Senate Bill No. 518
(By Senator Unger)
[Introduced March 11, 2005; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §17C-5B-1 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended, relating to requiring a breath or blood
analysis for the purpose of determining the blood alcohol
content of a surviving driver.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §17C-5B-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5B. POSTMORTEM TESTS FOR ALCOHOL IN PERSONS KILLED IN
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS.
§17C-5B-1. Blood test for alcohol in drivers and adult
pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents;
time limit for conducting test; who may conduct
test; express consent to withdraw blood from dead
body granted; granting civil and criminal immunity to person conducting test; fee for test.
When any motor vehicle driver or adult pedestrian dies in a
motor vehicle accident in this State or dies within four hours
after having been involved in a motor vehicle accident in this
State, the physician in attendance, or law-enforcement officer
having knowledge of such death, or the funeral director, or any
other person present when such death occurred, shall immediately
report such death to the medical examiner of the county in which
such death occurred. Upon receipt of such notice, the medical
examiner shall take charge of the dead body and shall conduct, or
shall cause to be conducted, within twelve hours after receiving
such notice and before the dead body is embalmed, a blood test to
determine the presence and percentage concentration of alcohol in
the blood of such dead body.
The blood test conducted on a dead body as required
section shall be conducted only by a person qualified to conduct an
autopsy under article twelve, chapter sixty-one of this code or by
a doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, registered nurse,
trained medical technician at the place of his or her
county coroner who is deemed qualified by the office of medical
examinations to conduct such blood test.
Any person who is to conduct a blood test under the provisions
of this section is hereby expressly authorized to withdraw blood
from the dead body in the quantity necessary to conduct such blood test. Any person withdrawing blood from the dead body and testing
such blood and any hospital or clinic in which such blood is
withdrawn and tested under the provisions of this section shall be
immune from all civil and criminal liability which might otherwise
Any person conducting a blood test under the provisions of
this section shall receive a standardized fee in the amount
determined by the office of medical examinations, which fee shall
be paid from funds appropriated to the office of medical
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to
preclude the taking of a blood test by any other person having the
right to take any such test or cause such test to be taken while
the medical examiner has charge of the body.
In addition to the other provisions of this section, a
law-enforcement officer investigating an automobile accident
involving the death or serious bodily injury of any person shall
immediately require any surviving driver to submit to a breath or
blood analysis for the purpose of determining the person's blood
alcohol content. The analysis must be administered as soon as
possible after the law-enforcement officer has a reasonable belief
that the person had been driving when his or her automobile was
involved in an accident causing death.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require a breath or
blood analysis for the purpose of determining the blood alcohol
content of a surviving driver.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would