CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission will send a letter to the West Virginia legislature opposing a bill that would eliminate a state Department of Transportation office from hearing cases regarding license suspensions from driving under the influence.

Senate Bill 212 would move all matters relating to revocations away from the Office of Administrative Hearings to the court system.

Additionally, an alternative to ignition interlock would be authorized. The ignition interlock requires drivers to blow into a device to analyze their blood alcohol content levels.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said he does not know why the legislature put forward the bill.

“I’ve seen some foolish things, but this must be the top five,” he said.

“The statistics show an amazing reduction in DUI fatalities since this system’s been in place,” Carper said.

Carper said ignition interlock systems, which are required to be installed and used for a two-year period, prevents drunk driving accidents from happening.

Since 2006, ignition interlocks have stopped more than 24,000 drunk drivers in West Virginia.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignition interlock has reduced driving while intoxicated rates by 70 percent nationwide.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving voiced their opposition during a Wednesday visit to the legislature.

Carper said county manager Jennifer Sayre, senior assistant prosecuting attorney Maryclaire Akers and law enforcement will visit the state Capitol Friday to voice their opposition to the bill.

A public hearing on SB 212 is scheduled for 8:30 Friday in the House of Delegates chamber.

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