(a) Commissioner. -- The commissioner of motor vehicles of this state;
(b) Person. -- Every natural person, firm, copartnership, association or corporation;
(c) Driver. -- Every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle;
(d) Operator. -- Every person, other than a chauffeur, who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon a highway or who is exercising control over or steering a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle;
(e) Chauffeur. -- Every person who is employed by another for the principal purpose of driving a motor vehicle and every person who drives a school bus transporting school children or any other motor vehicle when in use for the transportation of persons or property for compensation;
(f) Owner. -- A person who holds the legal title of a vehicle, or in the event a vehicle is the subject of an agreement for the conditional sale or lease thereof with the right of purchase upon performance of the conditions stated in the agreement and with an immediate right of possession vested in the conditional vendee or lessee, or in the event a mortgagor of a vehicle is entitled to possession, then such conditional vendee or lessee or mortgagor shall be deemed the owner for the purposes of this chapter;
(g) Nonresident. -- Every person who is not a resident of this state;
(h) Vehicle. -- Every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks;
(i) Motor vehicle. -- Every vehicle which is self-propelled and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails;
(j) Trailer. -- Every vehicle with or without motive power designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that no part of its weight rests upon the towing vehicle;
(k) Semitrailer. -- Every vehicle with or without motive power designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that some part of its weight and that of its load rests upon or is carried by another vehicle.
The commissioner shall upon request and subject to the provisions of article two-a, chapter seventeen-a of this code, furnish any person a certified abstract of the operating record of any person subject to the provisions of this chapter, and if there is no record of any conviction of the person of a violation of any law relating to the operation of a motor vehicle or of any injury or damage caused by the person, the commissioner shall so certify. The commissioner shall collect five dollars for each abstract.
This article applies to the operation of all motor vehicles required to be registered or operated on the roads and highways to have the security in effect, as provided in section three, article two-a of this chapter, with the exception of motor vehicles owned by the state, any of its political subdivisions or by the federal government.
For the purposes of this article, "commercial auto coverage"
is defined as any coverage provided to an insured, regardless of
number of vehicles or entity covered, under a commercial coverage
form and rated from a commercial manual approved by the Department
of Insurance. This article does not apply to commercial vehicles
insured under commercial auto coverage; however, insurers of such
vehicles may participate on a voluntary basis.
(b) The owner or registrant shall immediately surrender the registration plate to the Division of Motor Vehicles when he or she drops the required security during the registration period. An owner of a periodic use or seasonal vehicle may retain a registration plate subject to legislative rules promulgated by the commissioner.
(c) 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 the motor vehicle remains within this state.
(d) No person may knowingly drive or operate upon any road or highway any motor vehicle upon which security is required by the provisions of this article unless the required security is in effect.
(e) The security shall be provided by one of the following methods:
(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 may not be less than the requirements of section two, article four of this chapter; or
(2) By qualification as a self-insurer under the provisions of section two, article six of this chapter.
(f) This article does 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.
The certificate must specify for each vehicle listed therein, that there is a minimum liability insurance coverage not less than the requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code.
(b) The certificate provided pursuant to the provisions of this section or other proof of insurance shall be carried by the insured in the appropriate vehicle for use as proof of security, and must be presented at the time of vehicle inspection as required by article sixteen, chapter seventeen-c of this code. Any person violating the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars; and upon a second or subsequent conviction, shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars, or confined in the county or regional jail for not less than fifteen days nor more than one year, or both: Provided, That an insured shall not be guilty of a violation of this subsection (b) if he or she furnishes proof that such insurance was in effect within seven days of being cited for not carrying such certificate or other proof in such vehicle.
(c) As used in this section, proof of insurance means a certificate of insurance, an insurance policy, a mechanically reproduced copy of an insurance policy, a certificate of self-insurance, or a copy of the current registration issued to a motor carrier by the public service commission: (1) Through the single state registration system established pursuant to section fourteen, article six-a, chapter twenty-four-a of this code; or (2) pursuant to the provisions of section four, article six, chapter twenty-four-a of this code.
No policy of motor vehicle liability insurance issued or
delivered for issuance in this state shall be contracted for a
period of less than ninety days: Provided, That the Insurance
Commissioner may establish exceptions thereto by rules proposed for
legislative approval pursuant to chapter twenty-nine-a of this
(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 subject to verification by the court through the Division of Motor Vehicles or its agent or by an on-line insurance verification program if available.
