Bill Summary for S 298 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

Mar 17 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 298 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Intro. by

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Bill summary

Under current law, GS 20-217 specifies certain instances in which motorists are required to come to a complete stop for a properly marked and stopped school bus displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red lights and stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers and imposes criminal penalties, from misdemeanor to felony, for violations of GS 20-217.

Enacts new GS 153A-246 in Article 12 of GS Chapter 153A to authorize a county to adopt an ordinance for the civil enforcement of GS 20-217 through use of photographs or videos recorded by automatic school bus safety cameras. Defines automated school bus safety camerathe same as the term is defined in GS 115C-242.1, school busthe same as the term is used in GS 20-217, and officials or agentsto include a local board of education located within the county orprivate vendor contracted with under GS 115C-242.1. Provides that regardless of the provisions of GS 14-4, if a county adopts an ordinance under this statute, a violation of that ordinance is not an infraction.

Provides that the owner of a vehicle is responsible for a violation unless the owner can provide evidence that the vehicle was, at the time of the violation, in the care, custody, or control of another person.

Provides that a violation of the county ordinance is not a criminal violation and a civil penalty will be assessed with no points assessed under GS 20-16(c) and GS 58-36-65 to the driver or the owner of the vehicle. Requires that there be appropriate signage conspicuously posted on the school bus warning that an automated school bus safety camera is installed. Requires that all the warning signs be consistent with a statewide standard adopted by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) in conjunction with local boards of education that install and operate automated school bus safety cameras on their school buses.

Declares that the provisions of new GS 153A-246 are not to be construed (1) to require that school bus safety cameras be installed and operated on school buses; (2) to prohibit the use and admissibility of any photograph or video recorded by an automated school bus safety camera in any criminal proceeding alleging a violation of GS 20-217; or (3) to prohibit the imposition of penalties, including the assignment of points to any owner or driver of a vehicle convicted of a misdemeanor or felony violation of GS 20-217.

Enacts new GS 115C-242.1 to provide governance regarding the installation and operation of automated school bus safety cameras via a local county board of education or a private vendor contracted with in accordance to subsections (c) or (d) of this statute. Authorizes DPI to enter into a contract for statewide service or regional services to install and operate automated school bus safety cameras and provides further regulation of those contracts.

Makes technical and conforming changes to GS 20-54 and GS 20-217.

Becomes effective July 1, 2015, and applies to violations and offenses committed on or after that date.

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