Eastwood, Jayne and Clapp. The opinion of the court was delivered by Jayne, J.A.D.
At about 7:45 o'clock on the morning of January 19, 1953 the automobile operated by the appellant Mary E. Sylcox came into collision with another motor vehicle on State Highway No. 84 in Wantage Township, Sussex County. She was summoned to answer in the Sussex County District Court (N.J.S. 2 A:6-37) a complaint accusing her of violating the terms of N.J.S.A. 39:4-86. Presumably to render the charge more definite the summons contained the words "improper passing" and "in face of oncoming traffic." The applicable paragraph of the statute reads:
"The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center line of a highway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the left side is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be made in safety."
At the conclusion of the trial she was adjudged not guilty. It is this acquittal to which the appellant ascribes decisive significance in the prosecution of the present appeal.
The ensuing event was that the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles exercised on August 26, 1953 the authority conferred upon him by R.S. 39:5-30 and gave notice in writing to the appellant of the proposed revocation of her
driver's license. The reason stated in the notice was that she "operated a motor vehicle on January 19, 1953 on State Highway No. 84 in Wantage Township, Sussex County, New Jersey at about 7:45 A.M. in violation of the law, to-wit, Section 39:4-97 of the Revised Statutes (careless driving) and 39:4-86 a (pulling to left side to pass when that side was not clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic), thereby causing an accident."
It is evident that the offense indicated in the notice as a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-86 is the alleged transgression of which the appellant had been acquitted. It must be additionally observed that the other reason specified for the proposed revocation of the driver's license was her careless and imprudent driving on the designated occasion in disobedience of N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.
At the hearing the attorney of the present appellant resisted the proposed revocation of the license with the insistence that the previous acquittal sustained a plea of autrefois acquit and that the proceeding to revoke the license subjected the appellant to double jeopardy.
The director resolved that reasonable grounds existed for the revocation of the license in that on the stated occasion the appellant had violated section 39:4-97 of the Revised Statutes and accordingly by virtue of the power and authority vested in him by R.S. 39:5-30 ordered that the license theretofore issued to the appellant to drive a motor vehicle in the State of New Jersey be revoked indefinitely. The legality of the order is the subject of the present appeal.
The relevant paragraph of N.J.S.A. 39:4-97 reads:
"A person driving a vehicle on a highway shall drive it at a careful and prudent speed, not greater than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface and width of the highway, and of any other conditions then existing, and no person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at such a speed as to endanger the life, limb or property of a person."
It is immediately noticeable that while the district court had resolved that the appellant had ...