Bill signed into law to allow license plate readers on NCDOT-owned roads

On Thursday, Nov. 9, Gov. Roy Cooper signed Senate bills 274 and 409 into law.
Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 11:46 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2023 at 11:48 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - On Thursday, Nov. 9, Gov. Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 409 into law.

Part five of Session Law 2023-151, “Pilot Program to Authorize Automatic License Plate Readers in State Rights-of-Way,” authorizes the North Carolina Department of Transportation to enter into agreements with the State Bureau of Investigation to install automatic license plate readers within land or right-of-ways owned by the NCDOT.

The pilot program is set to become effective on Jan. 1, and it, along with any agreements entered into under it, will expire on July 1 of 2025.

According to the law, data obtained by the readers “shall be obtained, accessed, preserved, or disclosed only for law enforcement purposes,” however data “shall not be used for the enforcement of traffic violations.”

Defined by the law, law enforcement purposes for which data obtained can be used include:

  • “Actions related to criminal investigations, arrests, prosecutions, post-conviction confinement, or supervision.
  • Apprehending an individual with an outstanding felony warrant.
  • Locating a missing or endangered person.
  • Locating a lost or stolen vehicle.”

“Captured plate data obtained in accordance with this Article is confidential and not a public record as that term is defined in G.S. 132-1,” the law states. “Data shall not be disclosed except to a criminal justice officer at a State or local law enforcement agency or a similar official at a federal law enforcement agency for a legitimate law enforcement purpose pursuant to a written request from the requesting agency.

“Written requests may be in electronic format. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as requiring the disclosure of captured plate data if a law enforcement agency determines that disclosure will compromise an ongoing investigation. Captured plate data shall not be sold for any purpose.”

By no later than April 15 of 2025, NCSBI must submit an initial report “to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety and the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee on automatic license plate reader systems placed on rights-of-way owned or maintained by the Department of Transportation.”

The initial and final report, to be submitted no later that Oct. 1 of 2025, “shall contain the written policy governing use of each automatic license plate reader system, the number of requests for captured data by requesting agency, and the amount of data preserved for more than 90 days compared to the amount of data captured during the pilot program.”

Cooper also signed SB 274 into law on the same day, which exempts some home assistance services from home care licensure requirements.