(c) If, as a result of the defendant's failure to show proof, the court determines that the defendant has violated this article, the court shall notify the Division of Motor Vehicles within five days.
(b) The commissioner is authorized to develop and implement an electronic insurance verification program based upon a model established by the Insurance Industry Committee on Motor Vehicle Administration to electronically verify evidence of insurance coverage with insurance companies.
(c) The commissioner may contract with a third party vendor to act as his or her agent to develop the program, conduct the electronic verification process with insurance companies and to operate the program.
(d) If developed and implemented by the commissioner, the on-line insurance verification program shall:
(1) Be able to verify, on an on-demand basis minus reasonable down time for system maintenance as agreed upon by the division or its agent and the insurance carrier, the liability insurance status as of the time of the inquiry or at other times not exceeding six months prior unless otherwise agreed upon by the division or its agent and the insurance carrier or via other similar electronic system that is consistent with insurance industry and Insurance Industry Committee on Motor Vehicle Administration (IICMVA) recommendations and the specifications and standards of the IICMVA model;
(2) Be able to make insurance verification inquiries to insurers by using multiple data elements for greater matching accuracy including: National Association of Insurance Commissioner's (NAIC) code specific to each licensed insurance company, vehicle identification numbers and policy number or other data elements as otherwise agreed to by the division or its agent and the insurer.
(3) Provide sufficient measures for the security and integrity of data including a requirement that the information obtained through the operation of the program be only used for the sole use of the Division of Motor Vehicles or its agent, law enforcement and the judiciary to effectuate the provisions of this article; and
(4) Utilize open and agreed upon data and data transmission standards and standard SML extensible markup language schema.
(e) If the commissioner develops and implements an on-line insurance verification program, each insurer shall:
(1) Cooperate with the Division of Motor Vehicles, or its agent in establishing and operating the program;
(2) Maintain the data necessary to verify the existence of mandatory liability insurance coverage provided to its customers pursuant to the required time period established for the on-line insurance verification program;
(3) Maintain the internet web service, pursuant to the requirements established under the online insurance verification program, through which online insurance verification can take place that includes the ability to respond to authorized inquiries on whether the vehicle is insured or the policy in effect on the requested date through the insurer's national insurance commissioners association code, vehicle identification number, insurance policy number or other data key or keys as otherwise agreed to by the division or its agent and the insurer;
(4) Provide security consistent with accepted insurance industry and United States motor vehicle agency standards pertinent to the transmission of personal data;
(5) Be immune from civil and administrative liability for good faith efforts to comply with the terms of the verification program; and
(6) As a condition of writing motor vehicle liability insurance in this state, insurance carriers shall cooperate with the division or its agent and the insurance commission in establishing and maintaining an insurance verification system. Nothing prohibits an insurer from using the services of a third party vendor for facilitating the insurance verification program required by this section.
(f) If the commissioner develops and implements an on-line insurance verification program, the Division of Motor Vehicles or its agent as applicable shall:
(1) Consult and cooperate with insurers in establishing and operating the on-line insurance verification system;
(2) Designate and maintain a contact person for insurers during the establishment and implementation of the on-line insurance verification system;
(3) Conduct a pilot project to test the insurance verification system no less than eighteen months prior to final implementation;
(4) Establish and maintain the systems necessary to make verification requests to insurers using the data elements that the Division of Motor Vehicles or its agent and the insurer have agreed upon and are necessary to receive accurate responses from insurers;
(5) For all information transmitted and received, implement and maintain strict system and data security measures consistent with applicable standards. Data secured via the reporting system by either the division or its agent may not be shared with any party other than those permitted by state or federal privacy laws;
(6) Be responsible for keeping all interested state agencies informed on the implementation status, functionality, and planned or unplanned service interruptions; and
(7) Provide alternative methods of reporting for small insurers writing less than 500 non-commercial motor vehicle policies in the state as determined by the Division of Motor Vehicles or its agent;
(g) Any information obtained by the division or its agent under the provisions of an electronic insurance system is for the sole use of the Division of Motor Vehicles or its agent, law enforcement and the judiciary to effectuate the provisions of this article and is exempt from disclosure under the provisions of article one, chapter twenty-nine-b and may not be considered a public record as defined in section two, article one, chapter twenty-nine-b of this code.
