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Introduced Version House Bill 2955 History

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hb2955 intr
H. B. 2955


(By Delegates Boggs and Butcher)

[Introduced March 9, 2005 ; referred to the

Committee on Banking and Insurance then the Judiciary.]





A BILL to repeal §17D-4-15, §17D-4-16, §17D-4-17, §17D-4-18 and §17D-4-19 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §17A-3-3 of said code; and to amend and reenact §17D-2A-3, §17D-2A-6, §17D-2A-7 and §17D-2A-8 of said code; to amend and reenact §17D-5-3 of said code; and to amend and reenact §17D-6-2 of said code, all relating to mandatory security upon motor vehicles; repealing the option of substituting the posting of a bond or other security with the State Treasurer or the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles in lieu of a motor vehicle liability policy; changing the method of random sampling for determining compliance with the requirement to maintain security; changing the period of suspension of a driver's license for failure to maintain security; requiring the court to forward evidence of compliance to the Division of Motor Vehicles; providing a criminal penalty for providing false or fraudulent information related to mandatory security; requiring the Division to suspend the driver's license of any person upon a showing of forging or filing any false evidence or proof of mandatory security or information; and changing the requirements of obtaining a certificate of self insurance.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §17D-4-15, §17D-4-16, §17D-4-17, §17D-4-18 and §17D-4-19 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed; that §17A-3-3 of said code be amended and reenacted; that §17D-2A-3, §17D-2A-6, §17D-2A-7 and §17D-2A-8 of said code be amended and reenacted; that §17D-5-3 of said code be amended and reenacted; and that §17D-6-2 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 17A. MOTOR VEHICLE ADMINISTRATION, REGISTRATION,

CERTIFICATE OF TITLE, AND ANTITHEFT PROVISIONS.

ARTICLE 3. ORIGINAL AND RENEWAL OF REGISTRATION; ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATES OF TITLE.

§17A-3-3. Application for registration; statement of insurance or other proof of security to accompany application; criminal penalties; fees; special revolving fund.

