The Intelligencer. April 11, 2023.
Editorial: Drive Slow, Safe in Construction Zones
West Virginia’s highways and byways are littered with stretches of orange barrels these days, and though that can be frustrating, we are glad to see such work being done. But it is not just orange barrels at those construction sites. The speed limit is reduced because there are people on the job, too.
Still, too many disregard the posted speed limit in those construction work zones, putting lives at risk.
Recently, police officers set up targeted enforcement of the speed limit in a state Department of Highways work zone on Interstate 64, near Huntington. The posted limit there was 55 mph.
On just the first day of that targeted enforcement, officers stopped more than 120 drivers who were disobeying traffic laws.
According to the West Virginia Department of Transportation, one driver was clocked at 81 mph.
“Work zone safety is about keeping every worker, every driver, and every passenger safe in every work zone,” said WVDOT spokesperson Randy Damron. “We each play a role in getting everyone home safe.”
Surely responsible drivers understand that. But last year alone there were 800 crashes in West Virginia work zones, resulting in eight deaths.
Remaining alert in construction zones includes being aware of and sticking to the speed limit. It is not there to inconvenience drivers. It is in place to keep workers and drivers safer in those zones.
Leave early enough that work zones aren’t a problem, don’t drive distracted, and stay focused on making sure everyone makes it home safely.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel. April 8, 2023.
Editorial: Monsters: Protect children, not their abusers
Incident after incident is teaching our state’s young people there are some in positions of authority of whom they must be wary. That is frightening, given how often we adults try to drill into their heads they should trust us and do what we say.
There are reports of elementary school teachers arrested on charges of sexual abuse, accused of engaging “in inappropriate behavior and physical contact with a juvenile acquaintance under the age of 14 years old.” (Police do say the incident that led to that arrest “did not involve the scope of his employment.”)
There are reports on investigations by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office detailing sex abuse allegations against more than 150 Catholic priests and others associated with the church. But similar allegations have been made against other denominations over the decades as well.
And now we are told Wheeling Attorney Teresa Toriseva plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of three females ranging in age from 14 to 17 who may have been filmed at the West Virginia State Police Academy as part of the Junior Trooper Program. According to a report by The Intelligencer in Wheeling, Toriseva’s office notified West Virginia State Police Interim Superintendent Col. Jack Chambers and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey the lawsuit is coming.
“Our clients know they and other fellow female Junior Trooper program attendees accessed and used the female locker room at the West Virginia State Police Academy during the relevant time the anonymous letter indicates the camera or cameras were in use,” Toriseva said. “The videotaping of women and minor females did not end until sometime in 2020. The Junior Trooper program was also discontinued in 2020.”
While lawmakers spent the most recent and several previous legislative sessions distracted by socio-cultural bogeymen — telling children and parents what they should fear — some very real monsters have been preying on our kids. Thank goodness for the work of some in law enforcement (particularly the special task forces) and a few brave attorneys general who never stopped fighting them. Imagine the good we could do if we poured more time and resources into THOSE fights.
As we await that shift, the best thing the WVSP; our Attorney General’s Office; and those in positions of authority in our school systems and churches can do is leave no doubt they are working to root out these individuals, fully cooperate in investigations and implement appropriate consequences. They must prove the safety of our children is more important to them than keeping quiet in the name of preserving their reputation.
It boggles the mind that some fail to understand they do far more damage to their reputations by appearing to protect these criminals. Worse, they compound the damage done to the victims. That is unforgivable, and it must stop. Now.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph. April 5, 2023.
Editorial: Vehicle inspection: Big changes for W.Va. in 2024
Beginning in 2024, residents of the Mountain State will only have to pass a vehicle inspection once every two years. The change will likely be popular with motorists, but also means that vehicles on the road with a safety issue may not immediately get fixed.
Senate Bill 254, which rolled back vehicle inspections to once every two years, passed the Senate 23-5, but then stalled in the House Finance Committee. At that point it was believed the legislation was dead.
However, the provision was then rolled into House Bill 2310, which gives the Division of Motor Vehicles authority to develop an “Antique Fleet” program so that multiple antique motor vehicles may utilize a single registration plate. That bill also included a provision that read, “The Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police shall require that every motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, and pole trailer registered in this state be inspected once every two years and that an official certificate of inspection and approval be obtained for each vehicle: Provided, That the amendments made to this subsection during the 2023 regular session of the Legislature shall become effective on January 1, 2024.”
Gov. Jim Justice signed the bill into law last month. As a result, the annual inspection requirement ends on Jan. 1, 2024. At that point, vehicle inspections will be required only once every two years.
The bill does increase the maximum fee for an inspection to $19 to account for inflation.
West Virginia is one of only 11 states that currently require an annual inspection of passenger vehicles. Come Jan. 1, 2024, only 10 states will require the yearly inspection.
While many will certainly celebrate the news of vehicle inspections no longer being an annual requirement in the Mountain State, there were certainly valid arguments for retaining the yearly inspection.
For starters it helped to ensure that older vehicles that may have issues were kept in working order. Without a yearly inspection, a vehicle with a safety issue may now not get fixed until the next inspection is required.
Of course, most residents will likely be pleased with the change.
Still it is important to remember that the new law doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2024. So if your vehicle inspection is due this year, you will need to complete the process.
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