North Carolina

§ 20‑16.1.  Mandatory suspension of driver’s license upon conviction of excessive speeding; limited driving permits for first offenders.

(a)       Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Article, the Division shall suspend for a period of 30 days the license of any driver without preliminary hearing on receiving a record of the driver’s conviction of either (i) exceeding by more than 15 miles per hour the speed limit, either within or outside the corporate limits of a municipality, if the person was also driving at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour at the time of the offense, or (ii) driving at a speed in excess of 80 miles per hour at the time of the offense.

(b)      (1)       Upon a first conviction only of violating subsection (a), the trial judge may when feasible allow a limited driving privilege or license to the person convicted for proper purposes reasonably connected with the health, education and welfare of the person convicted and his family. For purposes of determining whether conviction is a first conviction, no prior offense occurring more than seven years before the date of the current offense shall be considered. The judge may impose upon such limited driving privilege any restrictions as in his discretion are deemed advisable including, but not limited to, conditions of days, hours, types of vehicles, routes, geographical boundaries and specific purposes for which limited driving privilege is allowed. Any such limited driving privilege allowed and restrictions imposed thereon shall be specifically recorded in a written judgment which shall be as near as practical to that hereinafter set forth and shall be signed by the trial judge and shall be affixed with the seal of the court and shall be made a part of the records of the said court. A copy of said judgment shall be transmitted to the Division of Motor Vehicles along with any driver’s license in the possession of the person convicted and a notice of the conviction. Such permit issued hereunder shall be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance by trial court. Such permit shall constitute a valid license to operate motor vehicles of the class or type that would be allowed by the person’s license if it were not currently revoked upon the streets and highways of this or any other state in accordance with the restrictions noted thereon and shall be subject to all provisions of law relating to driver’s license, not by their nature, rendered inapplicable.

(2)       The judgment issued by the trial judge as herein permitted shall as near as practical be in form and content as follows:

IN THE GENERAL COURT

STATE OF NORTH                                              OF JUSTICE

        CAROLINA                                         RESTRICTED DRIVING

COUNTY OF_______                                        PRIVILEGES

This cause coming on to be heard and being heard before the Honorable ________, Judge presiding, and it appearing to the court that the defendant, ________, has been convicted of the offense of excessive speeding in violation of G.S. 20‑16.1(a), and it further appearing to the court that the defendant should be issued a restrictive driving license and is entitled to the issuance of a restrictive driving privilege under and by the authority of G.S. 20‑16.1(b);

Now, therefore, it is ordered, adjudged and decreed that the defendant be allowed to operate a motor vehicle under the following conditions and under no other circumstances.

Name:______________________________________________

Race:___________________ Sex:________________________

Height:_________________ Weight:_____________________

Color of Hair:____________ Color of Eyes:________________

Birth Date:__________________________________________

Driver’s License Number:_______________________________

Signature of Licensee:__________________________________

Conditions of Restriction:___________________________________

Type of Vehicle:__________________________________________

Geographic Restrictions:____________________________________

Hours of Restriction:_______________________________________

Other Restrictions:________________________________________

This limited license shall be effective from _______________  to _____________ subject to further orders as the court in its discretion may deem necessary and proper.

This the _____ day of _______, ____

                                                                        _____________________________________

(Judge Presiding)

(3)       Upon conviction of such offense outside the jurisdiction of this State the person so convicted may apply to a district court judge of the district or set of districts as defined in G.S. 7A‑41.1(a) in which he resides for limited driving privileges hereinbefore defined. Upon such application the judge shall have the authority to issue such limited driving privileges in the same manner as if he were the trial judge.

(4)       Any violation of the restrictive driving privileges as set forth in the judgment of the trial judge allowing such privileges shall constitute the offense of driving while license has been suspended as set forth in G.S. 20‑28. Whenever a person is charged with operating a motor vehicle in violation of the restrictions, the limited driving privilege shall be suspended pending the final disposition of the charge.