Every owner of a vehicle subject to registration under this article shall make application to the Division for the registration of the vehicle upon the appropriate form or forms furnished by the Division and every such application shall bear the signature of the owner or his or her authorized agent, written with pen and ink, and the application shall contain:
(a) The name, bona fide residence and mailing address of the owner, the county in which he or she resides, or business address of the owner if a firm, association or corporation.
(b) A description of the vehicle including, insofar as the data specified in this section may exist with respect to a given vehicle, the make, model, type of body, the manufacturer's serial or identification number or other number as determined by the Commissioner.
(c) In the event a motor vehicle is designed, constructed, converted or rebuilt for the transportation of property, the application shall include a statement of its declared gross weight if the motor vehicle is to be used alone, or if the motor vehicle is to be used in combination with other vehicles, the application for registration of the motor vehicle shall include a statement of the combined declared gross weight of the motor vehicle and the vehicles to be drawn by the motor vehicle; declared gross weight being the weight declared by the owner to be the actual combined weight of the vehicle or combination of vehicles and load when carrying the maximum load which the owner intends to place on the vehicle; and the application for registration of each vehicle shall also include a statement of the distance between the first and last axles of that vehicle or combination of vehicles.
The declared gross weight stated in the application shall not exceed the permissible gross weight for the axle spacing listed in the application as determined by the table of permissible gross weights contained in chapter seventeen-c of this code; and any vehicle registered for a declared gross weight as stated in the application is subject to the single-axle load limit set forth in chapter seventeen-c of this code.
(d) Each applicant shall state whether the vehicle is or is not to be used in the public transportation of passengers or property, or both, for compensation, and if used for compensation, or to be used, the applicants shall certify that the vehicle is used for compensation, and shall, as a condition precedent to the registration of such vehicle, if required under this code, obtain a certificate of convenience, or permit from the public service commission.
(e) A statement under penalty of false swearing that liability insurance is in effect and will continue to be in effect through the entire term of the vehicle registration period within limits which shall be no less than the requirement of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code, which shall contain the name of the applicant's insurer, the name of the agent or agency which issued the policy and the effective date of the policy, and such other information as may be required by the Commissioner of motor vehicles, or that the applicant has qualified as a self- insurer meeting the requirements of section two, article six, chapter seventeen-d of the code and that as a self-insurer he or she has complied with the minimum security requirements as established in section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d, or that the applicant has submitted bond or other security approved by the commissioner of motor vehicles which shall provide the equivalent of the policy of insurance specified in this section, or that the applicant has submitted the required cash or other securities with the state treasurer as set forth in the provisions of section sixteen, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code.
(1) Intentional lapses of insurance coverage.
(A) In the case of a periodic use or seasonal vehicle, as defined in section three, article two-a, chapter seventeen-d of this code, the owner may provide, in lieu of other statements required by this section, a statement, under penalty of false swearing, that liability insurance is in effect during the portion of the year the vehicle is in actual use, within limits which shall be no less than the requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code, and other information relating to the seasonal use, on a form designed and provided by the Division.
(B) Any registrant who prior to expiration of his or her vehicle registration drops or cancels insurance coverage for any reason other than periodic or seasonal use shall either surrender the registration plate or shall, by certified mail, notify the Division of the cancellation. The notice shall contain a statement under penalty of false swearing that the vehicle will not be operated on the roads or highways of this state.
(C) The registration of any vehicle upon which insurance coverage has been dropped or canceled under paragraph (B) shall be reinstated upon submission of current proof of insurance and payment of the duplicate plate fee prescribed by this chapter.
(2) Verification process.
The Division shall select no fewer than one percent of the total number of motor vehicles registered annually for a random sample verification of current insurance coverage.
(A) The Division may also select an owners statement of insurance submitted at the time of registration or registration renewal for verification. The Division shall verify that there is current insurance coverage with the insurance company listed on the selected owner's statement of insurance. The Division may also verify that there was insurance in effect as of the date of the filing of the owner's statement of insurance. The Division may also select verification any information related to insurance coverage provided to the Division by any means or process.
Random sample verification of current insurance coverage shall be conducted on a monthly basis. The basis for each sample shall be the entire registered motor vehicle base. The selection of a registration for random sample verification shall not preclude the registration from being selected again in any subsequent month.
The Division shall notify the registrant by regular mail that he or she has twenty days to provide the Division with proof of insurance indicating current insurance coverage on the indicated vehicle as of the date of the notice. The information shall be verified with the indicated insurance company as provided in this section or in the case of a verification of the original owner's statement of insurance, proof of insurance as of the date of submission of the owner's statement.
When a statement or registration is selected for verification, the Division shall forward the information provided by the registrant to the listed insurer. The insurer shall notify the Division, on a form required by the Commissioner, within twenty calendar days if the liability insurance is or is not in effect, as required by this section.
(B) The Division may select for verification any statement of liability insurance submitted by a person who has previously been convicted or whose registration has been revoked or driver's license has been suspended or revoked or disqualified for violating the provisions of chapter seventeen-a, seventeen-b, seventeen-c, seventeen-d or seventeen-e of this code section three, article two- a, chapter seventeen-d of this code, or whose statements of liability insurance have previously been found to be incorrect. The Division may also determine the correctness of information relating to proof of other security satisfying the requirements of this section.
Following the twenty-day period, if the registrant has not responded, or
(3) Determination of Noncompliance.
(A) If the Division determines through the verification process with the insurance company under this section or article two-a, chapter seventeen-d of this code that there is or was no liability insurance in effect, and the registrant has not complied with the provisions of intentional lapse of insurance, then the Commissioner shall send a notice of pending suspension revocation of the motor vehicle registration and the suspension of the owner or owner's driver's license to the registrant by certified mail. The effective date of the suspension and revocation is thirty days from the date of the mailing of the notice of suspension. The notice of pending suspension shall grant the registrant an additional twenty days from the date of the mailing to provide current proof of insurance as of the original notice date or other requested information to the Commissioner. Following this additional twenty-day period, if
(B) If the registrant fails to provide proof of current insurance coverage, or if applicable, proof of insurance coverage on a prior date, before the effective date of the suspension, the Commissioner shall: (i) Suspend the driver's license of the vehicle owner; and (ii) revoke the registration. If the vehicle owner refuses to surrender the registration, the Commissioner shall direct the State Police to secure the registration as of the date of the original notice, an order of suspension shall be directed to the superintendent by the Commissioner as provided in section seven, article nine of this chapter.
(C) The Commissioner shall suspend revoke the motor vehicle registration until current proof of insurance is received and shall suspend the driver's license of the owner or only one of the owners of the motor vehicle if the vehicle is titled in the name of more than one person, for a period of ninety thirty days: Provided, That whenever the Commissioner determines that the vehicle was actually insured, despite the receipt of a notice from the insurer, adverse report of the insurance company, or court report or the license plate was surrendered to the Division upon cancellation of coverage or that the registrant complied with the intentional lapse of coverage notice provisions, the suspension shall be withdrawn and any fees collected by the state shall be returned.
(D) Upon the timely written request of a person whose vehicle registration is revoked or driver's license is suspended under the provisions of this section, the Commissioner shall stay the suspension or revocation, and afford the person an opportunity to be heard. The written request must be filed with the Commissioner in person or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, within ten thirty days after receipt of a copy after the date of mailing of the order notice of suspension.
(E) If the Commissioner finds that the person whose vehicle registration was revoked or driver's license was suspended was not in violation of the provisions of this section, the Commissioner shall rescind his or her earlier order of suspension or revocation.
(F) A copy of the commissioner's order made and entered following the hearing shall be served on the person by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. During the pendency of any hearing, the revocation suspension of the person's license to operate a motor vehicle in this state and the revocation of the motor vehicle registration shall be stayed. If the Commissioner shall, after hearing, make and enter an order affirming the commissioner's earlier order of revocation or suspension, the person shall be entitled to judicial review as set forth in chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. The Commissioner shall not stay enforcement of the order during the appeal. Pending the appeal, the court may grant a stay or supersedeas of the order only upon motion and hearing, and a finding by the court upon the evidence presented, that there is a substantial probability that the appellant shall prevail upon the merits, and the appellant will suffer irreparable harm if the order is not stayed: Provided, That in no event shall the stay or supersedeas of the order exceed thirty days.
(3) (G) If any person making an application required under the provisions of this section, in the application knowingly provides false information, false proof of security or a false statement of insurance, or if any person, including an applicant's insurance agent, knowingly counsels, advises, aids or abets another in providing false information, false proof of security, or a false statement of insurance in the application, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or be imprisoned in the county or regional jail for a period not to exceed fifteen days, or both fined and imprisoned, and in addition to the fine or imprisonment, shall have his or her operator's or chauffeur's driver's license and vehicle registration suspended for a period of six months ninety days.
(f) (H) Any further information as may reasonably be required by the Division to enable it to determine whether the vehicle is lawfully entitled to registration.
(g) (I) Each such application for registration shall be accompanied by the fees provided in this article, and an additional fee of fifty cents for each motor vehicle for which the applicant seeks registration, the fee to be deposited in a special revolving fund for the operation by the Division of its functions established by the provisions of article two-a, chapter seventeen-d of this code.
CHAPTER 17D. MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY RESPONSIBILITY LAW.

