20-279.5. Security required unless evidence of insurance; when security determined; suspension; exceptions.

(a) When the Division receives a report of a reportable accident under G.S. 20-166.1, the Commissioner must determine whether the owner or driver of a vehicle involved in the accident must file security under this Article and, if so, the amount of security the owner or driver must file. The Commissioner must make this determination at the end of 20 days after receiving the report.

(b) The Commissioner shall, within 60 days after the receipt of such report of a motor vehicle accident, suspend the license of each operator and each owner of a motor vehicle in any manner involved in such accident, and if such operator or owner is a nonresident the privilege of operating a motor vehicle within this State, unless such operator or owner, or both, shall deposit security in the sum so determined by the Commissioner; provided, notice of such suspension shall be sent by the Commissioner to such operator and owner not less than 10 days prior to the effective date of such suspension and shall state the amount required as security; provided further, the provisions of this Article requiring the deposit of security and the suspension of license for failure to deposit security shall not apply to an operator or owner who would otherwise be required to deposit security in an amount not in excess of one hundred dollars ($100.00). Where erroneous information is given the Commissioner with respect to the matters set forth in subdivisions (1), (2) or (3) of subsection (c) of this section or with respect to the ownership or operation of the vehicle, the extent of damage and injuries, or any other matters which would have affected the Commissioner's action had the information been previously submitted, he shall take appropriate action as hereinbefore provided, within 60 days after receipt by him of correct information with respect to said matters. The Commissioner, upon request and in his discretion, may postpone the effective date of the suspension provided in this section by 15 days if, in his opinion, such extension would aid in accomplishing settlements of claims by persons involved in accidents.

(c) This section shall not apply under the conditions stated in G.S. 20-279.6 nor:

(1) To such operator or owner if such owner had in effect at the time of such accident an automobile liability policy with respect to the motor vehicle involved in such accident;

(2) To such operator, if not the owner of such motor vehicle, if there was in effect at the time of such accident a motor vehicle liability policy or bond with respect to his operation of motor vehicles not owned by him;

(3) To such operator or owner if the liability of such operator or owner for damages resulting from such accident is, in the judgment of the Commissioner, covered by any other form of liability insurance policy or bond or sinking fund or group assumption of liability;

(4) To any person qualifying as a self-insurer, nor to any operator for a self-insurer if, in the opinion of the Commissioner from the information furnished him, the operator at the time of the accident was probably operating the vehicle in the course of the operator's employment as an employee or officer of the self-insurer; nor

(5) To any employee of the United States government while operating a vehicle in its service and while acting within the scope of his employment, such operations being fully protected by the Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946, which affords ample security to all persons sustaining personal injuries or property damage through the negligence of such federal employee.

No such policy or bond shall be effective under this section unless issued by an insurance company or surety company authorized to do business in this State, except that if such motor vehicle was not registered in this State, or was a motor vehicle which was registered elsewhere than in this State at the effective date of the policy or bond, or the most recent renewal thereof, or if such operator not an owner was a nonresident of this State, such policy or bond shall not be effective under this section unless the insurance company or surety company if not authorized to do business in this State shall execute a power of attorney authorizing the Commissioner to accept service on its behalf of notice or process in any action upon such policy, or bond arising out of such accident, and unless said insurance company or surety company, if not authorized to do business in this State, is authorized to do business in the state or other jurisdiction where the motor vehicle is registered or, if such policy or bond is filed on behalf of an operator not an owner who was a nonresident of this State, unless said insurance company or surety company, if not authorized to do business in this State, is authorized to do business in the state or other jurisdiction of residence of such operator; provided, however, every such policy or bond is subject, if the accident has resulted in bodily injury or death, to a limit, exclusive of interest and cost, of not less than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to said limit for one person, to a limit of not less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and, if the accident has resulted in injury to or destruction of property, to a limit of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident. (1953, c. 1300, s. 5; 1955, cc. 138, 854; c. 855, s. 1; c. 1152, ss. 4-8; c. 1355; 1967, c. 277, s. 2; 1971, c. 763, s. 3; 1973, c. 745, s. 2; 1979, c. 832, s. 2; 1983, c. 691, s. 2; 1991, c. 469, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 837, s. 10; 1995, c. 191, s. 5; 1999-228, s. 2.)