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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ELOISE W. EHRET (09/19/79)

decided: September 19, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT
v.
ELOISE W. EHRET, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Eloise W. Ehret, No. 76-4961.

COUNSEL

Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Attorney General, with him John K. Kraybill, Assistant Attorney General, Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Gerald Gornish, Acting Attorney General, for appellant.

W. Horace Hepburn, with him Duryea, Larzelere & Hepburn, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 132]

The Department of Transportation (Department) appeals here from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County which overturned the Department's suspension of Eloise W. Ehret's (appellee) motor vehicle operator's license.

By letter dated December 8, 1975, the appellee was directed to appear for a Special Operator's examination and to have a General Medical Form and Certificate of Visual Efficiency completed by her physicians. Pursuant to the Department's regulations*fn1 and because of the Certificate of Visual Efficiency

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 133]

    submitted by the appellee's doctor, the Department suspended her driving privileges, noting that her vision was found to be "not compatible with the safe operation of a motor vehicle." Notice of the suspension, as authorized by Section 618(a)(1) of The Vehicle Code*fn2 (Code) 75 P.S. § 618(a)(1), was sent to the appellee on February 9, 1976 to be effective on March 15, 1976. The appellee filed an appeal with the common pleas court on April 20, 1976, and after a hearing that court entered an order on October 18, 1977, reversing the action of the Department and reinstating the appellee's operator's license on the ground that the Department's regulations with respect to visual competency were arbitrary.

Two issues are raised here: (1) whether or not the appellee's appeal to the lower court was timely under Section 620 of the Code, 75 P.S. § 620; and (2) whether or not the lower court was correct in finding the Department's regulations to be arbitrary. We will not reach the second issue because we conclude that the appeal to the lower court was not timely and, therefore, that the court was without jurisdiction to reverse the Department's order.

At the time here in question, Section 620 of the Code provided in pertinent part:

Any person whose operator's license or learner's permit has been ...


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