A paraphrase from the Associated Press: just a part of the column (the central story and decision): a woman “caught” having taken some prescribed medicine had her license suspended for 180 days; she had the money to fight this for 4 years.
The Iowa supreme court in Des Moines “threw out” a 180 license suspension for Teresa Bearinger of Urbandale. She drove into a mailbox in 2011. The police arrived, and she tested postive for “controlled substances.” These were traces of her prescribed medicine. The police did not file charges, and cited her for “strking fixtures on a highway,” but the Iowa DOT when it got her urine results, suspensed her license for six months. She contested it. At the hearing her doctor said all the drugs were prescribed; she had been told they could cause drowsiness but that it was safe for her to drive.
Apparently she had not eaten enough that morning and said that. The DOT or Iowa’s DMV’s response was what they did was “reasonable” as their “license revocation proceedings” are “remedial, rather than punitive.” They don’t know what public transportation is like (non-existent) in most of Iowa?
In a 7-0 ruling Friday, the court disagreed with DOT’s interpretation, saying Bearinger’s license could not be suspended. DOT’s interpretation would allow drivers who have taken cholesterol drugs, antibiotics and antacids that have no impact on driving to have their licenses revoked, Justice Thomas Waterman wrote …– Drivers caught with prescription drugs in their systems should not have their licenses suspended if they have taken the medications according to their doctors’ instructions, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Not punitive? Today Yvette and I tried to shop on foot to our local Safeway instead of using Peapod (on-line service supposedly provided by Safeway; but they do not have the same goods as the local safeway; do not bring all that is ordered; send crushed and unripeable items; come very late at night). My back was hurting by the time we were walking up the last part of the hill from the Safeway in the valley below us (where the mall is located) and Yvette was finding it an ordeal to push the shopping cart. Not only an ordeal, but almost like the shopping cart that broke last week under pressure from a lot less goods, this one’s wheels were dangerously wobbling.
Apparently the DOT and DMV of Iowa would not answer phone calls from AP where they asked them further to respond with whatever is their excuse. After all stonewalling has ever been the public technique of all DMVs it seems. Ironically I suppose that were public transportation decent in the US individual DMVs would not be as punitive: what after all would be the point?
The plaintive’s attorney said he felt “Friday’s ruling was very significant for some drivers.” Note how carefully phrased.