Informing Police Regarding Any Known Medical Conditions Affected Ability to Perform a Breath Analyzer Test
In Finney v. Deparment of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, 721 A.2d 420 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1998), the Court held that a licensee has an obligation to inform the police of any known medical conditions that were not obvious and affected his ability to perform the test.
However, the Court revisited this ruling in Bridges v. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, 752 A.2d 456 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2000), and clarified that it only applied to known medical conditions.
In Bridges, the licensee did not inform police that he suffered from shortness of breath at the time of the testing because, at the time of the testing, he had never been diagnosed with a pulmonary disease or a breathing disorder.
The Court concluded that the licensee was "not now precluded from relying on any such condition as an affirmative defense because he did not know that he had a condition which affected his ability to produce enough breath to complete the breathalyzer test." Bridges, 752 A.2d at 460.
In Bridges, Dr. Peter Tanzer, M.D., testified that he performed a pulmonary function test on a licensee and determined that he had mild to moderate lung disease.
Dr. Tanzer stated that he was not aware of the force required to satisfy the requirements of the breathalyzer test.
He also stated he was not familiar with the period of time that a breath must be sustained or how hard a licensee has to blow to perform the test.
However, he concluded that the licensee's breathing problems would have made it difficult for him to perform the test.
This Court determined that Dr. Tanzer's lack of knowledge rendered his testimony incompetent as he was unaware of the lung capacity necessary to perform the test.