We're going to call the meeting of house committee on transportation to order. Like to welcome everyone to our committee meeting today. And we need to get started because representative Stevens has another committee meeting right after this. I'd like to acknowledge our sergeant at arms today of the house are Warren Hawkins, Martha Gadison, Joe Austing and B.H. Powell. Also today paging for us today is Melanie Armstead with representative George Stevens from Wake county. Brook Church from Wilkes county with representative Goeffry Elmore, Austin Johnson with McDow county representative Josh Dobson, and Josh Kirk Wake county representative Marliyn Avila. Good to have you all working with us this week pages. Our first bill on the agenda today is house bill one oh two, utility vehicles law enforcement sponsored by representative Davis. We need a motion to bring the PCS before us. So moved, representative Carney. Representative Davis. Ted I believe you microphone needs to be turned on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. House bill one oh two the proposed committee substitute, authorizes law enforcement officials, fire, rescue and emergency medical services personnel and municipal and county employees in enlisted jurisdictions to lawfully operate utility vehicles on some roads. In addition the bill adds the city of Willmington and the town of Enville to the list of municipalities who's municipal employees may operate utility vehicles and all terrain vehicles on certain roads. The present law, law enforcement officials and fire rescue and emergency medical service personnel acting in the course and scope of their duties and authorized to operate all terrain vehicles on road with a speed limit of thirty five miles per hour or less and cross over non controlled access roads. Also under the current law, municipal and county officials in thirty seven named municipalities and five named counties are authorized to operate motorized all terrain vehicles owned or leased to them on roads with a speed limit of thirty five miles per hour or less. And across non controlled access roads. What this bill does is to add utility vehicles to current law authorization for operation of all terrain vehicles by law enforcement officials and fire rescue and emergency medical services and municipal and county officials in the same named thirty seven municipalities and five counties. And it also adds the city of Willmington and the town of Enfield. And for your information a motorized all terrain vehicle which is what the current law addresses is defined as two or more wheeled vehicle designed for recreational off road use. A utility vehicle which this bill would add, is defined as a vehicle that is designed for off road use and used for general maintenance, security, agriculture or horticulture purposes. But does not include such things as a golf cart or a riding lawn mower or an all terrain vehicle. To give you a better idea of what we're talking about this is a blow up picture of what this vehicle would look like. And quite frankly in the city of Willmington the reason that I was asked to move this bill was because these vehicles are being used but because they are not able to be operated on public roads at this point they have to actually put them on a trailer and haul them to where ever they want to go to use them. And of course they have to find a place to put the trailer they have to take it back then they have to come back and get it when they're threw using the vehicle. I would say that Fred Bagget who is legislative council for the North Carolina association of chiefs of police is here and they endorse the bill. Debbie Clegg is here on behalf of the North Carolina state fireman's association. They support the bill. And I know of no opposition to the bill. But I'd be happy to answer any questions and I'd be happy to direct our police chief from Willmington, chief Martinette is here. And will be able to answer any questions any of you may have. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Jeter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman for a question for the bills sponsor. Representative Davis it
It seems like to me you’re basically saying that law enforcement officials and other ancillary officials can operate these on roads that go 35 MPH or less. My only question and my only concern and it may be in here and I may be missing it, does this allow it for 24 hours a day or does it only allow it during daylight hours because my concern would not be the daylight activity it would be the night time activity of these units. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman can I get Chief Martinette to answer that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, Chief? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chief Martinette, can you come forward and I’m sorry. Be sure to push the button down like I showed you and identify yourself. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chief, if you would identify yourself and who you’re with and so forth. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My name is Buddy Martinette and I’m the chief of the Wilmington fire department. I think I understood your question as to the appropriateness of operating these vehicles at night. The all terrain vehicles are actually better suited to be operated in all types of conditions, night or day, because they are required to have both front and rear lights and also turn signals. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Bratwell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have a question I think for staff if I may, although Representative Davis may know the answer to this. On page 2 in Subsection F where there are municipalities in certain counties listed, I’m curious if a county is listed does that then cover all the municipalities in the county or is it treated as just the county outside the boundaries of the municipality, so you have to list every municipality in every county if your purpose was to have this apply more broadly. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff may want to answer that. I know as a county commissioner for 16 years when we referred to New Hanover County, it was the unincorporated area of the county, but staff may. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Bill sponsor, would you like staff? Yes, I believe it would apply to any municipality or county within that county. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Speciale. