GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SESSION LAW 2009-461
SENATE BILL 69
AN ACT to make certain parts of a rule adopted by the department of crime control and public safety relating to rotation wrecker services void and unenforceable and to direct the secretary to adopt rules consistent with this act and to amend the duties of the highway patrol.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the authority of the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety to adopt rules for the maintenance and operation of a Highway Patrol rotation wrecker system, the amendments to 14A NCAC 09H.0321(10), which became effective on July 18, 2008, are void and unenforceable to the extent such amendments:
(1) Limit submission of initial applications and reapplications for inclusion in the Highway Patrol rotation wrecker list to an annual open enrollment period.
(2) Limit vehicle storage fees to the maximum allowed by G.S. 20‑28.3.
(3) Require that towing and recovery fees be within fifteen percent (15%) of the median price charged within the applicable Highway Patrol Troop.
Notwithstanding the limitations set out in this section, the Highway Patrol may require that wrecker services, when responding to rotation wrecker calls, charge reasonable fees for services rendered and that any fee charged for rotation services not exceed the wrecker service's charges for nonrotation service calls that provide the same service, labor, and conditions.
SECTION 2. The Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety shall adopt amendments to 14A NCAC 09H.0321(10) to conform to the requirements of this act.
SECTION 3. G.S. 20‑188 reads as rewritten:
"§ 20‑188. Duties of Highway Patrol.
The State Highway Patrol shall be subject to such orders, rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, with the approval of the Governor, and shall regularly patrol the highways of the State and enforce all laws and regulations respecting travel and the use of vehicles upon the highways of the State and all laws for the protection of the highways of the State. To this end, the members of the Patrol are given the power and authority of peace officers for the service of any warrant or other process issuing from any of the courts of the State having criminal jurisdiction, and are likewise authorized to arrest without warrant any person who, in the presence of said officers, is engaged in the violation of any of the laws of the State regulating travel and the use of vehicles upon the highways, or of laws with respect to the protection of the highways, and they shall have jurisdiction anywhere within the State, irrespective of county lines. The State Highway Patrol shall enforce the provisions of G.S. 14‑399.
The State Highway Patrol shall have full power and authority to perform such additional duties as peace officers as may from time to time be directed by the Governor, and such officers may at any time and without special authority, either upon their own motion or at the request of any sheriff or local police authority, arrest persons accused of highway robbery, bank robbery, murder, or other crimes of violence.
The Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety shall direct the officers and members of the State Highway Patrol in the performance of such other duties as may be required for the enforcement of the motor vehicle laws of the State.
Members of the State Highway Patrol, in addition to the duties, power and authority hereinbefore given, shall have the authority throughout the State of North Carolina of any police officer in respect to making arrests for any crimes committed in their presence and shall have authority to make arrests for any crime committed on any highway.
Regardless of territorial jurisdiction, any member of the State Highway Patrol who initiates an investigation of an accident or collision may not relinquish responsibility for completing the investigation, or for filing criminal charges as appropriate, without clear assurance that another law‑enforcement officer or agency has fully undertaken responsibility, and in such cases he shall render reasonable assistance to the succeeding officer or agency if requested.
The State Highway Patrol recognizes the need to utilize private wrecker services to remove vehicles from public roadways as part of its public safety responsibility. In order to assure that this public safety responsibility is accomplished, the Troop Commander shall include on the Highway Patrol's rotation wrecker list only those wrecker services which agree in writing to impose reasonable charges for work performed and present one bill to the owner or operator of any towed vehicle. Towing, storage, and related fees charged may not be greater than fees charged for the same service for nonrotation calls that provide the same service, labor, and conditions."
SECTION 4. This act is effective when it becomes law.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 30th day of July, 2009.
s/ Marc Basnight
President Pro Tempore of the Senate
s/ Joe Hackney
Speaker of the House of Representatives
s/ Beverly E. Perdue
Approved 12:30 p.m. this 7th day of August, 2009