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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. REX ALLEN ADCOCK (01/21/87)

decided: January 21, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING, APPELLANT
v.
REX ALLEN ADCOCK, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation v. Rex Allen Adcock, No. 83-7790.

COUNSEL

Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, with him, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 299]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (DOT) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County which reversed the suspension of the driving privileges of Rex Allen Adcock (Adcock) by DOT for his failure to satisfy a judgment arising from a motor vehicle accident, pursuant to Section 1742 of the Vehicle Code (Code), Act of June 17, 1976, P.L. 162, as amended, formerly 75 Pa. C.S. § 1742, repealed by the Act of February 12, 1984, P.L. 26, and commonly referred to as the Driver Financial Responsibility Law. A substantially similar provision is now found at 75 Pa. C.S. § 1772.*fn1

The following facts are pertinent. Adcock was involved in an accident in Massachusetts on May 22, 1981, while employed as a truck driver and operating a vehicle owned by his employer. He did not own a personal

[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 300]

    car at that time and did not carry personal automobile insurance. Thereafter, Adcock was named as a defendant in a suit arising from this accident, a default judgment was entered against him in the amount of $3,582.00, and the judgment certified to DOT. DOT's suspension of Adcock's driving privileges pursuant to Section 1742(a) of the Code followed. Section 1742(a) of the Code provided that:

[DOT], upon receipt of a certified copy of a judgment, shall suspend the operating privilege of each driver and registration of each owner against whom the judgment was rendered except as otherwise provided in this section. . . . (Emphasis added.)

In reversing the suspension imposed by DOT, the trial judge considered Adcock's testimony indicating that he had filed an accident report at the time of the incident and had notified his employer of the pending suit. He did not know why the employer's insurer had not paid the claim. The trial judge concluded that "under the unique facts of this case," Adcock had been relieved from a suspension of his license by the grace provision then found at Section 1742(c) of the Code, formerly 75 Pa. C.S. § 1742(c),*fn2 pertaining to a showing of insurance in effect at the time of the accident. That section provided as follows:

Any person whose operating privilege or registrations have been suspended, or are about to be suspended or become subject to suspension, under the provisions of this chapter, shall be relieved from the effect of the judgment as prescribed in this chapter if the person files evidence satisfactory ...


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