SCHOOL BUS CAMERAS/CIVIL PENALTIES.

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 298 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 17, 2015
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC OR VIDEO EVIDENCE FOR THE CIVIL ENFORCEMENT OF VIOLATIONS FOR PASSING A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS.
Intro. by

Status: Re-ref Com On Appropriations (House Action) (Aug 26 2015)

SOG comments (1):

Identical bill

Bill as filed is identical to H 536 as filed 4/1/15.

S 298

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Aug 26 2015 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following change to the 4th edition. 

    Rewrites proposed GS 153A-246, regarding civil enforcement proceedings using photographs and videos from school bus safety cameras, among other things to release the registered owner of a vehicle from liability if the owner does not receive notice within 60 (was, 90) days after the date of the violation. Requires that a citation include an image showing the vehicle involved in the violation, affirmation from a county employee or law enforcement officer, and certain warnings about the consequences of failure to respond. Institutes a step penalty system wherein a first offense results in a penalty of $400, a second in $750, and all subsequent in $1,000; the 4th edition simply provided for a civil penalty of $500. Removes a requirement that decisions in nonjudicial administrative hearings be made by persons who are not employed by the county, the school system, or certain vendors. Replaces a reference to "personal service" of a citation with a reference to GS 1A-1, Rule 4, which governs service of process. Expands on the requirements of the nonjudicial administrative hearings and appeals to the General Court of Justice. Includes a statement that criminal prosecution, rather than the new civil enforcement mechanism, is the preferred method of enforcement when identification of a motor vehicle operator is possible. 

    Amends proposed GS 115C-242.1 to require compliance with GS 143-129 pertaining to public contracts and includes a provision allowing renewal or extension of contracts for only one additional term of three years. Includes a reference to the statutory provisions governing interlocal agreements and adds that law enforcement agencies may enter into such agreements.

    Deletes a requirement that the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts annually submit a report to the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force and the General Assembly regarding offenses and convictions under GS 20-217, the criminal offense of failure to stop for a school bus. 

    Changes the effective date of the provision governing the Division of Motor Vehicle's authority to refuse registration to one year after becoming law, with the remainder of the act effective upon becoming law. The 4th edition contained an effective date of July 1, 2015.

    Makes technical and conforming changes. 


  • Summary date: Apr 22 2015 - More information

    Senate amendment makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.

    Adds language to proposed GS 153A-246(b)(6), which requires a county to institute nonjudicial administrative hearings to review objections to penalties or citations assessed through civil enforcement of the prohibition against passing a stopped school bus by use of automated cameras, to provide that decisions in such hearings cannot be made by employees of the county, school system, or by any vendor which provides automated school bus cameras to the county.


  • Summary date: Apr 21 2015 - More information

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

    Amends proposed GS 153A-246 concerning enforcement on the prohibition of passing a stopped school bus, adding new provisions which provide that a person identified by affidavit as being in the custody, control, or care of a vehicle at the time of the violation will be issued a citation and notified of the procedures for challenging the citation. Provides for a late penalty of $100 for late payment or nonpayment, which also results in waiving the right to contest the citation. Adds additional language that prohibits a county from imposing a civil penalty against a person charged pursuant to GS 20-217 in a criminal pleading from the same facts.

    Deletes proposed GS 20-217(i), which provides that drivers/owners can be subject to a civil penalty pursuant to an ordinance adopted under GS 153A-246.


  • Summary date: Apr 1 2015 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Amends proposed GS 153A-246, concerning automated school bus safety cameras, making clarifying changes. Requires that all of the warning signs of the camera be consistent with a statewide standard adopted by the State Board of Education (was, the Department of Public Instruction) in conjunction with local boards of education that install and operate automated school bus safety cameras on their school buses. 

    Amends proposed GS 115C-242.1 adding language to subsection (b) concerning the installation and operation of the safety cameras setting out three ways in which the cameras can be installed or operated, including that a local board of education can contract with a private vendor, it can enter into a contract to install and operate with a private vendor, or the State Board of Education can enter into a statewide service or contract for regional services, as specified. Also include provisions by which local boards of education and boards of county commissioners can enter into interlocal agreements to implement the purpose and intent of this section and GS 153A-246. Deletes language which previously comprised proposed GS 115C-242.1(c), Statewide or Regional Contract, and (d), Exceptions to Statewide or Regional Contract.

    Directs the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to annually submit a report covering the most recent five years prior to the reporting date to the NC Child Fatality Task Force and the General Assembly by October 1. Requires the report to include total number of offenses charged under GS 20-217, by county, and total number of convictions under GS 20-217, by county. 

    Provides that a county that adopts an ordinance as provided in GS 153A-246 must maintain records of all noncriminal violations of that ordinance when a civil penalty is assessed. 

    Requires the State Board of Education, within 90 days of the enactment of this act, to develop a model contract for use by the local boards of education in letting and awarding contracts in accordance with the specified provisions.

    Adds language to the effective date clause providing that the requirements found in GS 115C-242.1(b)(2) do not apply to a local board of education that entered into a contract prior to July 1, 2015, with a private vendor to install and operate automated school bus safety cameras.


  • Summary date: Mar 17 2015 - More information

    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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