The department of the government of this state, known as the department of motor vehicles, heretofore created, shall be continued.
The department of motor vehicles shall be directed by an executive officer to be designated as the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, who shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate for a term of four years. The first appointment made hereunder shall be for a four-year term to commence on July 1, 1951. The commissioner shall devote his entire time to the duties of his office.
The commissioner at the time of his appointment and qualification shall be a citizen of the United States and a resident of the State of West Virginia, shall have been a qualified voter in the state for a period of at least one year next preceding his appointment, and shall be not less than thirty years of age. No commissioner during his period of service as such shall hold any other office under the laws of this state or of the United States.
All vacancies in the office of the commissioner that occur while the Legislature is not in session shall be filled by appointment by the Governor, which appointment shall expire at the end of thirty days after the date of which the Legislature next convenes. Prior to the expiration of the thirty days the Governor shall transmit to the Senate for its approval an appointment for the unexpired portion of the regular term. Vacancies occurring during a session of the Legislature shall be filled as regular appointments before the end of the session and for the unexpired portion of the regular term.
The commissioner before entering upon the duties of his office shall take and subscribe to the oath prescribed by the Constitution. He shall also execute a bond in the penalty of $25,000, conditioned according to law, and approved by the Governor. The cost of such bond shall be borne by the department as a part of the operating cost of the department. The bond and the oath shall be filed with the Secretary of State.
The commissioner shall receive a salary of $7,000F and the necessary traveling expenses incident to the performance of his duties. Requisition for traveling expenses shall be accompanied by a sworn and itemized statement which shall be filed with the Auditor and permanently preserved as a public record.
The commissioner shall organize the department in such manner as he may deem necessary to properly segregate and conduct the work of the department. The commissioner shall employ such assistants and employees as may be necessary for the efficient operation of his department, who shall possess all of the qualifications which may from time to time be prescribed for such positions by the commissioner. The duties and salaries of such assistants and employees shall be fixed by the commissioner, who shall have authority to remove any such assistant or employee at his will and pleasure. The total compensation paid to assistants and employees shall not exceed in any one year the appropriation made by the Legislature for that purpose.
The commissioner shall require every employee who collects fees or handles funds or who has custody of equipment and supplies belonging to the state to take the Constitutional oath and give an official bond, with corporate surety, properly conditioned and in a sum to be fixed by the commissioner, which bond shall be approved by him and filed in the office of the Secretary of State. The cost of such bond shall be borne by the department as a part of the operating cost of the department.
The commissioner shall maintain an office in one of the State Capitol buildings and in such other places in the state as he may deem necessary properly to carry out the powers and duties vested in the department. The commissioner shall keep his offices open at all reasonable times for the transaction of public business.
(a) The commissioner shall observe, administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter and all laws the enforcement of which is now or hereafter vested in the department: Provided, That nothing in this chapter shall deprive the Public Service Commission of West Virginia of any of the duties or powers now vested in it with regard to the regulation of motor vehicle carriers.
(b) The commissioner may adopt and enforce any rules that are necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter and any other laws the enforcement and administration of which are vested in the department.
(c) The commissioner may adopt an official seal for the use of the department.
(d) The commissioner shall, in instances where division personnel become aware of a possible or suspected violation of law where enforcement jurisdiction would be that of the West Virginia state police, communicate the violation to the State Police.
The motor vehicle commissioner in cooperation with the State Auditor, state road commissioner, the Public Service Commission and the Superintendent of State Police as appropriate may enter into reciprocal agreements as he may deem proper or expedient with the proper authorities of other states, jurisdictions or nations, regulating the licensing of drivers and the use, on the roads and highways of this state, of trucks, automobiles and any other vehicles owned and duly licensed in other states, jurisdictions or nations. The commissioner may enter into reciprocal agreements under which the registration of vehicles owned in this state, and the licenses of drivers residing in this state shall be recognized by other states, jurisdictions or other nations.