(5)       This section is supplemental and in addition to existing law and shall not be construed so as to repeal any existing provision contained in the General Statutes of North Carolina.

(c)       Upon conviction of a similar second or subsequent offense which offense occurs within one year of the first or prior offense, the license of such operator shall be suspended for 60 days, provided such first or prior offense occurs subsequent to July 1, 1953.

(d)       Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Article, the Division shall suspend for a period of 60 days the license of any driver without preliminary hearing on receiving a record of such driver’s conviction of having violated the laws against speeding described in subsection (a) and of having violated the laws against reckless driving on the same occasion as the speeding offense occurred.

(e)       The provisions of this section shall not prevent the suspension or revocation of a license for a longer period of time where the same may be authorized by other provisions of law.

(f)        Repealed by Session Laws 1987, c. 869, s. 14.

(g)       Any judge granting limited driving privileges under this section shall, prior to granting such privileges, be furnished proof and be satisfied that the person being granted such privileges is financially responsible. Proof of financial responsibility shall be in one of the following forms:

(1)       A written certificate or electronically‑transmitted facsimile thereof from any insurance carrier duly authorized to do business in this State certifying that there is in effect a nonfleet private passenger motor vehicle liability policy for the benefit of the person required to furnish proof of financial responsibility. The certificate or facsimile shall state the effective date and expiration date of the nonfleet private passenger motor vehicle liability policy and shall state the date that the certificate or facsimile is issued. The certificate or facsimile shall remain effective proof of financial responsibility for a period of 30 consecutive days following the date the certificate or facsimile is issued but shall not in and of itself constitute a binder or policy of insurance or

(2)       A binder for or policy of nonfleet private passenger motor vehicle liability insurance under which the applicant is insured, provided that the binder or policy states the effective date and expiration date of the nonfleet private passenger motor vehicle liability policy.

The preceding provisions of this subsection do not apply to applicants who do not own currently registered motor vehicles and who do not operate nonfleet private passenger motor vehicles that are owned by other persons and that are not insured under commercial motor vehicle liability insurance policies. In such cases, the applicant shall sign a written certificate to that effect. Such certificate shall be furnished by the Division. Any material misrepresentation made by such person on such certificate shall be grounds for suspension of that person’s license for a period of 90 days.

For the purpose of this subsection “nonfleet private passenger motor vehicle” has the definition ascribed to it in Article 40 of General Statute Chapter 58.

The Commissioner may require that certificates required by this subsection be on a form approved by the Commissioner. Such granting of limited driving privileges shall be conditioned upon the maintenance of such financial responsibility during the period of the limited driving privilege. Nothing in this subsection precludes any person from showing proof of financial responsibility in any other manner authorized by Articles 9A and 13 of this Chapter. (1953, c. 1223; 1955, c. 1187, s. 15; 1959, c. 1264, s. 4; 1965, c. 133; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; c. 763; 1979, c. 667, ss. 19, 41; 1983, c. 77; 1987, c. 869, ss. 13, 14; 1989, c. 436, s. 4; 770, s. 57; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 652, s. 2; 1999‑456, s. 59; 2004‑199, s. 13(a).)

§ 20‑141.  Speed restrictions.

(a)       No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway or in a public vehicular area at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.

(b)       Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, it shall be unlawful to operate a vehicle in excess of the following speeds:

(1)       Thirty‑five miles per hour inside municipal corporate limits for all vehicles.

(2)       Fifty‑five miles per hour outside municipal corporate limits for all vehicles except for school buses and school activity buses.

(c)       Except while towing another vehicle, or when an advisory safe‑speed sign indicates a slower speed, or as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful to operate a passenger vehicle upon the interstate and primary highway system at less than the following speeds:

(1)       Forty miles per hour in a speed zone of 55 miles per hour.

(2)       Forty‑five miles per hour in a speed zone of 60 miles per hour or greater.

These minimum speeds shall be effective only when appropriate signs are posted indicating the minimum speed.

