House Bill 2955 History
H. B. 2955
(By Delegates Boggs and Butcher)
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of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed; that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
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
(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
(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,
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
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
Following the twenty-day period, if the registrant has not
(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
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
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
(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
(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,
(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;
(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:
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
(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
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.
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.
(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
(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