West Virginia seat-belt, DUI bill may get second look

| 4/7/2003

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise might ask state lawmakers to take another look at legislation to stiffen the state's drunken driving standard and permit police to pull over drivers for not wearing a seat belt, Beckley's Register-Herald reported.

A House bill calling to reduce state's blood alcohol standards for driving under the influence from 0.10 percent to 0.08 failed passage before the Legislature's regular session ended March 8. Wise wants lawmakers to reconsider the bill in a yet to be scheduled special session.

HB2203 withered in the Senate amid complaints it was overburdened with a primary offense seat-belt law and a ban on children riding in the backs of pickup trucks.

The blood alcohol section would bring West Virginia in line with federal requirements and keep the state from losing $4 million in federal highway funds, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported recently.

A 2000 federal law requires each state's legislature to adopt the 0.08 limit by 2004 or lose 2 percent of its highway money.