ARTICLE 2A. SECURITY UPON MOTOR VEHICLES.

§17D-2A-3. Required security; exceptions.

(a) Every owner or registrant of a motor vehicle required to be registered and licensed in this state shall maintain security as hereinafter provided in effect continuously throughout the registration or licensing period except in case of a periodic use or seasonal vehicle, in which case the owner or registrant is required to maintain security upon the vehicle only for the portion of the year the vehicle is in actual use. As used in this section, a periodic use or seasonal vehicle means a recreational vehicle, antique motor vehicle, motorcycle or other motor vehicle which is stored part of the year and used seasonally.
(b) Every nonresident owner or registrant of a motor vehicle, which is operated upon any road or highway of this state, and which has been physically present within this state for more than thirty days during the preceding three hundred sixty-five days, shall thereafter maintain security as hereinafter provided in effect continuously throughout the period such motor vehicle remains within this state.
(c) No person shall knowingly drive or operate upon any road or highway in this state any motor vehicle upon which security is required by the provisions of this article unless such security is in effect.
(d) Such security shall be provided by one of the following methods:
(a) (1) By an insurance policy delivered or issued for the delivery in this state by an insurance company authorized to issue vehicle liability and property insurance policies in this state within limits which shall be no less than the requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code; or
(b) (2) By any other method approved by the Commissioner of the department of motor vehicles of this state as affording security equivalent to that offered by a policy of insurance, including qualification as a self-insurer under the provisions of section two, article six, chapter seventeen-d; or
(c) By depositing with the state treasurer such cash or other securities in the manner set forth in section sixteen, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code.
The requirements of this section apply to every registered and licensed vehicle upon the next application for renewal of license following the effective date of this section: Provided,
That this
(e) This article shall may not apply to any motor vehicle owned by the state or by a political subdivision of this state, nor to any motor vehicle owned by the federal government.
§17D-2A-6. Investigation by duly authorized law-enforcement officer to include inquiry regarding required security; notice by officer or court to Division of Motor Vehicles.

