(a) A traffic control photographic system is an electronic system consisting of a photographic, video, or electronic camera and a vehicle sensor installed to work in conjunction with an official traffic control device to automatically produce photographs, video, or digital images of each vehicle violating a standard traffic control statute or ordinance.
(b) Any traffic control photographic system or any device which is a part of that system, as described in subsection (a) of this section, installed on a street or highway which is a part of the state highway system shall meet requirements established by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Any traffic control system installed on a street within the Town of Cary shall meet standards established by the Town of Cary and shall be consistent with any standards set by the Department of Transportation.
(c) Any traffic control photographic system installed on a street or highway shall be identified by appropriate advance warning signs conspicuously posted not more than three hundred (300) feet from the location of the traffic control photographic system. All advance warning signs shall be consistent with a statewide standard adopted by the Department of Transportation in conjunction with the Town of Cary.
(d) The Town of Cary may adopt ordinances for the civil enforcement of G.S. 20-158 by means of a traffic control photographic system, as described in subsection (a) of this section. If the Town of Cary adopts an ordinance pursuant to this section then, notwithstanding G.S. 20-176, a violation of G.S. 20-158 detected only by a traffic control photographic system shall not be an infraction. If a violation of G.S. 20-158 is detected by both a law enforcement officer and a traffic control photographic system, the officer may charge the offender with an infraction. If the officer charges the offender with an infraction, a civil penalty issued by the Town of Cary for the same offense is void and unenforceable. An ordinance authorized by this subsection shall provide that:
(1) The owner of a vehicle shall be responsible for a violation unless the owner can furnish evidence that the vehicle was, at the time of the violation, in the care, custody, or control of another person. The owner of the vehicle shall not be responsible for the violation if the owner of the vehicle, within thirty (30) days after receiving notification of the violation, furnishes the office of the Mayor any of the following:
a. An affidavit stating the name and address of the person or company who had the care, custody, and control of the vehicle.
b. An affidavit stating that the vehicle involved was, at the time, stolen. The affidavit must be supported with evidence that supports the affidavit, including insurance or police report information.
c. An affidavit stating that the person who received the citation is not the owner or driver of the vehicle, or that the person who received the citation was not driving a vehicle at the time and location designated in the citation.
(2) Subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply, and the registered owner of the vehicle shall not be responsible for the violation, if notice of the violation is given to the registered owner of the vehicle more than 90 days after the date of the violation.
(3) A violation detected by a traffic control photographic system shall be deemed a noncriminal violation for which a civil penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00) shall be assessed and for which no points authorized by G.S. 20-16(c) shall be assigned to the owner or driver of the vehicle nor insurance points as authorized by G.S. 58-36-65.
(4) The owner of the vehicle shall be issued a citation that shall be attached to photographic evidence of the violation that identifies the vehicle involved. The citation shall clearly state the manner in which the violation may be challenged. The owner of the vehicle shall comply with the directions on the citation. The citation shall be processed by officials or agents of the Town of Cary and shall be forwarded by personal service or first-class mail to the address given on the motor vehicle registration. If the owner fails to pay the civil penalty or to respond to the citation within the time period specified on the citation, the owner shall have waived the right to contest responsibility for the violation and shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00). The Town of Cary may establish procedures for the collection of these penalties and may enforce the penalties by civil action in the nature of debt.
(5) The Town of Cary shall establish a nonjudicial administrative hearing process to review objections to citations or penalties issued or assessed under this section. The Town of Cary may establish an appeals panel composed of Town employees to review objections. If the Town of Cary does not establish an appeals panel composed of Town employees, the Mayor shall review and make a final decision on all objections.
(e) The duration of the yellow light change interval at intersections where traffic control photographic systems are in use shall be no less than the yellow light change interval duration on the traffic signal plan of record signed and sealed by a professional engineer, licensed in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 89C of the General Statutes, and shall comply with the provisions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
(f) The Town of Cary upon enacting an ordinance implementing a traffic control photographic system may enter into a contract with a contractor for the lease, lease-purchase, or purchase of the system. The Town of Cary may enter into only one contract for the lease, lease-purchase, or purchase of the system and the duration of the contract may be for no more than sixty (60) months. After the period specified in the contract has expired, the system shall either be the property of the Town of Cary or the system shall be removed and returned to the contractor.
(g) The clear proceeds from the citations issued pursuant to the ordinance authorized by this section shall be paid to the Wake County school fund. The clear proceeds from the citations shall mean the funds remaining after paying for the lease, lease-purchase, or purchase of the traffic control photographic system; paying a contractor for operating the system; and paying any administrative costs incurred by the Town of Cary related to the use of the system.
(N.C.S.L. Ch. 2001-286; N.C.S.L. Ch. 2003-380; N.C.S.L. Ch. 2004-141; Ord. No. 06-001, § 11, 2-9-2006; N.C.S.L. Ch. 2010-132)