CHAPTER 366

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 27, TITLE 21, DELAWARE CODE BY ADDING A NEW SECTION 2721 AND SECTION 2722 RELATING TO A MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD FOR THE MOTOR VEHICLE DEPARTMENT.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Amend Title 21, Delaware Code, Chapter 27 by adding a new section 2721 to read as follows:

§ 2721. Medical Advisory Board

(a) There shall be a Medical Advisory Board consisting of a minimum of three members nominated by the President of the Medical Society of Delaware and appointed by the Commissioner. The Chairman of the Board shall be the Executive Secretary of the State Board of Health. At least one member shall be an optometrist nominated by the President of the Delaware Optometric Association.

(b) The Board shall advise the Commissioner on medical criteria and vision standards relating to the licensing of drivers under the provisions of this chapter.

(c) Upon the determination of the Commissioner that a licensed driver or applicant for a license may not be physically, visually, or mentally qualified to be licensed, he will mail to the licensed driver or applicant for a license a registered letter with return receipt requested stating the need for a medical or optometric evaluation along with instructions. Attached to this letter will be a physical, or visual examination report. The individual so notified shall be required within thirty (30) days from the date of notification to have this report completed. He shall make arrangements to be examined by a private physician or private optometrist of his choice at his expense or if it is determined by the Commissioner that the individual is unable to pay for this examination the Commissioner shall arrange with a Deputy Health Officer of the State to have this examination performed. The completed report shall be forwarded by the examining physician or optometrist to the Commissioner.

(d) If this report is not received within the allotted 30 days or if a reasonable explanation for the delay is not received the Commissioner shall notify the individual that his driving privilege has been suspended until such report is received and evaluated. Upon receipt of the completed report the Commissioner shall forward this report to the Executive Secretary of the State Board of Health for review.

(e) The Executive Secretary shall review the report to determine if the case warrants evaluation by the Board. If the report gives no medical information indicating impairment of any degree the report shall be returned to the Commissioner with the indication that there is no apparent need for action based on medical impairment. If the information in the medical report warrants review by the Board a copy of the report shall be forwarded to each member of the Board for evaluation.

(f) After review, each member of the Board shall report his recommendations to the Commissioner. The members of the Board shall not meet as a group, unless such a meeting is called by the Chairman, but rather each member shall arrive at an opinion independently and shall inform the Commissioner of his recommendations. These recommendations could involve any of the following by way of illustration but not of limitation:

1. No action against driver or applicant.

2. Periodic medical evaluation.

3. Specific license restrictions.

4. Further medical or optometric evaluation.

5. Driver improvement activity, including retesting.

6. License suspension.

(g) The Commissioner shall make the final decision on whether the driver or applicant for a license should be licensed, refused, issued a restricted license, or have his license suspended.

(h) Upon the decision of the Commissioner the Department shall notify the driver or applicant and shall afford him an opportunity of a hearing before the Department in the County where he resides. Upon such hearing the Commissioner may rescind the order there being a showing of good cause.

(i) Members of the Board and other persons making or evaluating examinations shall not be held liable for their opinions and recommendations.

(j) Physicians and optometrists shall serve on the Board without pay. Their identities shall be kept confidential.

(k) Reports received or made by the Board, or its members, for the purpose of assisting the Commissioner in determining whether a person is qualified to be licensed are for the confidential use of the Board or the Commissioner and may not be divulged to any person or used as evidence in any trial except that the reports may be admitted in proceedings under Section 2715 and Section 2734 of this chapter.

(1) To maintain confidential the identities of the members of the Board they shall not be required to appear in court. If the qualifications of the members to make recommendations are challenged in court the Commissioner shall give the court brief professional biographies outlining the training experience of each member.

Section 2. Amend Title 21, Delaware Code, Chapter 27 by adding a new Section 2722 to read as follows:

§ 2722. Standards

The Commissioner shall have the authority to promulgate standards which may be applied by the Medical Advisory Board. Such standards shall also apply to the final determination of the Commissioner upon the physical, visual or mental qualifications of a driver or applicant.

Approved April 13, 1970.