(aka The Street-legal NC SXS Bill)
Thanks for your patience!
The Senate Transportation Committee Hearing this past Wednesday (4/14) went well!
“For Discussion Only”
Senate Bill 241 was up for discussion only (not a vote), as there were some recent changes to the bill regarding UTVs operating on four-lane roads.
Originally, in the first draft of the bill, UTVs weren’t allowed to operate on four-lane roads because the NCDOT wanted to keep UTVs off four-lane highways and thought this was the best way to do this.
“…but a modified utility vehicle shall not be operated on any street or highway having four or more lanes regardless of the posted speed limit.”Senate Bill 241, G.S. 20-121.1 (1)
The four-lane highway provision is in the process of being changed so that UTVs are allowed to operate on four-lane roads posted 35 mph and below. This is great news for small beach, mountain, and other tourist towns.
In front of my shop in West Jefferson, there is a four lane, 35 mph road, which is 2nd Street. It runs into Main Street. Without this text mod, my renters wouldn’t be able to pull out and drive to main street. This also would be the case in other small towns that depend on tourism and ultimately, it would be detrimental tourism if it was left unchanged. This is the big pic!
I realize some of you may have strong opinions on only being able to drive on four lane roads that are posted 35 mph and below. I’ll have you know, we have to essentially take what we can get right now. If the bill passes and all goes well with North Carolinians staying safe on the roads in NC – in two years, we can amend Senate Bill 241 as we’re doing with House Bill 307 to gain more ground.
If we ask for everything right now upfront, the bill would fail. The NCDOT and others would oppose, so we have to take small steps.
Additional Info on the Committee Hearing
Okay, so here’s the rundown…
Senator Jarvis introduced the bill to the Senate Transportation Committee this past Wednesday (4/14/21).
Senator Jarvis gave a concise presentation in front of the committee covering most of the commonsensical points you’re probably thinking of, then he took questions from the other senators in attendance.
The senators main concerns and questions to Senator Jarvis were as follows:
- Mud on the roads
- Impact on the integrity of the roads
This is the gist.
I’ll have you know, Senator Jarvis knocked each of their questions out of the park with solid answers.
After the questions were answered, a representative from the NCDOT got up and spoke for roughly two minutes. The main take away from their comment was that they would like to further review the 35 mph change.
The DOT is mostly in favor of the bill now, from what we can gather, as it satisfied their two biggest concerns:
- UTVs not being allowed on major four-lane highways (i.e. I40, 421, etc.).
- Providing them with the authority to deem them unsafe and take them off the roads if accidents and etc. happen
Regarding number two… this means, if this bill passes, you guys have to act responsibly on the roads -or- UTVs will no longer be allowed to operate on the roads as the NCDOT can at any time pull the cord.
The Notwithstanding the provisions of any other subdivision of this section, the Department of Transportation may prohibit the operation of low-speed, vehicles, mini-trucks, or modified utility vehicles on any road or highway if it, determines that the prohibition is necessary in the interest of safety.Senate Bill 241, G.S. 20-121.1.4
Another side note: after this bill passes, we’re going to need to create social pressure.
Back to it….
After the DOT spoke, I can a two-minute public comment, which was all that was allowed.
Here’s the video:
It was slightly more intimidating than you would think looking at 15 senators lol. It doesn’t capture the large panel 50-60 ft in front of me and the senators and legislative assistants sitting in front of me and off to the sides.
Here’s a few snapshots.
Here is essentially what I covered in the two minutes that was allotted:
Okay, so you may be asking – “what happens now?“
The bill could go for a vote in the transportation committee as early as next week.
Based on this week’s past hearing, it’s a high probability it’s going to pass with strong support. Most of the senators, outside one from Asheville, were in support it seems.
If it makes it through the transportation committee, it will then likely go to the revenue committee, since registrations and taxes will be involved. After that, it will go to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Before that vote, I’ll be asking everyone to reach out to their senators.
If it passes the Senate, it will go to the house and through the same process. If it passes the Senate, it’s a high probability it will pass the house, but we can’t let our guard down. We will cross that bridge when we get there.
As of now, if you haven’t reached out to your senator for your area, now’s a great time to do so.
I’m not talking about the transportation committee members, I’m talking about your actual senator over your area. Contact him or her. The reason being, it would be great to go ahead and prep them for the floor vote.
To find the senator over your area, simply do a two-second Google search.
If you guys have any questions or need anything, feel free to email or direct message me.
P.S. Additional Resources
Check out the evolution of the North Carolina Street-Legal SXS Movement: