Bill Summary for S 739 (2019-2020)

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Summary date: 

Jun 10 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

Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.

Section 2

Enacts Part 11D, Personal Delivery Devices, of Article 3, GS Chapter 20, rather than Article 10B, GS Chapter 20. Maintains the proposed language of previously proposed Article 10B in new Part 11D of Article 3, with the following modifications. Makes organizational and clarifying changes to proposed language.

Changes the proposed definition of business entity to mean a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other legal entity authorized to conduct business under the laws of the State (was, a legal entity formed for the purpose of making a profit). Adds to the defined terms, operator, and defines the term to mean an agent who is 16 years of age or older and is charged with the responsibility of monitoring and operating a personal delivery device (PDD; previously, this definition was set forth for "agent" in the context of required PDD monitoring by a human agent of the business entity among other PDD operation requirements).

Modifies the PDD operation authorization and requirements. Now, authorizes a business entity to operate a PDD in a pedestrian area or on a highway, with the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under GS Chapter 20, subject to the requirements and restrictions of the new Part (previously, authorized a business entity to operate a PDD if the entity is authorized to conduct business in the State under specified GS Chapters. No longer makes it unlawful for any person to operate or cause to operate a PDD. Instead, makes it unlawful for any person to operate a PDD in a pedestrian area or on a highway in the State except as authorized in the new Part.

Modifies and adds to the PDD operation requirements. Restricts operation on a highway to operation necessary to cross a highway or along a highway only if a sidewalk is not provided or accessible, and only if (1) the PDD is operated on the shoulder or as close as practicable to the extreme right of the highway in the direction of authorized traffic movement, and yields the right-of-way to all vehicles; (2) the PDD is not operated on a highway at a speed greater than 20 mph (previously, speeds not to exceed 35 mph); and (3) the PDD is not operated on a highway with a speed limit greater than 35 mph. Now requires PDDs to obey all traffic and pedestrian control devices and signs. No longer provides for PDDs to be operated in a manner that complies with the Chapter's provisions applicable to bicycles when the device is operating on a highway or bicycle lane in addition to those applicable to pedestrians when the device is operating in a pedestrian area. Now requires PDDs to yield the right-of-way to all human pedestrians (was, to all vehicles and pedestrians).

Modifies required PDD equipment to include lights on the rear and front that are visible and recognizable under normal atmospheric conditions from at least 500 feet on all sides of the PDD when operated at night (previously additionally specified when directly in front of a motor vehicle projecting lawful low-beam headlights).

Eliminates the prohibition against local government regulation of the hours and areas of operation of a PDD inconsistent with the Article. Now allows local governments to reasonably regulate PDD operation on a highway or pedestrian area for reasons relating to public health, safety, or welfare, subject to an opportunity from business entities. Explicitly bars local governments' outright ban of PDD operation. Specifies that this provision does not affect law enforcement or local government authority to enforce State laws relating to PDD operation. 

Makes a violation of the PDD equipment requirements an infraction.

Changes the local regulation authority provided. Now, explicitly authorizes local governments having jurisdiction over ways of public passage to regulate time and place of PDD operation by regulation for the purpose of assuring safety of persons using highways and sidewalks. Bars local prohibition of PDD use.

Eliminates previously proposed liability provisions. 

Adds the following content.

Section 3

Effective December 1, 2022, amends new GS 20-175.9, as enacted, to authorize local governments with jurisdiction over ways of public passage to prohibit PDD operation within its jurisdiction if it determines that the prohibition is necessary, rather than regulate time and place of operation. Provides that any ordinance regulating time and place of PDD operation adopted before the effective date of this provision remains in effect until repealed.

Sections 4 and 5

Amends GS 20-146.2 and GS 20-183.2 to reflect organizational changes made by the act to GS 20-4.01.

Section 6

Amends GS 20-286(10), which sets forth the definition for motor vehicle as the term applies to the regulation of motor vehicle dealers and manufacturers in Article 12. Specifies that motor vehicle does not include an electronically powered device that is equipped with automated driving technology that enables device operation with or without remote support and meets three weight, length, and width dimensions, while such electronically powered devices that exceed the specified weight, length, and width dimensions are included as a motor vehicle, subject to the fully autonomous vehicle regulations set out in Article 18 if it also falls within the definition of a fully autonomous vehicle under GS 20-400(3).

Section 7

Changes the appropriations provisions to appropriate the $5,000 in nonrecurring funds from the General Fund to the Department of Public Safety rather than the Secretary of State, for 2020-21 to educate the public on safely interacting with PDDs operating in vehicular and pedestrian traffic (previously, appropriation provided to implement the act).

Section 8

Changes the act's effective date. Now provide for the act to become effective December 1, 2020, and applicable to offenses committed on or after that date, except as otherwise provided (was, effective when the act became law).