West Virginia has one of the most comprehensive DUI laws in the U.S., especially when you weigh in the state’s ignition interlock program. That program gives anyone who faces a West Virginia DUI license suspension the chance to keep driving, as long as they have an ignition interlock installed. However, in a new quest for a smaller government role in the lives of citizens, a new bill has been introduced that could shake the safety of the West Virginia DUI program.
Administrative changes could affect the West Virginia DUI license suspensions and ignition interlock compliance.
WV Senate Bill 212 will eliminate the West Virginia Office of Administrative Hearings, a move that MADD says will reduce the effectiveness of the state’s current system. Without that office, access to ignition interlock devices after a West Virginia DUI won’t occur until a court hearing, which can take much longer. During that time, MADD says more accused and/or previously convicted drunk drivers will be driving, even with a license suspension. Without an ignition interlock device, those offenders could very well be driving illegally on a suspended license, while intoxicated.
In 2016, 2,730 DUI attempts (at or above .08 percent BAC) were stopped by ignition interlock devices. That doesn’t even begin to point how many attempts were stopped at the limit for ignition interlock users (usually around .02 percent).
Bear in mind that the West Virginia DUI laws and courts are strict, but the waiting game becomes a big factor for an offender. Too often they drive while suspended to maintain employment or fulfill other obligations. By keeping the Office of Administrative Hearings open, there’s an immediate solution for everyone after a West Virginia DUI that quickly leads to an ignition interlock installation and safer roads for us all.
Take action, call and voice your OPPOSITION to WV Senate Bill 212.