(a) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles is hereby authorized and empowered to enter into reciprocal agreements on behalf of this state with any jurisdiction which permits or requires the licensing of motor vehicles in interstate or combined interstate and intrastate commerce and the payment of taxes, registration, licensing or other fees fixed by the motor vehicle commissioner, pursuant to the execution of this article on an apportionment basis commensurate with and determined by the miles traveled on public roads and highways in that jurisdiction, as compared with the miles traveled on public roads and highways in other jurisdictions or on any other equitable basis of apportionment, and if that jurisdiction exempts motor vehicles registered in other jurisdictions under that apportionment basis from the requirements of full payment of its own registration, license or other fixed fees, the commissioner, by agreement may adopt the exemption as to those motor vehicles, whether owned by residents or nonresidents of this state and regardless of where the vehicles are registered.
(b) The agreements under any terms, conditions or restrictions as the commissioner considers proper may provide that owners of motor vehicles operated in interstate or combined interstate and intrastate commerce in this state shall be permitted to pay registration, license or other fees fixed on an apportionment basis, commensurate with and determined by the miles traveled on public roads and highways in this state as compared with the miles traveled on public roads and highways in other jurisdictions or any other equitable basis of apportionment. The agreements shall not authorize or be construed as authorizing any motor vehicle so registered to be operated without complying with the provisions of chapter eleven and chapter twenty-four-a of this code.
(c) Pursuant to the provisions of this section, the commissioner is expressly authorized and empowered to enter into and become a member of the international registration plan or other designation that may from time to time be given to the reciprocal plan.
(d) The commissioner shall prescribe the substance, form, color and context of any registration plate or marker issued under the provisions of this section, each of which shall be visually distinguishable from other registration plates or markers produced by the Division of Motor Vehicles.
(e) The commissioner is authorized to promulgate procedural rules as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of any agreements entered into pursuant to this section.
(f) The commissioner is authorized to collect and receive funds under this article pursuant to the authority vested in him or her under article six-g of chapter eleven of this code.
(g) The commissioner is hereby authorized and required to share with the interstate commerce disclosure division of the office of the State Auditor any and all information acquired by the Division of Motor Vehicles pursuant to the implementation of this article. The division shall provide to the interstate commerce disclosure division, and the Department of Tax and Revenue the name of the location and amount paid by West Virginia owners or operators of interstate motor vehicles registered under the proportional registration agreement.
(h) For any other irregular, intermittent or temporary interstate commerce activity, the Division of Motor Vehicles is hereby empowered to promulgate rules for the administration and oversight thereof.
(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of the code to the contrary, the requirements of the proportional assessment plan as contained in article six-g, chapter eleven of this code, and the provisions of this chapter, shall prevail in the event of any conflict with any other portion of the code.
All powers and duties vested in the commissioner, except the power to sign contracts and make rules and regulations, may be exercised by the appointees or employees of the commissioner, under his direction; but the commissioner shall be responsible for their acts.
The commissioner shall prescribe and provide suitable forms of applications, certificates of title, registration cards, operators' and chauffeurs' licenses, and all other forms requisite or deemed necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter and any other laws, the enforcement and administration of which are vested in the department.
(a) Officers and employees of the division designated by the commissioner are, for the purpose of administering the motor vehicle laws, authorized to administer oaths and acknowledge signatures, and shall do so without fee.
(b) The commissioner and such officers of the division as he or she may designate are hereby authorized to prepare under the seal of the division and deliver upon request in conformance with article two-a of this chapter a certified copy of any record of the division, charging a fee of $1.50 for each document so authenticated, and every such certified copy is admissible in any proceeding in any court in like manner as the original thereof. 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 ten percent of the total fee amount in a single year.
(c) Subject to the provisions of article two-a of this chapter, the commissioner and such officers of the division as he or she may designate may furnish the requested information to any person making a written request for information regarding the registration of any vehicle at a fee of $1.50 for each registration about which information is furnished. 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 ten percent of the total fee amount in a single year.
(d) The provisions of this section enacted in 2017 take effect on July 1, 2017.
The commissioner may destroy any records of the division which have been maintained on file for three years which he or she deems obsolete and of no further service in carrying out the powers and duties of the division: Provided, That where it is shown that both parties to an accident have filed valid evidence of insurance, the records relating thereto may be destroyed after a period of six months.
