PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A state lawmaker is taking action after PennDOT revoked a local woman’s driver’s license based on someone else’s phone call.
The caller reported the woman had a medical condition that she herself says she does not have, and the identity that caller is still unknown.
Pamela Butler recently received a letter from PennDOT stating, “PennDOT has received medical information indicating you have a loss of consciousness and seizure condition, which prevents you from safely operating a motor vehicle. You may no longer drive.”
Butler got snagged by a law that allows “reports from healthcare professionals, law enforcement, driving schools, concerned friends/family, etc.”
PennDOT says, “We cannot divulge any information to anyone, even the driver.”
“Could have been a neighbor, could have been someone who doesn’t like you,” said Butler.
To get her license back, Butler had to prove through records from her doctor that she was physically able to drive, and she was not allowed to even know her accuser. She had a week to do it, it’s the law.
“I had no idea that anyone could call PennDOT and get your license taken away. I had no idea,” said state Sen. Kim Ward. “It is crazy. You have to go to a doctor. You have to proactively do something so that you can keep your license. There are no penalties with that. So, I think that’s what we are looking at as a result of this work you’re doing is making that some type of penalty attached to malicious reporting.”
Sen. Ward likes the spirit of the law allowing people to legitimately report bad drivers without blowback to the whistleblower, whoever it is.
But she plans on pushing for a change in the law, penalizing people who use the law to intentionally hurt people who are actually fit to drive.
“They just don’t like you or you did something to make them mad. There should be a penalty involved with that,” Sen. Ward said.
She is right now putting together a co-sponsorship bill, asking other state senators to sign off on it. The bill would penalize people who maliciously attack a driver who is not impaired in any way.
If you’d like Marty to help you solve your problem, email him at GetMarty@kdka.com.