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Has anyone looked at this website and is a letter from this doctor, who is not certified by the Texas Board of Medical Examiners, good enough to be used to beat a seatbelt ticket in Texas?
TEX. TRANS. CODE 545.413
(e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:
(1) the person possesses a written statement from a licensed physician stating that for a medical reason the person should not wear a safety belt;
(2) the person presents to the court, not later than the 10th day after the date of the offense, a statement from a licensed physician stating that for a medical reason the person should not wear a safety belt;
I am quite aware of what the TRC says. My question is....How can a letter, written by a doctor that has never seen the patient, the basis of which is a medical evaluation form posted on an internet site be considered sufficient to meet the requirments of the TRC?? The letter costs $49.95 and is sent via e-mail. Surely, this can't be allowable.
Sounds like there's not a lot you could do.
The statute doesn't say "licensed in Texas" which would help, or that they had to have the letter at the time of not wearing the seatbelt, or even that the letter has to be admissible and the doctor proven up as a proper expert.
I guess you could check with the licensing board in California. It seems as though the board would have issues with giving medical opinions to clients never even seen. Or maybe the doctor is not truly licensed?
I doubt licensed means licensed anywhere. Lawyers, doctors, and plumbers must be licensed in the jurisdiction where they are practicing. Taken to its logical conclusion, licensed in Bosnia, Iran or Georgia (not the home of the Braves) would be good enough.
If this doctor is actually licensed in California, I would file a complaint with the California licensing board. I am sure that a practice of prescribing for a person that the doctor has relationship with other than an internet form and payment is most likely a violation of California law. Could doctor also have violated Texas Law by issuing a medical "prescription" to the defendant who was in Texas at the time since he not licensed in Texas??
I played with their questionaire. For those of you who don't know me, I'm pretty active, won't see 50 again, and a cancer survivor. Also - - basically honest. The only questions I answered "yes" to were "is your left shoulder / chest area sensitive to pressure" (OK, enough pressure and who's isn't? Besides, I was in the sun a lot yesterday...); yes, I have had a shoulder rash in that area in my life (poison oak is the pits; I have had both chicken pox and cancer, and there is diabetis in my family.
Believe it or not...They claim that (for $50) I qualify for an exemption.
Obviously, this is a hunk of something left in the pasture...
Lisa L. Peterson
Nolan County Attorney
There are lots of Texas statutes that expressly refer to a physician licensed in this State:
Labor Code � 21.253(a)(1) (". . . confirmed in writing by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state . . . .")
Probate Code, � 687(a) (". . . a physician licensed in this state . . . .").
Moreover, it seems reasonable that someone traveling through Texas should be able to rely upon their home doctor.
OTOH, the Occupations Code � 151.002(a)(12) says that for purposes of the Occupation Code, "'Physician' means a person licensed to practice medicine in this state".
I don't think any court in the country has addressed this firm, but the defense doesn't seem to allow a challenge to the merits of the physician's letter.
Perhaps someone needs to work on changing the statute.
Or maybe one of these unbuckled morons with such a letter can bring suit again the moron web doc when they do a header into pavement at a nice 65 miles per hour. Doctors like this one make me dislike the tort reformer lobby.
This seems not unlike the online pharmacies that were a big issue a few years back where a doctor would review the user's request and write a prescription.
User: My arm hurts.
Internet Doctor: Here is a prescription for oxycotin.
Online Pharmacy: Let me fill that for you.
UPS Guy: Dude... Don't make me into your drug dealer.
Pharmaceutical company: No fair it hurts our profits! uh... I mean... it might not be safe! It might be fake medicine!
AARP: We can't afford your prices on meds, let us import from Canada.
Spammer: Viagra 4 cheep click now!
Congress: Here is your new Medicare prescription drug plan.