(a) At the time of investigation of a motor vehicle offense or accident in this state by the department of public safety State Police or other law-enforcement agency or when a vehicle is stopped by a law-enforcement officer for reasonable cause, the officer of such the agency making such the investigation shall inquire of the operator of any motor vehicle involved as to the existence upon such the vehicle or vehicles of the proof of insurance or other security required by the provisions of this code and upon a finding by such the law-enforcement agency, officer or agent thereof that the security required by the provisions of this article is not in effect, as to any vehicle, he or she shall notify the department Division of Motor Vehicles of such the finding within five days if no citation requiring a court appearance is issued: Provided, That such the law-enforcement officer or agent shall may not stop vehicles solely to inquire as to the certificate of insurance.
(b) A defendant, who is charged with a traffic offense that requires an appearance in court, shall present the court at the time of his or her appearance or subsequent appearance with proof that the defendant had security at the time of the traffic offenses as required by this article.
(1) If, as a result of the defendant's failure to show proof, the court determines that the defendant has violated this article, it shall notify the department Division of Motor Vehicles within five days. For purposes of this section, presentation of a certificate of insurance reflecting insurance to be in effect on the date in question shall constitute proof of surety.
(2) If the court determines that the defendant has not violated this article, it shall forward the certificate of insurance or evidence of compliance with section two, article six of this chapter, submitted by the defendant, to the Division of Motor Vehicles within five days. The Division shall provide the defendant an opportunity to show proof of compliance in accordance with the provisions of section three, article three, chapter seventeen-a of this code.
§17D-2A-7. Suspension or revocation of license, registration; reinstatement.

(a) Any owner of a motor vehicle, subject to the provisions of this article, who fails to have the required security in effect at the time such vehicle is being operated upon the roads or highways of this state, shall have his or her driver's license suspended by the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles for a period of thirty days and shall have his or her motor vehicle registration revoked until such time as he or she shall present to the Division of Motor Vehicles the proof of security required by this article: Provided,
That if a motor vehicle is registered in more than one name, the driver's license of only one of the owners shall be suspended by the Commissioner.
(b) Any person who knowingly operates a motor vehicle upon the roads or highways of this state, which does not have the security required by the provisions of this article, shall have his or her driver's license suspended by the Commissioner for a period of thirty days.
(c) A person's driver's license shall be suspended for a period of thirty days if the person is operating a motor vehicle designated for off-highway use upon the roads and highways of this state without the required security in effect, if the motor vehicle is not properly registered and licensed, or if the required security was canceled.
(d) The Commissioner may withdraw a suspension of a driver's license provided that the Commissioner is satisfied that there was not a violation of the provisions of required security related to operation of a motor vehicle upon the roads or highways of this state by such person. The Commissioner may request additional information as needed in order to make such determination.
(e) No person shall have his or her driver's license or motor vehicle registration suspended or revoked under any provisions of this section unless he or she shall first be given written notice of such suspension or revocation sent by certified mail, at least twenty days prior to the effective date of such suspension or revocation, and upon such person's written request, sent by certified mail, he or she shall be afforded an opportunity for a hearing thereupon as well as a stay of the commissioner's order of suspension or revocation and an opportunity for judicial review of such hearing. Upon affirmation of the commissioner's order, the period of suspension or revocation shall commence to run in accordance with the provisions of section three, article three, chapter seventeen-a of this code.
(f) Such suspended driver's license shall be reinstated following the period of suspension upon compliance with the conditions set forth in this article and such revoked motor vehicle registration shall be reissued only upon lawful compliance with the provisions of this article.
(g) If the Commissioner has previously suspended the person's driver's license under the provisions of this section or section five of this article, for any reason related to insurance on a motor vehicle within the previous five years, the period of suspension shall be for a period of ninety days.
§17D-2A-8. Rules.

The Commissioner of the department Division of Motor Vehicles is hereby authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations, in accordance with chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, as he deems necessary for the administration, operation and enforcement of the provisions of this article.
ARTICLE 5. VIOLATION OF PROVISIONS OF CHAPTER; PENALTIES.

§17D-5-3. Forgery; driving with suspended license or registration; failure to return license or registration; penalty for violations of chapter.

(a) Any person who forges, or, without authority, signs any evidence or proof of financial responsibility, or who files or offers for filing any such evidence of proof knowing or having reason to believe that it is forged or signed without authority, or who provides false or fraudulent information, shall be is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned in jail for not more than one year, or both.
(b) Any person whose license or registration or nonresident's operating privilege has been suspended or revoked under this chapter and who, during such suspension or revocation, drives any motor vehicle upon any highway or knowingly permits any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer owned by such person to be operated by another upon any highway, except as permitted under this chapter, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not exceeding six months, or both.
(c) Any person wilfully failing to return license or registration as required in section two of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not to exceed thirty days, or both.
(d) (b) Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter for which no penalty is otherwise provided shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned in jail not more than ninety days, or both.
(c) The Commissioner shall suspend the driver's license in accordance with due process provisions of section three, article three, chapter seventeen-a of this code, for a period of ninety days and shall revoke the motor vehicle registration of any person who forges, or without authority, signs any evidence or proof of financial responsibility, who files or offers for filing any such evidence of proof knowing or having reason to believe that it is forged or signed without authority, or who provides false or fraudulent information: Provided, That the motor vehicle registration may be reinstated upon current proof of the security required by this chapter and: Provided, however, That if a motor vehicle is registered in more than one name, the Commissioner may suspend the driver's license of only one of the owners. The Commissioner shall stay his or her suspension or revocation order upon receipt of a timely written request for a hearing made in accordance with the provisions of section three, article three, chapter seventeen-a of this code.
ARTICLE 6. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

§17D-6-2. Self-insurers.

(a) Any person in whose name more than twenty-five vehicles are registered may qualify as a self-insurer by annually obtaining a certificate of self-insurance issued by the Commissioner as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) The Commissioner may, in his or her discretion, upon the application of such a person, issue a certificate of self- insurance when he or she is satisfied that such person is possessed and will continue to be possessed of ability to pay judgments obtained against such person. The Commissioner may not issue a certificate of self-insurance unless the applicant is listed as the registered owner of the motor vehicles and the applicant files an itemized financial statement that reflects a minimum of one million dollars in total assets. The listed assets must be wholly owned by the applicant.
(c) A self-insured applicant, under the provisions of this section, shall notify the Commissioner upon his or her filing of a petition for bankruptcy and shall comply with the provisions of section ten, article four, chapter seventeen-a of this code related to the issuance of salvage certificates and the determination of a vehicle as a total loss.
(c) (d) Upon not less than five days' notice and a hearing pursuant to such the notice, the Commissioner may upon reasonable grounds cancel a certificate of self-insurance. Failure to pay any judgment within thirty days after such judgment shall have become final, shall constitute a reasonable ground for the cancellation of a certificate of self-insurance.




NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to repeal the option of substituting the posting of a bond or other security with the State Treasurer or the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles in lieu of a motor vehicle liability policy; to change the method of random sampling for determining compliance with the requirement to maintain security; to change the period of suspension of a driver's license for failure to maintain security; to require the court to forward evidence of compliance to the Division of Motor Vehicles; to provide a criminal penalty for providing false or fraudulent information related to mandatory security; to require the Division to suspend the driver's license of any person upon a showing of forging or filing any false evidence or proof of mandatory security or information; and to change the requirements of obtaining a certificate of self insurance.


Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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