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I certainly support law enforcement and the fire departments ane everything else, but these vehicles were not made for the road, that’s why they’re prohibited from the roads, and I always get nervous when we start talking about allowing government officials to do things that the citizens can’t do and I can think of a lot of companies or businesses or people that these would suit just as well. They would work very well in their business and their pursuits just as it would for law enforcement and fire and in an emergency I’m pretty sure that law enforcement and fire personnel can pretty much do what they have to do, so I don’t think that’s a question. So we’re not necessarily talking about emergencies, we’re talking about just everyday driving on the roads. If the vehicles were not made for crashes, they were not made for, they’re just not sturdy, so I just don’t understand why we believe that what they’ve got to do supercedes what all the citizens have to do and their businesses and everything else where this would be nice for them to be able to run them on those roads as well. And this is where I have a problem with it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, can I ask Chief Martinette to respond to that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, the primary purpose for the change in this to define this bill is primarily so that we can get the unit from wherever it’s housed to a festival area where the streets are generally closed. I don’t think it, at least in the Fire Department’s application, it is going to be used to traverse the roads on a 24 hour basis. This is a matter of convenience for actually getting the vehicle to the area where it will be operated. We don’t and the police department do not use these vehicles on a day to day basis to do our jobs. It’s only festivals, closed streets, large crowds and those sorts of things. It provides us an ability to maneuver inside those areas. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That actually is, you just presented my case. I don’t, again, there are other people that it would be convenient for them to be able to drive it from point A to point B. There’s the same here but we’re going to let the government do what the people are not authorized to do. I have a problem with it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Carney.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Do these vehicles have the markings of whether it's police or fire or emergency medical are they marked or are they just generic vehicles? [SPEAKER CHANGES] If I may here's an example it has police written across the dash front windshield and it has police markers on the back. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Are all the vehicles like with the fire department I might ask that of the chief if I might. Mr Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman could chief Martinette answer that question please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chief proceed. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes ma'am it is marked with Wilmington fire and EMS. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Dollar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman I have just one actually two things. One quick question and maybe staff can answer this, throughout the bill it has all terrain struck through then it has all terrain underlined and there's absolutely no difference. Just from a drafting stand point what's going on there in all those references and maybe staff can answer that question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman Giles Perry on the staff. Representative Dollar actually in the existing law there is a hyphen and our bill drafting manual has determined that there should not be a hyphen. Okay your eliminating a hyphen you can't see because of the strike through. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's right. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I got it. Okay all right thank you I appreciate that. I just couldn't figure that one out. Mr. Chairman it seems to me we have extended this to a number of communities I noticed a lot of these communities are along the coast but they're also else where. And at the appropriate time I'd be happy to offer a motion on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Yarborough. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So there is a list of communities this is legal in. Is there reason why all the communities aren't included in there? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don't know of any particular reason why it wasn't state wide but I have been approached by someone who wants to talk to me about possibly down the road making it state wide. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So when I see these being used at festivals in Roxboro, in Creedmore, in Oxford, they are breaking the law? [SPEAKER CHANGES] If they're being operated on the highways, yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm seeing them at the festival think he said the roads are closed and law enforcement is making an appearance but they're all riding around in these utility vehicles. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If they're riding on the roads contrary to what the present legislation is then they would be but could I ask, Mr. Chairman could I ask chief Martinette to respond to that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] And representative Davis I think the staff has an answer for that also. Mr. Pare. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr.Chairman. The existing law authorizes the use by law enforcement, fire and rescue and emergency folks in all communities around the state. The limitation is on city and county employees to the thirty seven listed communities and five counties. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Could I ask the chief? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. Chief. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir the vehicles are actually allowed to be operated when the streets are closed. And so when you see them operating in that environment where their festival is going on and the streets are closed that is lawful. It was unlawful for the all terrain vehicles the utility vehicles, I apologize, to be used on the public street outside of what was closed for the festival. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Dollar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. That may have answered what I was gonna my concern. I believe I heard representative Davis say the have to trailer those to that area and that helped solve this problem. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative McNeil. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, just a couple of clarifications on sections A and B there on the first page. Where it says they can only be used in thirty five mile an hour speed zones, and then non fully controlled access highways with higher speeds with the purpose of travelling. Could staff or representative Davis just kind of clarify that as to what other speed zones they can operate in and then one follow up
[SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative McNeill, staff was busy at that time would you repeat that question for ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Basically this bill is saying that they can travel in a 35 mile an hour speed zone and then also other speed zones that apparently where they’re traveling from one 35 zone to another 35 zone. Is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, that’s correct and I think that in most cases the speed zone to speed zone would be crossing a road with a higher speed limit [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is that just allowing them to cross the road or could they theoretically get on a road with a 55 mile an hour speed limit and go 5 miles until they get to another 35 mile an hour speed zone [SPEAKER CHANGES] No, I don’t believe it authorizes that, no. It says it has to be an adjacent speed zone. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, one follow up. A then also on the very last page on line 26 is the city of Wilmington now a county? [SPEAKER CHANGES] The PCS I believe corrects that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Craig, you may be looking – if I may Mister Chairman – you may be looking at the original bill. The PCS corrected that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m sorry. I’m looking at what was put on my desk. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Line 24 of the PCS should have corrected that. There was an error in the original bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Blackwell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just another clarification following up on Rep. Carny’s question about the markings on the vehicles. As I am looking at this quickly, there’s nothing in the existing statue or in the statue as it would be amended by this bill that would require such markings so I would assume the answers previously were typically there are markings but there’s nothing in here is there that would require the marking. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, I can answer that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] There is nothing in the current law that requires markings. There is requirement for the operator to carry official identification. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Hardister. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair, this is a question for the bill sponsor or the police chief. I was wondering how fast are these vehicles able to travel? [SPEAKER CHANGES] May I get Chief Martonette to answer that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chief would you please respond. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don’t know that there is in general a speed that they can or can’t go. I can’t imagine – the one that we have you’d have trouble going 35 mile an hour I don’t think. It really is designed for 20 to 25 but to be quite frank I’m not sure different manufactures don’t have different limits on how fast they can go. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? Response? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Adams. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, thank you Mr. Chairman. Question. These vehicles are going to be operating in traffic as I read this. Are they going to be licensed and tagged like other vehicles on the road? [SPEAKER CHANGES] May I ask the Chief? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chief Martonette, it might be better if you just come up here, but if you would just answer for me please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don’t – I don’t think that the vehicles is required to have a vehicle registration or license but I think staff might be better suited to answer that [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That’s correct these vehicles would not be licensed or tagged [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Would they be insured for movement in traffic? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chief? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, our vehicles are insure under our municipal insurance. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Boles did you want to ask your question? Okay. Okay. Representative Jeter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Can we pass these on the double yellow line? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Only in Mecklenburg County. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Fraley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, I have a question for the Chief. I’m aware in Iredell County we have some state parks there on the lake…
Where emergency workers were not allowed to go in on bicycle paths with a utility vehicle to bring people out that had been injured. Would this type vehicle be suitable for that and would this bill if the county was added to it cover such use as that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If I may, it’s the city of Wilmington and the city of Infiled that are being added but if I could ask the chief [??] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, with regards to your specific example sir, that may be a local ordinance and I’d have to defer to staff for a broad range of applications to state parks. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This bill would not address that situation. We’d have to research why that restriction was in place. This bill only applies to public roads, operation on public roads. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, if, follow up. If you could get that for me please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Brawley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was wondering if anyone from DOT is here to comment on this and also I was wondering what would be the implications if we made the application of this statewide for all municipalities. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is there anyone in the audience from DOT that would like to speak to this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If I could respond, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Davis. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Brawley, that’s a wonderful question. When I was asked to run this bill by the city of Wilmington I contacted the speaker’s office and I cannot remember the young man’s name but he works with Speaker Moore now and he used to work with the Department of Transportation. He helped me do this bill and he spoke with the Department of Transportation and to my knowledge there is no objection. There may be, are you from, Mr. Chairman [??] