Bill Summary for S 729 (2011-2012)

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Summary date: 

Apr 20 2011

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2011-2012 Session
Senate Bill 729 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Intro. by Goolsby, Brown, Meredith.

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Bill summary

Includes whereas clauses regarding the risk of uninsured motorists. Enacts new GS 20-309.3, authorizing law enforcement agencies and officers to use electronic verification systems to identify motor vehicles operating on public streets and highways and vehicular areas without the required financial responsibility. Defines an electronic verification system as a mobile or fixed device with an electronically automated camera and sensor, capable of producing photographs of a vehicle violating the financial responsibility laws. Includes additional details on the verification system’s standards and allowed use. Permits the Department of Transportation to post signs on state-maintained highways, notifying drivers about electronic verification systems. Makes a violation detected by the verification system a noncriminal violation, with a civil penalty of $300, but no license points and no insurance points. Directs the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to mail notice to the registered vehicle owner cited for a financial responsibility violation including the vehicle registration number and state; the date, time, and location of the violation; and the process to pay the penalty or contest responsibility for the violation. Specifies that the notice is deemed served five days after mailing. Allows the registered owner to contest responsibility for the violation by sending an affidavit to the DMV within 30 days after receiving the notification stating either (1) the name and address of the person who had or may have had actual physical control of the vehicle at the time of the violation or (2) a statement that the vehicle was under the control of a person unknown to the owner, without the owner’s permission, during the violation, and documentation showing the reported theft or loss. Specifies that the owner waives the right to contest responsibility by failing to pay the penalty or failing to respond within 30 days. Requires an officer to notify the DMV within 48 hours of the citation or arrest if the officer cites or arrests a vehicle owner who is also cited by a verification system for a financial responsibility violation. Directs DMV to establish an administrative hearing process to review challenges, and provides an appeals procedure.
Enacts new GS 20-309.4, making the results of a properly tested and calibrated electronic verification system admissible as prima facie evidence to establish that the vehicle operator failed to carry a policy of financial responsibility. Requires judicial notice of certain rules and procedures in proceedings involving electronic verification systems.
Amends GS 20-311, which specifies action allowed by DMV when the agency is notified of a financial responsibility lapse, to make the penalty amount for all lapses in financial responsibility $300 (rather than varied amounts based on previous lapses). Clarifies that a revocation based on a failure to carry financial responsibility ends when the owner pays all assessed fines, penalties, and restoration fees, and obtains financial responsibility or transfers the vehicle. Also clarifies that the minimum revocation period based on the occurrence of an accident during a lapse of financial responsibility or the knowing operation of a vehicle without financial responsibility is 30 days. Specifies that the revocation period based on failure to respond ends when the owner responds; pays all assessed fines, penalties, and restoration fees; and obtains financial responsibility or transfers the vehicle. Requires the revocation notice to include notification that the owner’s license is revoked until the owner complies with all applicable laws. Adds that a person may have his or her license restored after all fines, penalties, and fees have been paid. Makes other conforming changes.
Directs the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety to implement the use of electronic verification systems by January 1, 2012, and to request contract proposals for the technology that include six specified standards.
Specifies that prosecutions for offenses committed before the date the act becomes law are not abated or affected, and the statutes that would be applicable but for this act remain applicable to those prosecutions.