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Introduced Version House Bill 3187 History

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hb3187 intr
H. B. 3187


(By Delegate Blair)

[Introduced March 24, 2005; referred to the

Committee on Roads and Transportation then the Judiciary.]





A BILL to amend and reenact §17C-4-7 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, and to amend and reenact §17D-2A-6 of said code, all relating to providing for reexamination of drivers holding valid drivers licenses who are observed by police officers violating traffic laws, or who appear to have caused motor vehicle accidents as the result of negligence or inadequate driving skill; requiring accident reports to include a check-off square indicating the need for reexamination; providing a procedure for notifying the Division of Motor Vehicles of a police officer's opinion that a motorist should be reexamined; and, providing due process protections for motorists identified by police officers as needing reexamination.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §17C-4-7 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted and that §17D-2A-6 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 17C. TRAFFIC REGULATIONS AND LAWS OF THE ROAD.

ARTICLE 4. ACCIDENTS.

§17C-4-7. Written reports of accidents.
Every law-enforcement officer who, in the regular course of duty, investigates a motor vehicle accident occurring on the public highways of this state resulting in bodily injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of five hundred dollars or more shall, either at the time of and at the scene of the accident or thereafter by interviewing participants or witnesses, within twenty-four hours after completing such investigation, forward a written report of such accident to the Division. The Division shall prepare a form for such accident report and, after approval of such form by the Commissioner, the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police and the Commissioner of Highways, shall supply copies of such form to police departments, sheriffs and other appropriate law-enforcement agencies. Each form shall include a check-off square which may be marked by an investigating officer having reasonable grounds to believe that a motorist involved in an accident has been negligent or has otherwise exhibited inadequate driving skill and whose qualifications and driving ability should be reexamined by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Every accident report required under the provisions of this section shall be made on such form.
CHAPTER 17D. MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY RESPONSIBILITY LAW.

ARTICLE 2A. SECURITY UPON MOTOR VEHICLES.

§17D-2A-6. Investigation by duly authorized law-enforcement officer to include inquiry regarding required security; officer may determine, based on reasonable grounds, that driver should be reexamined; 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 agency making such investigation shall inquire of the operator of any motor vehicle involved as to the existence upon such vehicle or vehicles of the proof of insurance or other security required by the provisions of this code and upon a finding by such 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 finding within five days if no citation requiring a court appearance is issued: Provided, That such law- enforcement officer or agent shall not stop vehicles solely to inquire as to the certificate of insurance. 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. 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.
(b) In the event a driver of a motor vehicle receives a citation for a moving violation or is involved in an accident in which a citation issues for a moving violation, and in the informed opinion of the investigating officer, who, upon reasonable grounds, determines the driver was negligent or otherwise exhibited inadequate driving skill, the officer may so designate on the uniform citation form, and, in the case of an accident, on the accident form required under section seven, article four, chapter seventeen-c of this code. The officer shall designate on the citation issued to the driver, precisely, the traffic infraction, to which the driver shall be required to answer, either in the municipal or magistrate court having jurisdiction over the matter. In the event the officer makes a determination that a motorist should reexamined for purposes of retaining his or her drivers license, a copy of the accident report and uniform citation shall be forwarded to the Division of Motor Vehicles within five days of the issuance of the citation and the Division shall notify the driver, in writing by certified mail, that the driver must submit to reexamination for purposes of retaining his or her driver's license. The Division shall also advise the driver that he or she may request a hearing in writing by certified or registered mail to contest the law-enforcement officer's determination. In the event the driver requests a hearing within thirty days from the date the notice is received by the driver the Division shall promptly schedule a hearing in which the driver may contest the officer's determination or otherwise notify the driver in writing that reexamination will not be required: Provided, That in the event the driver is acquitted of the alleged violation, or the citation is otherwise dismissed, the municipal or magistrate court wherein the acquittal or dismissal occurred shall so inform the Division of Motor Vehicles within five days of such acquittal or dismissal, and the driver shall not be required to be reexamined upon the investigating officer's publication of cause. In the event, however, the citation is not dismissed and the driver fails to request a hearing within thirty days, or after a hearing is held a determination is made, upon the preponderance of the evidence presented, that the driver was negligent or otherwise exhibited inadequate driving skill, the division shall suspend the driver's license until such time that the driver successfully passes a standard reexamination. The Division of Motor Vehicles shall propose legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code designed to implement the provisions of this subsection.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide a procedure in which a driver may be required to be reexamined for purposes of maintaining his or her driving privileges after a police officer, upon reasonable grounds, determines that a driver, as the result of an accident or by otherwise committing a driving violation, has exhibited negligence or inadequate driving skill. To this end, the bill requires that every accident report include a check-off square for an officer to mark when the officer believes a driver should be reexamined. The bill includes provisions respecting a driver's right to due process in the event a police officer opines that the driver needs to be reexamined.

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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