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, if you’ll identify yourself and what department you’re with. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My name is Kevin Lacey. I’m the state traffic engineer for NCDOT. In the past we have not opposed this type of bill when it’s limited to the 35 MPH speed limits as well as for law enforcement emergency issues and so forth. The 35 MPH speed limit, anything above that we would have a lot of concerns with and just because of the speed differential, the [??] and so forth. So we would not oppose the way this bill is written. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any follow up? Representative Boles. [SPEAKER CHANGES] [??] Just a couple of comments. First of I’ll I’ve been working with the, I think this is a statewide issue that needs to be resolved. I’ve been working with the firefighter’s association and I have a representative here that I’d just like to have his comments on it as well and because I think what we’re looking at is just terminology from a ATV to an all terrain. It’s just a definition of what they’re talking about and I think staff was correct. Everybody can use it now, it’s just changing the terminology, but Mr. Chair if I could ask you to indulge with the firefighter and ask him a questions please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, Representative Boles. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m Tim Bradley. I’m the Chairman of the North Carolina Firefighter’s Association. Currently the law has an exemption for fire rescue, police, EMS to utilize all terrain vehicles. The problem is the current laws also define all terrain vehicles as something like a four wheeler. They used to be tri wheelers. DMV defines utility vehicles separately in their log from all terrain vehicles, so the intent here was to expand the current allowance that fire departments, rescue squads, law enforcement, EMS, can use all terrain vehicles to include utility vehicles which are actually more practical for the purpose. For example, a gator as chief indicated could be used at a parade where you can’t access with full sized ambulances or full sized fire trucks, the gator can be used to remove a patient from the inside of your
out they can utilize the transport personnel from block to block when you can't move trucks in large areas. But the current law currently allows the use of ATV's which are four wheelers. We were just hoping to get the law expanded to include the gator type the larger seated with a steering wheel passenger position and maybe a cargo place to carry stokes baskets or equipment. But that's all the intent was to expand the current all terrain vehicle to include utility vehicles. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any questions for the speaker? Representative Brawley do you still have one? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I just want to follow up in respect to representative Davis I think need to go ahead and move this bill for you but I do think that it needs to be corrected. Either on the floor or the next step. But I have no intentions of holding this bill and I think it's a good bill but I think it's a state wide issue just in terminology. [SPEAKER CHANGES] With that representative Dollar for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman I move favorable report for the proposed committee substitute for house bill one oh two. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Unfavorable to the [SPEAKER CHANGES] Unfavorable to the original. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Second. Voice vote all in favor aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed. Thank you representative Davis. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman thank you members of the committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Now we call representative Sarah Stevens on house bill one thirty six, speed limit highway work zone. Welcome to transportation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair. Members of the committee I think there's been a little controversy created about this bill more contrary then it actually deserves or exist. Currently the law is we get into construction zones the speed limit drops and there's a penalty imposed. The additional penalty was imposed as an effort to protect workers. Well when the workers not there why should you impose the extra penalty? And that's all it does, it doesn't change the speed limit it doesn't allow speeding it simply says if there's no work going on the officer cannot impose the additional two hundred fifty dollar penalty. They can still impose the speeding fine the hundred dollar penalty associated with that. They just can't hit you with the extra two hundred fifty dollar penalty. What partly has happened and what brought it to my attention I guess is that we have on my drive to Raleigh form Mount Erie the first twenty miles I have three different construction going down and on the last twenty miles coming home it's four. Frequently there's nobody working in those zones and law enforcement officers are now being paid to go sit whenever they're off to get double time to ticket people in those communities whether their working or not. The whole purpose of that two hundred dollar penalty was to make it important that we were protecting the workers in these work zones. So all this bill does is says if your doing in the work zone before they can impose the two hundred fifty dollar extra penalty then it must be work going on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Adams. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes I'm familiar with the activity around I-77 and I-40 and that project is probably going to last over five years. It would seem to me, I'm offering this up as a thought that you can have an active or an inactive work zone identified by an electronic sign at the end of the thing. Because if there going to be going on for four or five years it would seem to me that would be a good thing for the public it adds emphasis to the fact it's an active zone versus an inactive zone. Just a thought. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And I debated that actually in terms of doing this bill but I knew that would be an additional cost on the construction company had having have them turn that light on and off. I don't have a problem with that if somebody wanted to amend it in that way. Because that was my initial thought if there's work going on then you post the flashing lights and people know. But I thought that was an extra expense. If somebody wants to propose that in an amendment that would be fine by me. I just don't know what that expense would add to the state construction. But your right these go on for a long time and a lot of times we ride through there and nothing is going on, nothing for a long time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Jeter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you representative Stevens for the bill. I don't have a problem with the first part of the language that says when workers aren't present, I'm paraphrasing,