(h) Not more than two years after the establishment of an on-line insurance verification program, the Division of Motor Vehicles, after consultation with insurers, shall report to the Legislature as to the costs of the program incurred by the division, insurers and the public and the effectiveness of the program in reducing the number of uninsured motor vehicles.
(a) Any owner of a motor vehicle, subject to this article, who fails to have the required security in effect at the time such vehicle is registered or being operated upon the roads or highways shall have his or her driver's license suspended by the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles and shall have his or her motor vehicle registration revoked as follows:
(1) For the first offense, the commissioner shall suspend the driver's license for thirty days and until such time as he or she presents current proof of insurance on all currently registered vehicles: Provided, That if an owner complies with this subdivision, and pays a penalty fee of $200 before the effective date, the driver's license suspension of thirty days may not be imposed and the vehicle registration revocation may not be imposed and no reinstatement fees are required. Any fees collected under the provisions of this subsection shall be deposited in the Motor Vehicle Fees Fund established in accordance with section twenty- one, article two, chapter seventeen-a of this code.
(2) For the second or subsequent offense within five years, the commissioner shall suspend the owner's driver's license for a period of ninety days and shall revoke the owner's vehicle registration until he or she presents to the Division of Motor Vehicles the proof of security required by this article.
(3) If the motor vehicle is titled and registered in more than one name, the commissioner shall suspend the driver's license of only one of the owners.
(b) Any person who is not the vehicle owner and is convicted of operating a motor vehicle upon the roads or highways of this state which does not have the security required by this article shall have the conviction placed on his or her driver's license record.
(c) The division may not suspend or revoke a driver's license under this article for any citation of driving without insurance that is received by the division from a court that is more than one year from the date of the offense.
(d) The commissioner may withdraw a suspension of a driver's license or revocation of a motor vehicle registration and refund any penalty or reinstatement fees at any time 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) A person may not have his or her driver's license suspended or motor vehicle registration revoked under this section unless he or she and any lienholder noted on the certificate of title are first given written notice of such suspension or revocation sent by certified mail, at least thirty days prior to the effective date of such suspension or revocation, and upon that person's written request, 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. The request for a hearing shall be made within ten days from the date of receipt of the notice of driver's license suspension or motor vehicle registration revocation. The scope of the hearing is limited to questions of identity or whether or not there was insurance in effect at the time of the event causing the commissioner's action. Upon affirmation of the commissioner's order, the period of suspension, revocation or other penalty commences to run.
(f) A suspended driver's license is reinstated following the period of suspension upon compliance with the conditions set forth in this article and a revoked motor vehicle registration is reissued only upon lawful compliance with this article.
(g) Revocation of a motor vehicle registration pursuant to this section does not affect the perfection or priority of a lien or security interest attaching to the motor vehicle that is noted on the certificate of title to the motor vehicle.
(h) Any owner or driver of a motor vehicle determined by an electronic insurance verification program to be uninsured shall be assessed the same criminal and administrative sanctions prescribed in this chapter subject to the following:
(1) Any person who is assessed a penalty prescribed by this section has the same procedural due process provided by this chapter or by rules promulgated by the division to show that there was not a violation and provide for the exoneration of any penalties or records; and
(2) The commissioner may accept a binder, an identification
card or a declaration page from a policy as evidence of insurance
pending electronic verification to stay a pending administrative
The arrest procedures authorized in section four, article nineteen, chapter seventeen-c of this code shall apply to the enforcement of the provisions of this article.
Acts, 1988 Reg. Sess., Ch. 91.
Acts, 1990 Reg. Sess., Ch. 137.
(a) The term "judgment" shall mean: Any judgment which shall have become final by expiration without appeal of the time within which an appeal might have been perfected, or by final affirmation on appeal, rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction of any state or of the United States, upon a cause of action arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer for damages, including damages for care and loss of services, because of bodily injury to or death of any person, or for damages because of injury to or destruction of property, including the loss of use thereof, or upon a cause of action on an agreement of settlement for such damages.
(b) The term "license" shall mean: Any license, temporary instruction permit, or temporary license issued under the laws of this state pertaining to the licensing of persons to operate motor vehicles.
(c) The term "nonresident operating privilege" shall mean: The privilege conferred upon a nonresident by the laws of this state pertaining to the operation by him of a motor vehicle, or the use of a vehicle owned by him, in this state.
(d) The term "registration" shall mean: The registration certificate or certificates and registration plates issued under the laws of this state pertaining to the registration of vehicles.
(e) The term "state" shall mean: Any state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any province of the Dominion of Canada.
