SESSION LAW 2006-140




AN ACT to modify the seat belt use statutes to enhance the use of seat belts.


The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:


SECTION 1.  G.S. 20-135.2A reads as rewritten:

" 20-135.2A.  Seat belt use mandatory.

(a)       Each front seat occupant who is 16 years of age or older and each driver of a passenger Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 20-137.1, each occupant of a motor vehicle manufactured with seat belts shall have a seat belt properly fastened about his or her body at all times when the vehicle is in forward motion on a street or highway in this State.

(b)       "Passenger Motor Vehicle," as used in this section, means a motor vehicle with motive power designed for carrying 10 passengers or fewer, but does not include a motorcycle, a motorized pedacycle or a trailer.

(c)       This section shall not apply to any of the following:

(1)       A driver or occupant of a noncommercial motor vehicle with a medical or physical condition that prevents appropriate restraint by a safety belt or with a professionally certified mental phobia against the wearing of vehicle restraints;

(2)       A motor vehicle operated by a rural letter carrier of the United States Postal Service while performing duties as a rural letter carrier and a motor vehicle operated by a newspaper delivery person while actually engaged in delivery of newspapers along the person's specified route;

(3)       A driver or passenger frequently stopping and leaving the vehicle or delivering property from the vehicle if the speed of the vehicle between stops does not exceed 20 miles per hour;

(4)       Any vehicle registered and licensed as a property carrying vehicle in accordance with G.S. 20-88 while being used for agricultural or commercial purposes; purposes in intrastate commerce;

(5)       A motor vehicle not required to be equipped with seat safety belts under federal law. ; or

(6)       Any occupant of a motor home, as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(27)d2, other than the driver and front seat passengers.

(d)       Evidence of failure to wear a seat belt shall not be admissible in any criminal or civil trial, action, or proceeding except in an action based on a violation of this section or as justification for the stop of a vehicle or detention of a vehicle operator and passengers.

(d1)     Failure of a rear seat occupant of a vehicle to wear a seat belt shall not be justification for the stop of a vehicle.

(e)       Any driver or front seat passenger who fails to wear a seat belt as required by this section shall have committed an infraction and shall pay a penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) plus court costs in the sum of fifty dollars ($50.00). Any rear seat occupant of a vehicle who fails to wear a seat belt as required by this section shall have committed an infraction and shall pay a penalty of ten dollars ($10.00) and no court costs. Court costs assessed under this section are for the support of the General Court of Justice and shall be remitted to the State Treasurer. Conviction of an infraction under this section has no other consequence.

(f)        No drivers license points or insurance surcharge shall be assessed on account of violation of this section.

(g)       The Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Instruction shall incorporate in driver education programs and driver licensing programs instructions designed to encourage compliance with this section as an important means of reducing the severity of injury to the users of restraint devices and on the requirements and penalties specified in this law.

(h)       Repealed by Session Laws 1999-183, s. 3, effective October 1, 1999."

SECTION 2.  This act becomes effective December 1, 2006, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date. Law enforcement agencies shall issue only warnings for violations of this act with regards to backseat passengers in motor vehicles from December 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007.  On July 1, 2007, law enforcement agencies may begin issuing citations, or taking other enforcement action, for violations of this act with regards to backseat passengers. Front seat passengers not in compliance with this act may continue to be issued citations to ensure compliance with this section.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 11th day of July, 2006.



                                                                    s/ Beverly E. Perdue

                                                                         President of the Senate



                                                                    s/ James B. Black

                                                                         Speaker of the House of Representatives



                                                                    s/ Michael F. Easley




Approved 7:36 p.m. this 19th day of July, 2006