The department shall examine and determine the genuineness, regularity, and legality of every application for registration of a vehicle, for a certificate of title therefor, and for an operator's or chauffeur's license and of any other application lawfully made to the department, and may in all cases make such investigation as may be deemed necessary or require additional information, and shall reject any such application if not satisfied of the genuineness, regularity, or legality thereof or the truth of any statement contained therein, or for any other reason, when authorized by law.
The department is hereby authorized to take possession of any certificate of title, registration card, permit, license, or registration plate issued by it upon expiration, revocation, cancellation, or suspension thereof, or which is fictitious, or which has been unlawfully or erroneously issued.
When the department determines that the required fee for the issuance by the department of any registration card, permit, license or registration plate, or the required tax imposed by section four of article three of this chapter, has not been paid and shall not be paid upon reasonable notice and demand, the commissioner is authorized and empowered to cancel or suspend or revoke, as he shall deem appropriate, any and all registration cards, permits, operator's and chauffeur's licenses, and registration plate or plates, issued to the person, firm or corporation by whom or on whose account any such fee or tax shall have been so determined to remain unpaid after such reasonable notice and demand.
The department shall prepare in pamphlet form a synopsis or summary of the laws of this state regulating the operation of vehicles and shall deliver a copy thereof without charge with each original vehicle registration and with each original operator's or chauffeur's license, and to any other citizen of the state upon application.
(a) The commissioner and officers of the department designated by him shall have authority to summon witnesses to give testimony under oath or to give written deposition upon any matter under the jurisdiction of the department. Such summons may require the production of relevant books, papers, or records.
(b) Every such summons shall be served at least five days before the return date, either by personal service made by any person over eighteen years of age or by registered mail, but return acknowledgment is required to prove such latter service. Failure to obey such a summons so served shall constitute a misdemeanor. The fees for the attendance and travel of witnesses shall be the same as for witnesses before the circuit court.
(c) Any circuit court shall have jurisdiction, upon application by the commissioner, to enforce all lawful orders of the commissioner under this section.
Whenever the department is authorized or required to give any notice under this chapter or other law regulating the operation of vehicles, unless a different method of giving such notice is otherwise expressly prescribed, such notice shall be given either by personal delivery thereof to the person to be so notified or by deposit in the United States mail of such notice in an envelope with postage prepaid, addressed to such person at his address as shown by the records of the department. The giving of notice by mail is complete upon the expiration of four days after such deposit of said notice. Proof of the giving of notice in either such manner may be made by the certificate of any officer or employee of the department or affidavit of any person over eighteen years of age, naming the person to whom such notice was given and specifying the time, place, and manner of the giving thereof.
It shall be the duty of the Attorney General of this state and of his assistants and of the prosecuting attorneys of the several counties, to render to the commissioner, without additional compensation, such legal services as he shall require of them in the discharge of his duties under the provisions of this chapter.
Effective July 1, 2007, there is hereby created a special revenue account within the state Treasury to be known as the Motor Vehicle Fees Fund which shall consist of moneys paid into the account in accordance with other provisions of this code and any additional sums appropriated by the Legislature. All other taxes and fees imposed and collected under the provisions of this chapter shall be paid to the state Treasurer in the manner provided by law and credited to the state Road Fund.
The expense of the administration of the motor vehicle department shall be appropriated for that purpose from the state road funds.
If a check tendered to the Division of Motor Vehicles is returned to the division unpaid for any reason, there shall be a penalty of $10 to be paid to the division in addition to the amount due the division. This penalty applies to checks tendered for any fee or tax authorized to be collected by the division and is in addition to any other penalties imposed in this code: Provided, That in the event a specific penalty is set forth for the nonpayment or late payment of fees and taxes, the penalty set forth in this section applies only to the extent that the penalty exceeds any specific penalty for nonpayment or late payment.
Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.
The Division is hereby authorized, directed and empowered to enter into all necessary agreements with the West Virginia Parkways Authority to collect road user fees imposed by the authority under subdivision (16), subsection (a), section six, article sixteen-a, chapter seventeen of this code, or any other applicable section of its enabling legislation, and to deposit the fees collected by the Division into the West Virginia Parkways Authority Single Fee Program Fund established under section eleven-a, article sixteen-a, chapter seventeen of this code.