If the defendant named in any certified copy of a judgment reported to the commissioner is a nonresident, the commissioner shall transmit a certified copy of the judgment to the official in charge of the issuance of licenses and registrations of the state of which the defendant is a resident.
(a) The commissioner upon receipt of a certified copy of a judgment, shall forthwith suspend the license and registration and any nonresident's operating privilege of any person against whom such judgment was rendered, except as hereinafter otherwise provided in this section and in section eight of this article.
(b) If the judgment creditor consents in writing, in such form as the commissioner may prescribe, that the judgment debtor be allowed license and registration or nonresident's operating privilege, the same may be allowed by the commissioner, in his discretion, for six months from the date of such consent and thereafter until such consent is revoked in writing, notwithstanding default in the payment of such judgment, or of any installments thereof prescribed in section eight of this article.
(c) The commissioner shall not, however, suspend a license, registration, or nonresident's operating privilege of any person if the insurance applicable to such person or the vehicle being operated by him was with a company which was authorized to transact business in this state and which, subsequent to an accident involving the owner or driver and prior to settlement of the claim therefor went into liquidation so that no benefit accrued to the owner or driver by reason of having provided such insurance.
(a) Such license, registration and nonresident's operating privileges shall remain so suspended and shall not be renewed, nor shall any such license or registration be thereafter issued in the name of such person, including any person not previously licensed, unless and until every such judgment is stayed, satisfied in full or to the extent hereinafter provided subject to the exemptions stated in sections five and eight of this article.
(b) A discharge in bankruptcy following the rendering of any such judgment shall not relieve the judgment debtor from any of the requirements of this article.
(1) When twenty thousand dollars has been credited upon any judgment or judgments rendered in excess of that amount because of bodily injury to or death of one person as the result of any one accident; or
(2) When, subject to such limit of twenty thousand dollars because of bodily injury to or death of one person, the sum of forty thousand dollars has been credited upon any judgment or judgments rendered in excess of that amount because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons as the result of any one accident; or
(3) When ten thousand dollars has been credited upon any judgment or judgments rendered in excess of that amount because of injury to or destruction of property of others as a result of any one accident.
(b) Provided, however, that payments made in settlement of any claims because of bodily injury, death or property damage arising from such accident shall be credited in reduction of the amounts provided for in this section.
(a) A judgment debtor upon five days' notice to the judgment creditor may, for the sole purpose of giving authority to the commissioner to authorize such judgment debtor to operate a motor vehicle thereafter, apply to the court in which such judgment was rendered for the privilege of paying such judgment in installments and the court, in its discretion and without prejudice to any other legal remedies which the judgment creditor may have, may so order and fix the amounts and times of payment of the installments.
(b) The commissioner shall not suspend a license, registration, or nonresident's operating privilege, and shall restore any license, registration, or nonresident's operating privilege suspended following nonpayment of a judgment, when the judgment debtor obtains such an order permitting the payment of such judgment in installments, and while the payment of any said installment is not in default.
(c) In the event the judgment debtor fails to pay any installment as specified by such order, then upon notice of such default, the commissioner shall forthwith suspend the license, registration, or nonresident's operating privilege of the judgment debtor until such judgment is satisfied, as provided in this chapter.
Acts, 1990 Reg. Sess., Ch. 137.
Acts, 1990 Reg. Sess., Ch. 137.
Acts, 1990 Reg. Sess., Ch. 137.
(a) A "motor vehicle liability policy" as said term is used in this chapter means an "owner's policy" or an "operator's policy" of liability insurance certified as provided in section ten or section eleven of this article as proof of financial responsibility, and issued, except as otherwise provided in section eleven, by an insurance carrier duly authorized to transact business in this state, to or for the benefit of the person named therein as insured.
(b) Such owner's policy of liability insurance:
(1) Shall designate by explicit description or by appropriate reference all vehicles with respect to which coverage is thereby to be granted; and
(2) Shall insure the person named therein and any other person, as insured, using any such vehicle or vehicles with the express or implied permission of such named insured, against loss from the liability imposed by law for damages arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of such vehicle or vehicles within the United States of America or the Dominion of Canada, subject to limits exclusive of interest and costs, with respect to each such vehicle, as follows: Twenty thousand dollars because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to said limit for one person, forty thousand dollars because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and ten thousand dollars because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
(c) Such operator's policy of liability insurance shall insure the person named as insured therein against loss from the liability imposed upon him by law for damages arising out of the use by him of any motor vehicle not owned by him, within the same territorial limits and subject to the same limits of liability as are set forth above with respect to an owner's policy of liability insurance.
