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Introduced Version - Originating in Committee Senate Bill 545 History

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WEST virginia legislature

2018 regular session

Originating

Senate Bill 545

By Senators Boso, Swope, Gaunch, Jeffries, Plymale, and Beach

[Originating in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Reported on February 14, 2018]

A BILL to amend and reenact §17B-2-3a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to driving privileges and requirements for persons under the age of 18; prohibiting use of wireless communication device while operating motor vehicle and specifying exception; and making violation of level-three license terms and conditions subject to penalty provision.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:


ARTICLE 2. ISSUANCE OF LICENSE, EXPIRATION, AND RENEWAL.

§17B-2-3a.  Graduated driver’s license.


(a) Any person under the age of 18 may not operate a motor vehicle unless he or she has obtained a graduated driver’s license in accordance with the three-level graduated driver’s license system described in the following provisions.

(b) Any person under the age of 21, regardless of class or level of licensure, who operates a motor vehicle with any measurable alcohol in his or her system is subject to the provisions of §17C-5-2 and §17C-5A-2 of this code. Any person under the age of 18, regardless of class or licensure level, is subject to the mandatory school attendance and satisfactory academic progress provisions of §18-8-11 of this code.

(c) Level one instruction permit. — An applicant who is 15 years or older meeting all other requirements prescribed in this code may be issued a level one instruction permit.

(1) Eligibility. — The division shall not issue a level one instruction permit unless the applicant:

(A) Presents a completed application, as prescribed by the provisions of §17B-2-6 of this code, and which is accompanied by a writing, duly acknowledged, consenting to the issuance of the graduated driver’s license, and executed by a parent or guardian entitled to custody of the applicant;

(B) Presents a certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state or other governmental entity responsible for vital records unexpired, or a valid passport issued by the United States government evidencing that the applicant meets the minimum age requirement and is of verifiable identity;

(C) Passes the vision and written knowledge examination and completes the driving under the influence awareness program, as prescribed in §17B-2-7 of this code;

(D) Presents a driver’s eligibility certificate or otherwise shows compliance with the provisions of §18-8-11 of this code; and

(E) Pays a fee of $7.50, which shall permit the applicant one attempt at the written knowledge test.  The Division of Motor Vehicles may adjust this fee every five years on September 1, based on the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics most current Consumer Price Index: Provided, That an increase in such fee may not exceed 10 percent of the total fee amount in a single year.

(2) Terms and conditions of instruction permit. — A level one instruction permit issued under the provisions of this section is valid until 30 days after the date the applicant attains the age of 18 and is not renewable. However, any permit holder who allows his or her permit to expire prior to successfully passing the road skills portion of the driver examination, and who has not committed any offense which requires the suspension, revocation, or cancellation of the instruction permit, may reapply for a new instruction permit under the provisions of §17B-2-6 of this code. The division shall immediately revoke the permit upon receipt of a second conviction for a moving violation of traffic regulations and laws of the road or violation of the terms and conditions of a level one instruction permit, which convictions have become final unless a greater penalty is required by this section or any other provision of this code. Any person whose instruction permit has been revoked is disqualified from retesting for a period of 90 days. However, after the expiration of 90 days, the person may retest if otherwise eligible. In addition to all other provisions of this code for which a driver’s license may be restricted, suspended, revoked, or canceled, the holder of a level one instruction permit may only operate a motor vehicle under the following conditions:

(A) Under the direct supervision of a licensed driver, 21 years of age or older, or a driver’s education or driving school instructor who is acting in an official capacity as an instructor, who is fully alert and unimpaired, and the only other occupant of the front seat. The vehicle may be operated with no more than two additional passengers, unless the passengers are family members;

(B) Between the hours of 5:00 a. m. and 10:00 p. m.;

(C) All occupants must use safety belts in accordance with the provisions of §17C-15-49 of this code;

(D) Without any measurable blood alcohol content, in accordance with the provisions of §17C-5-2(h) of this code; and

(E) Maintains current school enrollment and is making satisfactory academic progress or otherwise shows compliance with the provisions of §18-8-11 of this code.

(F) A holder of a level one instruction permit who is under the age of 18 years shall be is prohibited from using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, unless the use of the wireless communication device is for contacting a 9-1-1 system. A person violating the provisions of this paragraph is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall for the first offense be fined $25; for a second offense be fined $50; and for a third or subsequent offense be fined $75.

(d) Level two intermediate driver’s license. — An applicant 16 years of age or older, meeting all other requirements of the code, may be issued a level two intermediate driver’s license.

(1) Eligibility. — The division shall not issue a level two intermediate driver’s license unless the applicant:

(A) Presents a completed application as prescribed in §17B-2-6 of this code;

(B) Has held the level one instruction permit conviction-free for the 180 days immediately preceding the date of application for a level two intermediate license;

(C) Has completed either a driver’s education course approved by the state Department of Education or 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience, including a minimum of 10 hours of night time driving, certified by a parent or legal guardian or other responsible adult over the age of 21 as indicated on the form prescribed by the division: Provided, That nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to require any school or any county board of education to provide any particular number of driver’s education courses or to provide driver’s education training to any student;

(D) Presents a driver’s eligibility certificate or otherwise shows compliance with the provisions of §18-8-11 of this code;

(E) Passes the road skills examination as prescribed by §17B-2-7 of this code; and

(F) Pays a fee of $7.50 for one attempt. The Division of Motor Vehicles may adjust this fee every five years on September 1, based on the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics most current Consumer Price Index: Provided, That an increase in such fee may not exceed 10 percent of the total fee amount in a single year.