How many people do you think realize that they can get a medical to not wear a seatbelt with the absurd way state governments enforce seatbelt laws? It cracks me up how much of a busybody a person would have to be to find fault with somebody avoiding "justice" and getting a medical reason to not wear a seatbelt.
We do tend to find fault when people are purposely breaking the law. You know, being prosecutors and all.
I oppose mandatory seat belt laws for adults, but still enforce them. That is called, or used to be, having a government of laws, not men.
As Presidne Grant said in his 1st Inagural Address:
Laws are to govern all alike � those opposed as well as those who favor them. I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.
I personally support both mandatory seatbelt and child seat laws as well as helmet laws covering cyclists and motorcyclists. Why? Because of the cost to society for those who die or suffer long-term incpacitating injuries as a result of crashes. Many people do not have the insurance necessary to cover the care needed for incapcitated indivduals who suffer serious injuries due to the fact they were not wearing a seatbelt or helmet. This doen't include the financial impact on families who lose a breadwinner. As an adult I generally have the right to do stupid things, but the imposition of a seatbelt or helmet on a driver or rider far outweighed by the reduction of death and serious injury that has occurred since those laws went into affect. It least that is how I see it.
And as a citizen, even if I didn't support them, as long as they are on the books, I would comply.
It seems to me detractors of seat belt laws often cite individual freedom as a justification under the theory that not wearing a seatbelt only hurts the person refusing to wear it.
In addition to the indirect costs discussed in the post above, there are more direct harms to other drivers.
A driver who operates a car without a seatbelt is much more likely to move from reach of the steering wheel and pedals in the event of a collision.
Thus, the unsecured driver is far less likely to properly recover as quickly and adequately as a secured driver. The unsecured driver will thus case far more damage and injury in a collision than an unsecured driver.
That simple act of refusing to wear the seatbelt puts me and all other motorists on the roadway with that unsecured driver at increased risk.
That potential harm outweighs the small inconvenience of wearing the seatbelt. At least in my opinion.
This is exactly the kind of dicta we need in Supreme Court opinions, Justice W.
That would be nice, but the doc's legal staff has a nice disclaimer on the site: "I am over 21 years of age. I understand that use of the BuckleOff.com website is voluntary and attest that I initiated contact with BuckleOff.com, LLC. I acknowledge that seat belt use is recommended by many traffic safety experts, and by choosing not to use a seat belt I forgo any safety advantage that seat belt use would confer to me."
At least the site doesn't make the claim that it's safer to drive without a belt on.
Assuming that "Dr. Buckleoff" will not be on the witness list, as a practical matter the Defendant will need to take the stand and prove-up the letter. Based on Lisa's description of the questionnaire and process to obtain the letter plus the disclaimer acknowledged by the letter holder, I am looking forward to the cross-examination of a Defendant claiming this defense to prosecution.
Looks to me like 545.413 anticipates that the doctor's letter will be mailed to the court since it has to be presented to the court within 10 days of the offense.
Here's the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center
instruction on this.
http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:xLur2UwSS00J:www.tmcec.com/tmcec/public/files/File/Judges/Interactive%2520Notes/Goodner%2520-%2520Fact%2520or%2520Fiction%2520-%2520iNotes%2520(ANSWERS).pdf+545.413+seat+belt+doctor&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us (question 5)
[This message was edited by david curl on 06-29-09 at .]
I agree such a letter in a person's possession or timely presented to the court, is a Defense, but only if the letter truly is what it purports to be. Anybody can generate a letter purportedly from a licensed physician claiming a medical reason not to wear a safety belt. But, you can't even have your temperature taken by a Doctor for $50 much less get them to write a letter. Buckleoff.com includes this very convincing statement: "Dr. Buckleoff (really Bob) is a duly licensed Washington physician" but no other basis to confirm the claim. If I can not confirm the validity of the letter, I'm not going to dismiss and the defendant can have Judge or Jury decide. See TMECE Dismissal Chart
[This message was edited by John Greenwood on 06-29-09 at .]
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