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TMCNet:  Designated driver service clears road block

[January 21, 2013]

Designated driver service clears road block

Jan 21, 2013 (The Dominion Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The state Public Service Commission (PSC) doesn't have any authority over a proposed designated driver service in the Morgantown area, according to its final order on the matter.

Owner Eric Watkins said he's now working with legal counsel to determine if he has to get any certificates or approvals from any other state agencies.

Watkins has been working since last year to get his designated driver service company -- Dub V Safe Ride LLC up and running.

Once he gets everything in order, he'll "be starting in Morgantown as soon as possible," he said. "Trying to help prevent DUIs and save lives." Watkins said he'd like to have the service in operation by spring, summer or at least before WVU's next Big 12 football season, which begins Aug. 31.

According to the Secretary of State's Office, Watkins received a business license for Dub V Safe Ride LLC in February 2012.

He submitted an application to the PSC for a certificate to operate the designated driver service in April 2012.

The PSC recently issued an order dismissing the case, saying it didn't have jurisdiction over the request.

Spokewoman Susan Small said DUB V Safe Ride wouldn't be doing anything that requires regulatory oversight from the commission.

Watkins previously told The Dominion Post a driver would ride a folding motorcycle to the bar, store the motorcycle in the trunk of the intoxicated person's vehicle, drive the person home and then ride the motorcycle back after the drop-off.

According to a fee schedule, customers could be charged $1 per mile traveled in their vehicles. There could also be a $10 or $15 pickup fee.

"It's cheaper than a DUI," Watkins said.

According to the PSC's order, DUB V Safe Ride would require customers to sign an agreement -- including proof of insurance and current vehicle registration -- to become members of the service. Customers will enter into the agreements before they need the service and must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they sign.

The member's insurance would cover the employees when they're driving the members' vehicles, according to the PSC, but Watkins also plans to get additional insurance for the employees.

The PSC's order states, "It is important to note that at no time will a member be transported in a vehicle provided by the Applicant. This is the clearest distinction between the Applicant and motor carriers regulated by the Commission who engage in the business of transporting passengers." ___ (c)2013 The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.) Visit The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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