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Introduced Version Senate Bill 354 History

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SB354 intr
Senate Bill No. 354

(By Senators Kessler and Unger)

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[Introduced January 27, 2010; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

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A BILL to amend and reenact §17C-4-1, §17C-4-2, §17C-4-3, §17C-4-5, §17C-4-6, §17C-4-7, §17C-4-8, §17C-4-9, §17C-4-10, §17C-4-11, §17C-4-14, §17C-4-15 and §17C-4-16 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to reporting crashes to a law-enforcement agency; increasing property damage notification threshold; updating law-enforcement reporting requirements; and changing responsibility for receiving reports and preparation of reports to the Division of Highways.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §17C-4-1, §17C-4-2, §17C-4-3, §17C-4-5, §17C-4-6, §17C-4-7, §17C-4-8, §17C-4-9, §17C-4-10, §17C-4-11, §17C-4-14, §17C-4-15 and §17C-4-16 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 4. CRASHES.
§17C-4-1. Crashes involving death or personal injuries.

(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident crash or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to and shall remain at the scene of the accident crash until he or she has complied with the requirements of section three of this article: Provided, That the driver may leave the scene of the accident crash as may reasonably be necessary for the purpose of rendering assistance to an injured person as required by said section three. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
(b) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this section after being involved in an accident a crash resulting in the death of any person is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by confinement in a correctional facility for not more than three years or fined not more than $5,000, or both.
(c) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this section after being involved in an accident a crash resulting in physical injury to any person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by confinement in a county or regional jail for not more than one year, or fined not more than $1,000, or both.
(d) The commissioner shall revoke the driver's license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privilege of any person convicted pursuant to the provisions of this section for a period of one year.
§17C-4-2. Crashes involving damage to vehicle.

The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident
a crash resulting only in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident crash or as close thereto as possible but shall forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of such accident crash until he has fulfilled the requirements of section three of this article. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. Any person failing to stop or comply with said requirements under such circumstances is guilty of a misdemeanor and, subject to the penalties prescribed in section one, article eighteen of this chapter.
§17C-4-3. Duty to give information and render aid.
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall give his or her name, address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving and shall upon request and if available exhibit his or her driver's license to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with and shall render to any person injured in such accident crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making arrangements for the carrying of such person to a physician, surgeon or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.
§17C-4-5. Duty upon striking fixtures upon a highway.
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident a crash resulting only in damage to fixtures or other property legally upon or adjacent to a highway shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property of such fact and of his or her name and address and of the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving and shall upon request and if available exhibit his or her driver's license and shall make report of such accident crash when and as required in section seven of this article. Any person failing to make the notification required by this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $150.
§17C-4-6. Immediate reports of crashes.
The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of five hundred dollars $1,000 or more shall immediately by the quickest means of communication, whether oral or written, give notice of such accident crash to the local police department if such accident crash occurs within a municipality, otherwise to the office of the county sheriff or the nearest office of the West Virginia State Police.
§17C-4-7. Reports of crashes.
(a) Every law-enforcement officer who, in the regular course of duty, investigates a motor vehicle accident crash occurring on the public streets or 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 $1,000 or more shall, either at the time of and at the scene of the accident crash or thereafter by interviewing participants or witnesses, within twenty-four hours after completing such investigation, forward a written prepare 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. Every accident report required under the provisions of this section shall be made on such form crash either electronically or in writing.
(b) The investigating law-enforcement officer shall submit the report electronically or in writing to the Division of Highways in the form and manner approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police and the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. The Division of Highways shall supply electronic submission capability or paper copies of such form to police departments, sheriffs and other appropriate law enforcement agencies.
(c) In the event that the investigating law-enforcement officer can not complete the investigation within twenty-four hours, he or she shall submit a preliminary report of the crash to the Division of Highways within ten days and submit the final report within twenty-four hours of completion of the investigation.
§17C-4-8. When driver unable to report.
Whenever the driver of a vehicle is physically incapable of making an immediate report of an accident notification of a crash as required in section six of this article and there was another occupant in the vehicle at the time of the accident crash capable of making a report notification, such occupant shall make or cause to be made said report notification not made by the driver.
§17C-4-9. Crash report forms.
(a) The Division of Highways shall prepare and upon request supply to the State Police or municipal police departments, coroners, sheriffs, Division of Natural Resources, and other suitable agencies or individuals, electronic submission capabilities or paper forms for accident crash reports required hereunder. appropriate with respect to the persons required to make such reports and the purposes to be served
(b) The written format of the crash reports to be made by investigating officers shall call for shall provide sufficiently detailed information to disclose with reference to a traffic accident the cause, conditions then existing, and the persons and vehicles involved.
(b) (c) Every accident crash report required to be made in writing shall be made on in the appropriate form approved provided by the Division of Highways and shall contain all of the information required therein unless not available.
(c) (d) Every such report shall also contain information sufficient to enable the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to determine whether the requirements for security upon motor vehicles is in effect in accordance with chapter seventeen-d of this code.
§17C-4-10. Penalty for failure to report.
The commissioner may suspend the driver's license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privileges of any person failing to report an accident crash as herein provided under section six of this article. until such report has been filed Any person convicted of failing to make a report notification as required herein shall be punished as provided in section one, article eighteen of this chapter.
§17C-4-11. Coroners to report on crash victims.

Every coroner or other official performing like functions shall on or before the tenth day of each month report in writing to the department Division of Highways the death of any person within his or her jurisdiction during the preceding calendar month as the result of a traffic accident crash giving the time and place of the accident crash and the circumstances relating thereto.

§17C-4-14. Division to tabulate and analyze crash reports.
The
department Division of Highways shall tabulate and may analyze all accident crash reports and shall publish annually, or at more frequent intervals, statistical information based thereon as to the number and circumstances of traffic accident crash.
§17C-4-15. Any incorporated city, town, etc., may require crash reports.

Any incorporated city, town, village or other municipality may by ordinance require that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident crash shall file with a designated city department a report of such accident crash. All such reports shall be for the confidential use of the city department.
§17C-4-16. Crashes involving state and municipal property; reports to be provided.
Whenever a report of a motor vehicle accident crash prepared by a member of the West Virginia State Police, conservation officer of the Division of Natural Resources, a member of a county sheriff's department or a municipal police officer, in the regular course of their duties, indicates that as a result of such accident crash damage has occurred to any bridge, sign, guardrail or other property, exclusive of licensed motor vehicles, a copy of such report shall, in the case of such property belonging to the Division of Highways, be provided to the Commissioner of the Division of Highways, and, in the case of such property belonging to a municipality, be provided to the mayor of that municipality. The copies of such reports shall be provided to the commissioner or mayor, as applicable, without cost to them.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to update the terms and procedures for the notification after traffic crashes and completion of the required reports by investigating law-enforcement officers. Crash reports are now sent to the Division of Highways, not the division of Motor Vehicles. The word "accident" is replaced by the word "crash." Research in highway safety now reflects that "crash" is the term of art to describe motor vehicle collisions and is used in most states and encompasses a wider range of potential causes for vehicular crashes than does the term accident.

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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