(d)      (1)       Whenever the Department of Transportation determines on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that any speed allowed by subsection (b) is greater than is reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist upon any part of a highway outside the corporate limits of a municipality or upon any part of a highway designated as part of the Interstate Highway System or any part of a controlled‑access highway (either inside or outside the corporate limits of a municipality), the Department of Transportation shall determine and declare a reasonable and safe speed limit.

(2)       Whenever the Department of Transportation determines on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that a higher maximum speed than those set forth in subsection (b) is reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist upon any part of a highway designated as part of the Interstate Highway System or any part of a controlled‑access highway (either inside or outside the corporate limits of a municipality) the Department of Transportation shall determine and declare a reasonable and safe speed limit. A speed limit set pursuant to this subsection may not exceed 70 miles per hour.

Speed limits set pursuant to this subsection are not effective until appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected upon the parts of the highway affected.

(e)       Local authorities, in their respective jurisdictions, may authorize by ordinance higher speeds or lower speeds than those set out in subsection (b) upon all streets which are not part of the State highway system; but no speed so fixed shall authorize a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour. Speed limits set pursuant to this subsection shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected upon the part of the streets affected.

(e1)     Local authorities within their respective jurisdictions may authorize, by ordinance, lower speed limits than those set in subsection (b) of this section on school property. If the lower speed limit is being set on the grounds of a public school, the local school administrative unit must request or consent to the lower speed limit. If the lower speed limit is being set on the grounds of a private school, the governing body of the school must request or consent to the lower speed limit. Speed limits established pursuant to this subsection shall become effective when appropriate signs giving notice of the speed limit are erected upon affected property. A person who drives a motor vehicle on school property at a speed greater than the speed limit set and posted under this subsection is responsible for an infraction and is required to pay a penalty of not less than twenty‑five dollars ($25.00).

(f)        Whenever local authorities within their respective jurisdictions determine upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that a higher maximum speed than those set forth in subsection (b) is reasonable and safe, or that any speed hereinbefore set forth is greater than is reasonable and safe, under the conditions found to exist upon any part of a street within the corporate limits of a municipality and which street is a part of the State highway system (except those highways designated as part of the interstate highway system or other controlled‑access highway) said local authorities shall determine and declare a safe and reasonable speed limit. A speed limit set pursuant to this subsection may not exceed 55 miles per hour. Limits set pursuant to this subsection shall become effective when the Department of Transportation has passed a concurring ordinance and signs are erected giving notice of the authorized speed limit.

The Department of Transportation is authorized to raise or lower the statutory speed limit on all highways on the State highway system within municipalities which do not have a governing body to enact municipal ordinances as provided by law. The Department of Transportation shall determine a reasonable and safe speed limit in the same manner as is provided in G.S. 20‑141(d)(1) and G.S. 20‑141(d)(2) for changing the speed limits outside of municipalities, without action of the municipality.

(g)       Whenever the Department of Transportation or local authorities within their respective jurisdictions determine on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that slow speeds on any part of a highway considerably impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the Department of Transportation or such local authority may determine and declare a minimum speed below which no person shall operate a motor vehicle except when necessary for safe operation in compliance with law. Such minimum speed limit shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected on said part of the highway. Provided, such minimum speed limit shall be effective as to those highways and streets within the corporate limits of a municipality which are on the State highway system only when ordinances adopting the minimum speed limit are passed and concurred in by both the Department of Transportation and the local authorities. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to farm tractors and other motor vehicles operating at reasonable speeds for the type and nature of such vehicles.

(h)       No person shall operate a motor vehicle on the highway at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law; provided, this provision shall not apply to farm tractors and other motor vehicles operating at reasonable speeds for the type and nature of such vehicles.

(i)        The Department of Transportation shall have authority to designate and appropriately mark certain highways of the State as truck routes.

(j)        Repealed by Session Laws 1997, c. 443, s. 19.26(b).

