Bill Summary for S 739 (2019-2020)

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Summary date: 

May 14 2020

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
Senate Bill 739 (Public) Filed Thursday, May 14, 2020
Intro. by Perry, Searcy, Sawyer.

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Bill summary

Amends GS 20-4.01 to define personal delivery device (PDD) to mean an electronically powered device for transporting cargo that is equipped with automated driving technology that enables the operation of the device with the remote support and supervision of a human. Modifies the definition given for the defined term vehicle to exclude a personal delivery device from the term.

Enacts Article 10B, Personal Delivery Devices, of GS Chapter 20. Authorizes a business entity to operate a PDD if the entity registers with the Secretary of State and operates the PDD in compliance with the Article. Otherwise, makes it unlawful to operate or cause the operation of a PDD.

Requires annual registration and payment of a nonrefundable registration fee of $250. Requires the registration form to include proof of insurance requirements met, proof the business entity is authorized to do business in the State, and information for a resident agent for service of process.

Sets out six restrictions and requirements for PDD operation, including: (1) the PDD is monitored by a human agent of the business entity who is able to exercise remote control over the navigation and operation of the PDD; (2) operation complies with requirements concerning pedestrian areas; (3) the PDD yields the right-of-way to all vehicles and pedestrians; (4) the PDD does not unreasonably interfere with any vehicle or pedestrian; (5) the PDD does not transport certain hazardous materials; and (6) the PDD is only operated at no more than 12 miles per hour in pedestrian areas and 20 miles per hour on highways.

Requires PDDs to have: (1) a marker that clearly identifies the name and contact information of the owner and a unique ID number; (2) a braking system for controlled stops; and (3) front and rear lights for night operation visible and recognizable on all sides up to 500 feet from the PDD when directly in front of a vehicle projecting low-beam headlights.

Prohibits local governments from regulation PDD operation inconsistent with the Article. Grants State and local law enforcement officers the authority to enforce the Article.

Requires a registered business entity to maintain general liability insurance that covers at least $100,000 per claim for damages arising from the operation of the PDD.

Makes the registered business entity strictly liable for operation of the PDD unless an agent acts outside the scope of the agent's authority. Provides for limited civil and criminal immunity for persons that request delivery or service by a PDD operated by a registered business entity.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to refuse, revoke, suspend or restrict registration and take enforcement action if a business entity's PDD operation is found to endanger public safety. Directs the Secretary of State to adopt necessary rules, orders, and forms for administration and enforcement of the Article.

Appropriates $5,000 in nonrecurring funds for 2019-20 from the General Fund to the Secretary of State to implement the act.