H. B. 4225
(By Delegates M. Poling, Perry and Marcum)
(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)
[February 21, 2014]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §17B-2-14a, relating to establishing an emergency contact database; allowing holders of a drivers license to designate up to three emergency contact persons; requiring the Division of Motor Vehicles to collect the contact information of the emergency contact persons from the licensee; defining terms; providing rule-making authority; requiring law enforcement to check the emergency contact database when a person in a motor vehicle accident is unable to communicate an emergency contact person; and providing a limitation on liability for inability of law enforcement to contact the emergency contact in certain situations.
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 §17B-2-14a, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. ISSUANCE OF LICENSE, EXPIRATION AND RENEWAL.
§17B-2-14a. Emergency Contact Database.
(a) On or before July 1, 2015, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall establish an emergency contact database containing the name, address and telephone number of up to three persons designated as emergency contact persons by the holder of a license issued pursuant to section one of this article. Designation of emergency contact persons for inclusion in the emergency contact database is voluntary for applicants for licenses.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Emergency contact person” means a person, eighteen years of age or older, whom the holder of any valid West Virginia drivers license has designated to be contacted by law enforcement personnel when the licensee is rendered unable to communicate due to injuries or incapacitation of the licensee as the result of a motor vehicle accident.
(2) “Law enforcement personnel” means a law enforcement officer or an employee of a law enforcement agency that is assisting a law enforcement officer in responding to or investigating a motor vehicle accident.
(c) The Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles may propose legislative rules for promulgation in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code relating to the establishment of the emergency contact database, including the collection of information to be included in the emergency contact database from the licensee and the method by which a person may make changes to their emergency contact persons or information.
(d) The emergency contact database will be for the exclusive use of law enforcement personnel and employees of the Division of Motor Vehicles who are designated by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, for purposes of discharging any duties required by this section.
(1) When a motor vehicle accident results in the incapacitation of, or injury that renders, a driver or any passenger unable to communicate their emergency contact, law enforcement personnel shall attempt to locate an emergency contact person by accessing the emergency contact database. When practical, the law enforcement personnel shall expeditiously notify the emergency contact person of incapacitated or injured persons involved in the accident.
(2) No law enforcement personnel, agency that employs the law enforcement personnel or the Division of Motor Vehicles shall be liable for civil damages, or subject to criminal prosecution resulting from or caused by:
(A) Any disruption or failure of connection to the emergency contact database caused by any accident, malfunction, act of God or any other circumstance that the Division of Motor Vehicles or law enforcement agency has not directly or indirectly caused that results in the law enforcement personnel’s inability to access the emergency contact database;
(B) Any misuse of, or the failure or omission to provide accurate and current emergency contact information by any licensee; or
(C) The inability of a law enforcement personnel to make contact with any designated emergency contact person.