kaye A. Wolfe, No. 254 December Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Stephen Cohen, for appellant.

John L. Heaton, Assistant Attorney General, with him Anthony J. Maiorana, Assistant Attorney General, Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 262]

This is an appeal by Kaye A. Wolfe from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County, dated April 22, 1975, which dismissed Wolfe's appeal from a suspension of his motor vehicle operator's privileges. Wolfe challenges both the constitutionality of the "point system" established by the Vehicle Code*fn1 and the

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 263]

    calculation of the particular points assessed against him. We find no merit in his contentions, and affirm.

On January 3, 1973, Wolfe was convicted of a speeding violation which resulted in an assignment of six points under Section 619.1 of the Code, 75 P.S. ยง 619.1. After attending driver training school, his point total was reduced to five. On December 19, 1973, he was again convicted of a speeding infraction and assessed six points, bringing his total to 11. On June 6, 1974, Wolfe received written notification that his license was being suspended for 60 days, effective July 11, 1974.*fn2

Wolfe requested a departmental hearing, and the suspension was stayed pending the outcome. On December 24, 1974, Wolfe was notified of the unfavorable result of the hearing and that the suspension was being reinstated, effective January 28, 1975. Wolfe then appealed to the Court of Common Pleas, which stayed the suspension pending the outcome of the appeal.

Wolfe's argument that the "point system" is violative of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is without merit. Wolfe suggests that there is no reasonable relationship between driver competence and the assessment of points, and that the suspension of a license must be based upon an individual determination of driver competence rather than proof of a violation of the Vehicle Code.

The willingness of a driver to obey the provisions of the Vehicle Code goes to the very heart of the question of whether that driver is "competent." Wolfe cannot seriously contend that "competence" involves solely the ability to ...


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