On Wednesday, July 10, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a law prohibiting the issuance of a PJC (Prayer for Judgment Continued) in cases of passing a stopped school bus. Representative Dale Folwell (R-Forsyth) sponsored this legislation on the heels of his School Bus Safety Act during last year’s legislative session. That bill increased the penalties for passing a stopped school bus.
During May and June (and now, July) – the General Assembly’s “Short Session”, the only bills that can be addressed are those that have already passed one house of the legislature (in 2005) or that affect the state budget. Folwell had to first get a resolution through the House and Senate allowing his bill to be introduced. This resolution, filed May 22, (http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2005/Bills/House/HTML/H2341v2.html) was approved by committee on the 31st and passed by the full House on June 6 at which time it was sent to the Senate. In the Senate it went through committee and to the full Senate, passing on June 15. Again, this merely gave Folwell permission to file his non-budget-related bill, which he did the same day. In what seemed like lightning speed in the legislative process, the bill was heard in committee and passed the House by June 30 and went through the same process in the Senate, passing unanimously on July 12.
A PJC essentially means that judgment is postponed to a future date and eventually dropped if the motorist doesn’t get into further trouble. If the motorist has future violations, then the charge is reinstated; otherwise it is erased from his/her record.
School Bus Safety Act
2005 Law - Stiffer Penalties for Stoparm Violations
New Law - No PJC for Stoparm Violations
This year’s annual stop arm count in North Carolina was the highest number in recent years, with drivers reporting over 2400 violations on a single day.
For more information on this subject, refer to the Stop Arm Violation Web Page.