Speaker changes: that is not what i have a problem is this is second part which i read it ?? believe the workers to be present in the are but if they not actively working the fine is reduced is well seems like if they are present regardless of they are working or not working is separate discussion ?? i think the previous was trying to save ?? i think they are actually pushing showers more than the cigarettes Speaker changes:i think the other issue comes up ?? going i don't have to judge the amendment looking for purposes and bringing in ?? it representing individuals there get take at it and they get work going on the 215 dollars fund ?? Speaker changes:follow up Speaker changes:yes sir Speaker changes:Representative ?? i agree with you 100% the police officer ?? someone contacted to improve the road structure the bridge structure whatever case in point for me i have lot of comfort-ability for separated ?? if there is people there they are supposed to be there ?? 10 minute break and not leave the side ?? so for me if we get into any worker on site if the point where they are no workers there at ll ?? Speaker changes:thank you Mr.Chairman i like to thank Representative Davis for bringing this however i ?? trying to explain what i thin is opposes and for whole part of this and for read the all what is says is ?? the highway worker one is the first sign that informs the ?? mo-torus the existence ?? and the last time it informs the ?? that is skipped on down and it's additional penalty only if science were posted at the beginning ?? but if you skip on down it shares secretary someone sure that work one can only be posted if the penalty sign if the secretary determines after engineering this review that posting his necessary to ensure the safety of the traveling public booth to ensure and to have this condition i will repeat only if after engineering review that posting is necessary to ensure traveling public to ensure the traveling public and there is two things going on here one is the construction line with during the destruction period creates an additional ?? not only the workers not only turn it on i don't understand this is this the public policy of safety and protecting the traveling public as well as the workers i don't know how the public policies and ?? change number 2 the people we are talking about is driver unfortunately screening through ? is behind them possible for my family and second things of that is we increase the ?? unfortunately 5 days go a gentlemen lost his wife by hit on rod my point if we pass this it creates confusion of workers drivers when we enter into travelers safety zone
Of travel hazards that’s been changed, of grooves, resufacing transitions, you know, those bumps when you transition across the switchbacks. All of those are conditions that are present whether workers are there or not and the confusion to the public exists is when they’re entering in they’re saying well, is this an active work zone or not. Even by taking the lights into account it doesn’t change the condition of the hazard of the driving environment. If we pass this we would be substituting our judgment for that of the DOT engineers and the question is when we constrict a lane from 12 feet down to 11 or down to 9, what’s the proper speed on that? I ask my colleagues. Do you know? I don’t but I know that there’s engineers who do know, and this is not the only thing. If it’s improperly being done, I think what we have to do is have some discussions with DOT about the management of those work zones and things and their primary policy, but I can’t get beyond the primary policy of this law and that’s to protect the public, traveling public safety, it doesn’t even mention the workers in this law. It says the traveling public and that hazard is not mitigated by simply reducing the penalties here. The difference is the change of condition between regular highways and a work zone and that’s when the penalties increase because it’s not just the driver, it’s that person behind you and beside you and the worker, so unfortunately I am an emphatic no against this. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Stevens would you like to respond? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. One, have any of you, and please tell me if you have, have any of you seen a work zone in which the secretary has not determined that penalty signs are appropriate. I’ve never seen a work zone where there’s not the penalty sign posted. The primary response I have to Representative Arp, though, is this bill does nothing to change the reduction of speed limit. The reduction of speed limit is still there. The only thing it removes is the $250 penalty when workers are not there. When workers are not there, that’s all you’re doing is removing the penalty because that intention was to protect the worker in their office, in their being on the street, so it doesn’t do anything to change the speed limit that DOT has set, it just limits the penalty. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Dollar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, a couple of points. One and with all due respect to bill sponsor, I’m married to an attorney and this sounds like an attorney’s bill to me, and the reason I say that and I don’t mean to really make sport as much as I sound like I am. You do, I mean, you are gonna have a difficult time determining, and I’ll give you a good example. I was out in the Hinterlands on Saturday. I passed a work zone where they’re building a new bridge. At first it didn’t look like there was any activity going on, a lot of cranes sitting around, a lot of bulldozers sitting around, stuff like that, but there was actually like one person over there tending a fire of debris and stuff they had cleared that was as high as this ceiling, and so there was somebody there working. Now they were, I don’t know, 30-40 yards off of where the path was, so the question would become in court, somebody that, you know, somebody that has resources that for them it might matter because of how many points they have or some sort of scenario, you could end up in court and I know this is more for the Judiciary Committee to think about, but you could certainly end up in court debating about what constitutes work going on in the work zone and what doesn’t constitute work actively in progress at the time of the violation. I mean, that’s, that part of the phrase seems like it could be potentially problematic down the road in court. I would just simply two quick things. One, I would echo what Representative Arp said so eloquently. Frankly I agree with Representative Arp’s position on this. The other thing is is that you certainly don’t want it to acquire any amendments that would expend money because then I would insist on it coming to Appropriations and you can imagine what I might do with it there or not do with it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Jeeter, do you have an amendment? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do have an amendment that I think
