Senate Bill No. 263
(Senators Beach and Klempa, original sponsors)
[Passed March 9, 2011; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §17A-6-10d, relating
to special plates for the testing of vehicles operated by
nonprofit corporations engaged in research and development of
motor vehicles, special fuels or equipment for motor vehicles;
requiring written records be kept; prohibiting bonding;
requiring vehicles to be insured; and exempting the vehicles
from safety inspections, but requiring the vehicles to be
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §17A-6-10d, to read as
ARTICLE 6. LICENSING OF DEALERS AND WRECKERS OR DISMANTLERS;
SPECIAL PLATES; TEMPORARY PLATES OR MARKERS.
§17A-6-10d. Special plates for nonprofit corporations engaged in research and development.
(a) Notwithstanding any of the other provisions of this
article, a nonprofit corporation engaged in research and
development using motor vehicles pursuant to article twelve,
chapter eighteen-b of this code and affiliated with institutions of
higher education may operate or move a vehicle, either owned or in
the possession of the nonprofit corporation upon the highways of
this state for purposes of transporting or testing that vehicle
without first registering or titling the vehicle and displaying, in
a manner prescribed by the commissioner, a special plate issued to
the nonprofit corporation as provided in this section.
(b) Any nonprofit corporation as prescribed in subsection (a)
of this section may make application to the commissioner upon a
form prescribed by him or her for a certificate containing a
general distinguishing number and for a special plate or plates.
The applicant shall verify that it is a Section 501(c)(3) of the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, nonprofit corporation
and submit sufficient information, as may be required by the
commissioner, that it is engaged in research and development of
vehicles, special fuels or equipment for motor vehicles.
(c) The commissioner, upon approving an application, may issue
without charge to the applicant, a certificate containing the
nonprofit corporation's name and address and its general
distinguishing number. The commissioner may also issue without
charge, a special plate or plates, as determined by the
commissioner as necessary, that must be displayed on the vehicle. Each plate shall also contain a number or symbol distinguishing it
from other plates bearing the same general distinguishing number.
(d) The nonprofit corporation that is issued a special plate
pursuant to this section must keep written records as required by
the commissioner concerning the operation of the vehicle. The
records shall be open to inspection by any law-enforcement officer
or division employee.
(e) This section does not apply to the use of any other
vehicles owned, leased or operated by the nonprofit corporation.
(f) A nonprofit corporation that has been issued a special
plate is not required to comply with the bond or dealer recovery
fund otherwise required under this article for that vehicle.
(g) A nonprofit corporation that has been issued a special
plate shall furnish information, satisfactory to the commissioner,
that the vehicle is covered by an appropriate insurance policy or
proof of financial responsibility in amounts not less than the
requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of
(h) Vehicles operated by a nonprofit corporation pursuant to
this section are exempt from the annual motor vehicle inspection
and the displaying of the certificate of inspection otherwise
required by article sixteen, chapter seventeen-c of this code.
However, a vehicle that has been issued a special plate pursuant to
this section must be safe and may not, in any manner, endanger the
driver, other vehicle occupants, other motorists, pedestrians or
the general public.