CHARLESTON, WV - A legislative audit released Dec. 8 revealed that West Virginia state employees have had more than 5,000 accidents in state vehicles over the past five years, costing the state nearly $23 million in insurance claims and deductibles, reported The Charleston Gazette.

From July 1, 2004, to June 30, 2009, the state Board of Risk and Insurance Management paid out $17.7 million in claims, in addition to more than $5 million in $1,000 deductibles paid by state agencies, reported the Gazette.

Despite the accident rate, the audit found that most agencies either have no policy for monitoring accidents or do not adhere to policies that are on the books. Fewer than 20 percent of state agencies surveyed in the audit discipline employees who have multiple accidents or are otherwise determined to be unsafe drivers.

The audit recommends the Legislature give the Department of Administration or another state agency oversight to investigate state vehicle accidents, and to require agencies to discipline employees who are at fault for accidents in state vehicles.

While an earlier October report revealed more than 800 employees claimed payroll deductions for commuting values of state vehicles in 2008, only about 500 are actually allowed to commute in state vehicles, according to the Gazette.