(d) Such motor vehicle liability policy shall state the name and address of the named insured, the coverage afforded by the policy, the premium charged therefor, the policy period, and the limits of liability, and shall contain an agreement or be endorsed that insurance is provided thereunder in accordance with the coverage defined in this chapter as respects bodily injury and death or property damage, or both, and is subject to all the provisions of this chapter.
(e) Such motor vehicle liability policy need not insure any liability under any workers' compensation law nor any liability on account of bodily injury to or death of an employee of the insured while engaged in the employment, other than domestic, of the insured, or while engaged in the operation, maintenance or repair of any such vehicle nor any liability for damage to property owned by, rented to, in charge of or transported by the insured.
(f) Every motor vehicle liability policy shall be subject to the following provisions which need not be contained therein:
(1) The liability of the insurance carrier with respect to the insurance required by this chapter shall become absolute whenever injury or damage covered by said motor vehicle liability policy occurs; said policy may not be canceled or annulled as to such liability by an agreement between the insurance carrier and the insured after the occurrence of the injury or damage; no statement made by the insured or on his behalf and no violation of said policy shall defeat or void said policy.
(2) The satisfaction by the insured of a judgment for such injury or damage shall not be a condition precedent to the right or duty of the insurance carrier to make payment on account of such injury or damage.
(3) The insurance carrier shall have the right to settle any claim covered by the policy, and if such settlement is made in good faith, the amount thereof shall be deductible from the limits of liability specified in subdivision (2), subsection (b) of this section.
(4) The policy, the written application therefor, if any, andany rider or endorsement which does not conflict with the provisions of this chapter shall constitute the entire contract between parties.
(g) Any policy which grants the coverage required for a motor vehicle liability policy may also grant any lawful coverage in excess of or in addition to the coverage specified for a motor vehicle liability policy and such excess or additional coverage shall not be subject to the provisions of this chapter. With respect to a policy which grants such excess or additional coverage, the term "motor vehicle liability policy" applies only to that part of the coverage which is required by this section.
(h) Any motor vehicle liability policy may provide that the insured shall reimburse the insurance carrier for any payment the insurance carrier would not have been obligated to make under the terms of the policy except for the provisions of this chapter.
(i) Any motor vehicle liability policy may provide for the prorating of the insurance thereunder with other valid and collectible insurance.
(j) The requirements for a motor vehicle liability policy may be fulfilled by the policies of one or more insurance carriers which policies together meet such requirements.
(k) Any binder issued pending the issuance of a motor vehicle policy shall be deemed to fulfill the requirements for such a policy.
Acts, 1990 Reg. Sess., Ch. 137.
(b) This chapter shall not be held to apply to or affect policies insuring solely the insured named in the policy against liability resulting from the maintenance or use by persons in the insured's employ or on his behalf of vehicles not owned by the insured.
Acts, 2006 Reg. Sess., Ch. 164.
Acts, 2006 Reg. Sess., Ch. 164.
Acts, 2006 Reg. Sess., Ch. 164.
Acts, 2006 Reg. Sess., Ch. 164.
Acts, 2006 Reg. Sess., Ch. 164.
Acts, 1990 Reg. Sess., Ch. ____.
Acts, 1994 Reg. Sess., Ch. 111.
(b) Any person who violates any provision of this chapter for which no penalty is otherwise provided is 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 person's driver's license for a period of ninety days and shall revoke the motor vehicle registration upon receipt of a conviction under subsection (a) of this section: Provided, That the motor vehicle registration may be reinstated upon current proof of the security required by this chapter.
(d) If the commissioner determines that any person has provided false or fraudulent insurance information on any application, form or document to the division or has provided a fraudulently altered or forged evidence or proof of insurance to the division, the division shall suspend the person's driver's license for ninety days and revoke the motor vehicle registration until genuine proof of insurance is provided to the division.
(e) The person shall be afforded due process in accordance with the provisions of section seven, article two-a of this chapter.
(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.
(d) Upon not less than five days' notice and a hearing pursuant to 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.
The existing motor vehicle safety responsibility law is hereby repealed except with respect to any accident, or judgment arising therefrom, or violation of the motor vehicle laws of this state, occurring prior to the effective date of this chapter.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.