(j1)      A person who drives a vehicle on a highway at a speed that is either more than 15 miles per hour more than the speed limit established by law for the highway where the offense occurred or over 80 miles per hour is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

(j2)      A person who drives a motor vehicle in a highway work zone at a speed greater than the speed limit set and posted under this section shall be required to pay a penalty of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00). This penalty shall be imposed in addition to those penalties established in this Chapter. A “highway work zone” is the area between the first sign that informs motorists of the existence of a work zone on a highway and the last sign that informs motorists of the end of the work zone. This subsection applies only if a sign posted at the beginning of the highway work zone states the penalty for speeding in the work zone. The Secretary shall ensure that work zones shall only be posted with penalty signs if the Secretary determines, after engineering review, that the posting is necessary to ensure the safety of the traveling public due to a hazardous condition.

A law enforcement officer issuing a citation for a violation of this section while in a highway work zone shall indicate the vehicle speed and speed limit posted in the work zone. Upon an individual’s conviction of a violation of this section while in a highway work zone, the clerk of court shall report that the vehicle was in a work zone at the time of the violation, the vehicle speed, and the speed limit of the work zone to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

(j3)      A person is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor if the person drives a commercial motor vehicle carrying a load that is subject to the permit requirements of G.S. 20‑119 upon a highway or any public vehicular area at a speed of 15 miles per hour or more above either:

(1)       The posted speed; or

(2)       The restricted speed, if any, of the permit, or if no permit was obtained, the speed that would be applicable to the load if a permit had been obtained.

(k)       Repealed by Session Laws 1995 (Regular Session, 1996), c. 652, s. 1.

(l)        Notwithstanding any other provision contained in G.S. 20‑141 or any other statute or law of this State, including municipal charters, any speed limit on any portion of the public highways within the jurisdiction of this State shall be uniformly applicable to all types of motor vehicles using such portion of the highway, if on November 1, 1973, such portion of the highway had a speed limit which was uniformly applicable to all types of motor vehicles using it. Provided, however, that a lower speed limit may be established for any vehicle operating under a special permit because of any weight or dimension of such vehicle, including any load thereon. The requirement for a uniform speed limit hereunder shall not apply to any portion of the highway during such time as the condition of the highway, weather, an accident, or other condition creates a temporary hazard to the safety of traffic on such portion of the highway.

(m)      The fact that the speed of a vehicle is lower than the foregoing limits shall not relieve the operator of a vehicle from the duty to decrease speed as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering the highway, and to avoid injury to any person or property.

(n)       Notwithstanding any other provision contained in G.S. 20‑141 or any other statute or law of this State, the failure of a motorist to stop his vehicle within the radius of its headlights or the range of his vision shall not be held negligence per se or contributory negligence per se.

(o)       A violation of G.S. 20‑123.2 shall be a lesser included offense in any violation of this section. No drivers license points or insurance surcharge shall be assessed on account of a violation of this subsection. (1937, c. 297, s. 2; c. 407, s. 103; 1939, c. 275; 1941, c. 347; 1947, c. 1067, s. 17; 1949, c. 947, s. 1; 1953, c. 1145; 1955, c. 398; c. 555, ss. 1, 2; c. 1042; 1957, c. 65, s. 11; c. 214; 1959, c. 640; c. 1264, s. 10; 1961, cc. 99, 1147; 1963, cc. 134, 456, 949; 1967, c. 106; 1971, c. 79, ss. 1‑3; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 1330, s. 7; 1975, c. 225; 1977, c. 367; c. 464, s. 34; c. 470; 1983, c. 131; 1985, c. 764, ss. 29, 30; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 852, s. 17; 1987, c. 164; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 818, s. 1; c. 1034, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, ss. 366, 367; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 652, s. 1; 1997‑341, s. 1; 1997‑443, s. 19.26(b); 1997‑488, s. 1; 1999‑330, s. 3; 2000‑109, s. 7(c); 2003‑110, s. 1; 2004‑203, s. 70(a); 2005‑349, s. 11.)