West Virginia residents deserve to know how their state legislators take action to keep them safe. This includes knowing about new laws proposed or passed related to things like drunk driving.

According to a report by West Virginia Metro News, the representatives in both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives recently passed a bill that now awaits a signature by the Governor. This bill may signal a dangerous path ahead for all residents.

Current penalties for drunk driving

Currently, people charged with drunk driving offenses in West Virginia face potential penalties from both the criminal justice system and the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV may enact administrative penalties that include a suspension or a revocation of a person’s driver’s license due to a drunk driving charge.

The West Virginia Metro News explains that more people receive administrative penalties than criminal convictions after being arrested for driving under the influence. Roughly 94% of people serve some form of administrative penalty from the DMV while only an estimated four out of 10 drivers receive criminal convictions for their DUI offenses.

New bill eliminates administrative penalties

If signed by the Governor, Senate Bill 130 would eliminate the administrative penalties altogether, taking a major step backwards according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Forty other states currently utilize both administrative and criminal penalties to help crack down on drunk driving.

Drunk driving deaths in West Virginia

In the 10 years spanning 2009 through 2018, the state experienced a decline in drunk driving fatalities. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 112 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2009. In 2018, the state recorded 57 drunk driving fatalities.

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