will at least address part of Representative Dollar's concern. I'd like to send it forth to the committee. SPEAKER CHANGES Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Stand. SPEAKER CHANGES Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Representative Jeter moves to amend the bill on page 1, line 15 by rewriting that line to read, highway constructions workers are present at the time of the violation. The Secretary, quote. And amending the title accordingly. SPEAKER CHANGES If I could explain, this is going to-- SPEAKER CHANGES Representative Jeter. SPEAKER CHANGES Thank you, Mr. Chair. This is simply what Representative Stevens and I just talked about, which is, if there are highway workers present, the fine's in place. If no one's on site, then Sarah Steven's bill is in place. It just, it takes away the idea of trying to determine what is or is not work. SPEAKER CHANGES Representative Brawley, is this for the amendment? SPEAKER CHANGES Yes, it is. I know I was cued up to speak, because--Representative Stevens's initial point made a lot of sense to me because when I come up I-85 there's a long stretch of work zone where the road's in great shape but there are just barrels down the side of the road. And I have noticed that there is a certain lack of respect for that speed limit by the other cars who are blowing past me and rating my driving, usually with a low number. But it had occurred to me that the point that some of the complaints I've heard, you know, if construction equipment is there, or if the road is in bad shape, like 485 was, where the road is uneven. And I was thinking at the time that it might even make sense to displace the bill for a meeting, and see if we could put in some language about the presence of equipment or road hazards due to construction, would leave the higher fine in place. And then in those cases where the road's smooth and they're just waiting for the concrete to cure and there's nothing big and heavy and yellow for you to hit and tear up your car, and the road is flat and you don't suddenly hit a dip or a change in the level of the roads, where you are not a danger to navigation to others, that I think your bill would make perfect sense. That was something I was going to make before the amendment came up, but I think we would have problems if the amendment passed and then we'd amend the amendment might be out of order. And my intent here is to try to help you get this to a point where we can move it forward. SPEAKER CHANGES Representative Brawley, I'm in agreement. We might need to move--displace it and come back, because we've got about eight people that would like to speak, plus people in the audience that want to speak, and Agriculture has this room at 1:00. So Representative Stevens, are you amenable to that? SPEAKER CHANGES Mr. Chair, I am very amenable to that, but I would love to hear from the Secretary to talk about whether there are roads that that don't impose, and maybe it's something we can work on administratively as well, because some of those are very easy to work through and some of those have separate barriers for the equipment, and all of those are--I'd welcome a working committee. SPEAKER CHANGES Would you like for them to speak at this time, and let them be the last speaker for the Transportation Committee today, or? SPEAKER CHANGES I defer to you. SPEAKER CHANGES Is someone from Transportation that would like to speak to this, would like to come to the podium? Or DOT? SPEAKER CHANGES Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Kevin Lacy, State Traffic Engineer for NCDOT. We do actually have a lot of work zones across the state that do not have the penalty. In fact, a few years ago we worked through the General Assembly to revise the statute to where we could post a limit, primarily where there is--and the penalty--primarily where there is the major concern. If you do see work zones that have the speed limit and the penalty for the entire work zone, and you go miles and miles without having a reason to slow down, let us know, because that's not our intent. We very--we understand and hear the concern and the purpose of this bill, and that was the purpose of the changes that we made, so we could write a--in fact, we write variable speed limits in these cases where it is 65 miles an hour until you to where the lane closed, is closed, or where we have a concern, and then it drops the speed limit. And that's also where we have the additional penalty. And then after you go through that area, the speed limit will go back up and the penalty will go away. A lot of the--if you're looking at long sections where we're resurfacing, then it's kind of difficult to move that all the time because you're moving every--you're constantly moving in those type of scenarios. But for, again, those very long type roads or projects, we do do that.
It does take a special approval process to get the penalty and the lower speed limit. Whenever a project comes through where the engineers or the contractor request a lower speed limit, I require the state traffic management engineer who oversees the work zone traffic control program to justify that lower speed limit and penalty and I actually sign the ordinance to make that effective. We've been work on this issue for a number of years and would love to take the opportunity to look at the specific work zones that you're having concerns with. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Stevens. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair, do you want to appoint a littie subcommittee of your committee to look at this or do you just want some NCT[?] people to contact me at your pleasure? [SPEAKER CHANGES] What's the pleasure of the committee? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Brawley, do you want a subcommittee? [SPEAKER CHANGES] From this committee, to look in to this? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, that works. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That works? So moved? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mm-hm. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All in favor of that, aye. All opposed? Committee's adjourned.