Written by attorney Bill Powers

Passenger Vehicle - LEGAL DEFINITION - North Carolina Reference Materials

§ 20-4.01. Definitions.

(27) Passenger Vehicles. –

a. Excursion passenger vehicles. – Vehicles transporting persons on sight-seeing or travel tours.

b. For hire passenger vehicles. – Vehicles transporting persons for compensation. This classification shall not include vehicles operated as ambulances; vehicles operated by the owner where the costs of operation are shared by the passengers; vehicles operated pursuant to a ridesharing arrangement as defined in G.S. 136-44.21; vehicles transporting students for the public school system under contract with the State Board of Education or vehicles leased to the United States of America or any of its agencies on a nonprofit basis; or vehicles used for human service or volunteer transportation.

c. Common carriers of passengers. – Vehicles operated under a certificate of authority issued by the Utilities Commission for operation on the highways of this State between fixed termini or over a regular route for the transportation of persons for compensation.

c1. Child care vehicles. – Vehicles under the direction and control of a child care facility, as defined in G.S. 110-86(3), and driven by an owner, employee, or agent of the child care facility for the primary purpose of transporting children to and from the child care facility, or to and from a place for participation in an event or activity in connection with the child care facility.

d. Motorcycles. – Vehicles having a saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, including motor scooters and motor-driven bicycles, but excluding tractors and utility vehicles equipped with an additional form of device designed to transport property, three-wheeled vehicles while being used by law-enforcement agencies and mopeds as defined in subdivision d1 of this subsection.

d1. Moped. – Defined in G.S. 105-164.3.

d2. Motor home or house car. – A vehicular unit, designed to provide temporary living quarters, built into as an integral part, or permanently attached to, a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis or van. The vehicle must provide at least four of the following facilities: cooking, refrigeration or icebox, self-contained toilet, heating or air conditioning, a portable water supply system including a faucet and sink, separate 110-125 volt electrical power supply, or an LP gas supply.

d3. School activity bus. – A vehicle, generally painted a different color from a school bus, whose primary purpose is to transport school students and others to or from a place for participation in an event other than regular classroom work. The term includes a public, private, or parochial vehicle that meets this description.

d4. School bus. – A vehicle whose primary purpose is to transport school students over an established route to and from school for the regularly scheduled school day, that is equipped with alternately flashing red lights on the front and rear and a mechanical stop signal, that is painted primarily yellow below the roofline, and that bears the plainly visible words "School Bus" on the front and rear. The term includes a public, private, or parochial vehicle that meets this description.

e. U-drive-it passenger vehicles. – Passenger vehicles included in the definition of U-drive-it vehicles set forth in this section.

f. Ambulances. – Vehicles equipped for transporting wounded, injured, or sick persons.

g. Private passenger vehicles. – All other passenger vehicles not included in the above definitions.

h. Low-speed vehicle. A four-wheeled electric vehicle whose top speed is greater than 20 miles per hour but less than 25 miles per hour.

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