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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Octogenarian Denied Driving Privilege Goes Federal

Carl Hainer sans license.
By: Timothy P. Flynn

At age 85, Carl Hainer has not had a traffic citation in 70-years, i.e. his entire driving life.  That did not stop the Secretary of State from denying his recent renewal application on the mysterious grounds that Mr. Hainer was an unfit driver due to unspecified health reasons.

Well, apparently they messed with the wrong retired engineer.   The octogenarian from Grand Rapids is representing himself in a federal law suit he filed against the Secretary of State, presumably raising constitutional claims.

The Secretary of State has the authority to restrict or deny a driver's license based on the applicant's ability to safely operate their vehicle.  The SOS gets referrals for a driver's examination from many sources: police, family, guardians, medical care providers, concerned neighbors and even, as apparently in Hainer's case, SOS workers.

Michigan's motor vehicle code provides for a driver's re-examination whenever information comes to the SOS about that driver's ability to safely operate their vehicle.  The process balance the important liberty interest associated with the freedom to drive, and the public safety interest that all licensed drivers are capable of handling the multitude of conditions and situations that arise on a moment-by-moment basis on the road.

In Hainer's case, he claims he has been singled-out and discriminated against due to his age.  He asserts that it was all-bad from the moment he stepped into the SOS office to renew his license, and that he was treated rudely at the counter.  As for his overall health, he is puzzled as to why his license was pulled because the man is apparently in good health.

Unfortunately for Hainer, his law suit is misplaced to the extent that the State of Michigan has immunity in such matters.  It would have been better had Hainer hired a lawyer to appeal this administrative decision.

If you or a family member have experienced an adverse administrative decision affecting your driver's license, give our law firm a call for a free consultation.  We may be able to assist.

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January 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM 

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