 (2) Terms and conditions of a level two intermediate driver’s license. — A level two intermediate driver’s license issued under the provisions of this section shall expire 30 days after the applicant attains the age of 18, or until the licensee qualifies for a level three full Class E license, whichever comes first. In addition to all other provisions of this code for which a driver’s license may be restricted, suspended, revoked, or canceled, the holder of a level two intermediate driver’s license may only operate a motor vehicle under the following conditions:

(A) Unsupervised between the hours of 5:00 a. m. and 10:00 p. m.;

(B) Only under the direct supervision of a licensed driver, age 21 years or older, between the hours of 10:00 p. m. and 5:00 a. m. except when the licensee is going to or returning from:

(i) Lawful employment;

(ii) A school-sanctioned activity;

(iii) A religious event; or

(iv) An emergency situation that requires the licensee to operate a motor vehicle to prevent bodily injury or death of another;

(C) All occupants shall use safety belts in accordance with the provisions of §17C-15-49 of this code;

(D) For the first six months after issuance of a level two intermediate driver’s license, the licensee may not operate a motor vehicle carrying any passengers less than 20 years old, unless these passengers are family members of the licensee; for the second six months after issuance of a level two intermediate driver’s license, the licensee may not operate a motor vehicle carrying more than one passenger less than 20 years old, unless these passengers are family members of the licensee;

(E) Without any measurable blood alcohol content in accordance with the provisions of §17C-5-2(h) of this code;

(F) Maintains current school enrollment and is making satisfactory academic progress or otherwise shows compliance with the provisions of §18-8-11 of this code;

(G) A holder of a level two intermediate driver’s license who is under the age of 18 years shall be is prohibited from using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, unless the use of the wireless communication device is for contacting a 9-1-1 system; A person violating the provisions of this paragraph is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall for the first offense be fined $25; for a second offense be fined $50; and for a third or subsequent offense be fined $75.

(H) Upon the first conviction for a moving traffic violation or a violation of paragraph (A), (B), (C), (D) or (G), subdivision (1), subsection (d) of this section §17B-2-3a(d)(2)(A), §17B-2-3a(d)(2)(B), §17B-2-3a(d)(2)(C), §17B-2-3a(d)(2)(D), or §17B-2-3a(d)(2)(G) of this code of the terms and conditions of a level two intermediate driver’s license, the licensee shall enroll in an approved driver improvement program unless a greater penalty is required by this section or by any other provision of this code; and

At the discretion of the commissioner, completion of an approved driver improvement program may be used to negate the effect of a minor traffic violation as defined by the commissioner against the one year conviction-free driving criteria for early eligibility for a level three driver’s license and may also negate the effect of one minor traffic violation for purposes of avoiding a second conviction under §17B-2-3a(d)(2)(I) of this code; and

(I) Upon the second conviction for a moving traffic violation or a violation of the terms and conditions of the level two intermediate driver’s license, the licensee’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked or suspended for the applicable statutory period or until the licensee’s eighteenth birthday, whichever is longer unless a greater penalty is required by this section or any other provision of this code. Any person whose driver’s license has been revoked as a level two intermediate driver, upon reaching the age of 18 years and if otherwise eligible may reapply for an instruction permit, then a driver’s license in accordance with the provisions of §17B-2-5, §17B-2-6, and §17B-2-7 of this code.

(e) Level three, full Class E license. — The level three license is valid until 30 days after the date the licensee attains his or her twenty-first birthday. A holder of a level three driver’s license who is under the age of 18 years is prohibited from using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, unless the use of the wireless communication device is for contacting a 9-1-1 system. Unless otherwise provided in this section or any other section of this code, the holder of a level three full Class E license is subject to the same terms and conditions as the holder of a regular Class E driver’s license.

A level two intermediate licensee whose privilege to operate a motor vehicle has not been suspended, revoked, or otherwise canceled and who meets all other requirements of the code may be issued a level three full Class E license without further examination or road skills testing if the licensee:

(1) Has reached the age of 17 years; and

(A) Presents a completed application as prescribed by the provisions of §17B-2-6 of this code;

(B) Has held the level two intermediate license conviction free for the 12-month period immediately preceding the date of the application;

(C) Has completed any driver improvement program required under paragraph (G), subdivision (2), subsection (d) of this section §17B-2-3a(d)(2)(H) of this code; and

(D) Pays a fee of $2.50 for each year the license is valid. An additional fee of 50 cents shall be collected to be deposited in the Combined Voter Registration and Driver’s Licensing Fund established in §3-2-12 of this code;

(E) Presents a driver’s eligibility certificate or otherwise shows compliance with the provisions of §18-8-11 of this code; or

(2) Reaches the age of 18 years; and

(A) Presents a completed application as prescribed by the provisions of §17B-2-6 of this code; and

(B) Pays a fee of $5 for each year the license is valid. The Division of Motor Vehicles may adjust this fee every five years on September 1, based on the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics most current Consumer Price Index: Provided, That an increase in such fee may not exceed 10 percent of the total fee amount in a single year. An additional fee of 50 cents shall be collected to be deposited in the Combined Voter Registration and Driver’s Licensing Fund established in §3-2-12 of this code.

(f) A person violating the provisions of the terms and conditions of a level one instruction permit, or level two intermediate driver’s license, or level three license is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall for the first offense be fined $25; for a second offense be fined $50; and for a third or subsequent offense be fined $75.

 

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18 except for certain emergency situations and to make stylistic changes and corrections.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

_______________

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

 

On page six, section three-a, line one hundred thirty-seven, after the word “device” by inserting the words “for the purpose of communicating with another”.

 

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