Bill Summaries: H615 NC HIGHWAY SAFETY ACT OF 2023.

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  • Summary date: Apr 13 2023 - View Summary

    Enacts new GS 20-141.7 authorizing the use of electronic speed-measuring systems to detect speeding violations for State-maintained highways in work zones. Defines an electronic speed-measuring system as a mobile or fixed device that consists of an automated traffic camera and sensor and is capable of measuring the speed and producing one or more digital photographs of a motor vehicle violating a speed limit.

    Sets information and photograph requirements these systems must produce per violation. Requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to place notice within 1,000 feet of a system. Prohibits local governments from operating an electronic speed-measuring system. Makes violations captured by systems subject to a $250 civil penalty. Bars assigning points to the owner or driver of the vehicle and specifies that violations are noncriminal. Details notice requirements for violations detected by systems, including that the notice must be delivered by first-class mail. Deems registered owners served five days after mailing, whereby owners have 30 days to remit payment or respond before becoming subject to an additional $125 civil penalty. Allows for owners to contest responsibility within 30 days of service by providing a sworn affidavit stating the name and address of the person who had physical control of the vehicle at violation, or that the vehicle was stolen or lost at the time of violation, subject to specified content requirements; failure to respond within 30 days of service waives the right to contest responsibility. Requires law enforcement to notify DOT when citations or arrests are made where systems are in use; bars the DOT from issuing a notice of violation or imposing penalties under the act. Requires DOT to establish an administrative nonjudicial hearing process to review challenges and provides for appeal of final decisions to district court, with appeal of the district court's decision to the Court of Appeals.

    Enacts new GS 8-54.1 making the results of the use of an electronic speed-measuring system if it meets the requirement above as well as calibration and testing requirements admissible as prima facie evidence for the purpose of establishing the vehicle's speed. Requires electronic speed-measuring systems to be calibrated and tested at regular intervals pursuant to DOT standards. Makes a written certificate by a certified technician showing that a test was made within the required period and that the system was accurate competent and prima facie evidence of those facts. Requires notice to be taken, in every proceeding in which the results of an electronic speed-measuring system are sought to be admitted for the purpose of enforcement, of the rules approving the electronic speed-measuring system and the procedures for calibration or testing for accuracy of the system.

    Enacts new GS 115C-457.4 establishing within the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund a special fund entitled the Civil Penalty Litigation Fund that includes 75% of civil penalties paid under GS 20-141.7 and any other moneys appropriated or otherwise directed by the NCGA. Requires allocating funds in the Civil Penalty Litigation Fund to local school administrative units on a per-pupil basis and allows funds to be expended in accordance with the provisions of the State School Technology Fund. Requires that 75% of the total amount collected in fines and penalties under this act be paid into the Civil Penalty Litigation Fund and 25% be paid to the State Public School Fund. Specifies that payments to the Civil Penalty Litigation Fund are intended to satisfy the judgment entered on August 8, 2008, in North Carolina School Boards Association, et al., v. Moore, et al., Wake County Superior Court, No. 98-CVS-14158.

    Appropriates $100,000 for 2023-24 from the General Fund to the Office of State Budget and Management to be allocated to the Civil Penalty Litigation Fund to implement this act.

    Allows the Secretary of Transportation, or the Secretary's designee, to designate no more than 25 work zones on State-maintained highways at one time throughout the State to pilot this program. Requires a report to the specified NCGA committees on the program, including recommendations for extension, alteration, or continuance of the program. Specifies additional items that must be included in the report. Requires the report to be made annually beginning May 1, 2024.

    Effective October 1, 2023, and applies to all civil penalties assessed for speeding violations in school zones on State-maintained highways on or after that date. Sets the act to expire on October 1, 2028.