2017 North Dakota Century Code
Title 39 Motor Vehicles
Chapter 39-08 Regulations Governing Operators
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REGULATIONS GOVERNING OPERATORS
39-08-01. Persons under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any other drugs or
substances not to operate vehicle - Penalty.
1. A person may not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle upon a highway
or upon public or private areas to which the public has a right of access for vehicular
use in this state if any of the following apply:
a. That person has an alcohol concentration of at least eight one-hundredths of one
percent by weight at the time of the performance of a chemical test within two
hours after the driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle.
b. That person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
c. That person is under the influence of any drug or substance or combination of
drugs or substances to a degree which renders that person incapable of safely
d. That person is under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drugs or
substances to a degree which renders that person incapable of safely driving.
e. That individual refuses to submit to any of the following:
(1) A chemical test, or tests, of the individual's blood, breath, or urine to
determine the alcohol concentration or presence of other drugs, or
combination thereof, in the individual's blood, breath, or urine, at the
direction of a law enforcement officer under section 39-06.2-10.2 if the
individual is driving or is in actual physical control of a commercial motor
(2) A chemical test, or tests, of the individual's blood, breath, or urine to
determine the alcohol concentration or presence of other drugs, or
combination thereof, in the individual's blood, breath, or urine, at the
direction of a law enforcement officer under section 39-20-01.
The fact that any person charged with violating this section is or has been legally
entitled to use alcohol or other drugs or substances is not a defense against any
charge for violating this section, unless a drug which predominately caused
impairment was used only as directed or cautioned by a practitioner who legally
prescribed or dispensed the drug to that person. If the individual violated subdivisions
a, b, c, or d of this subsection and subdivision e of this subsection and the violations
arose from the same incident, for purposes of suspension or revocation of an
operator's license, the violations are deemed a single violation and the court shall
forward to the department of transportation only the conviction for driving under the
influence or actual physical control.
2. a. An individual who operates a motor vehicle on a highway or on public or private
areas to which the public has a right of access for vehicular use in this state who
refuses to submit to a chemical test, or tests, required under section
39-06.2-10.2, 39-20-01, or 39-20-14, is guilty of an offense under this section.
b. An individual is not subject to an offense under this section for refusal to submit to
an onsite screening test under section 39-20-14 if the person submits to a
chemical test under section 39-20-01 or 39-06.2-10.2 for the same incident. Upon
the individual's refusal to submit to an onsite screening test, the police officer
shall inform the individual that the individual may remedy the refusal if the
individual takes a chemical test under section 39-20-01 or 39-06.2-10.2 for the
3. An individual violating this section or equivalent ordinance is guilty of a class B
misdemeanor for the first or second offense in a seven-year period, of a class A
misdemeanor for a third offense in a seven-year period, and of a class C felony for any
fourth or subsequent offense within a fifteen-year period. The minimum penalty for
violating this section is as provided in subsection 5. The court shall take judicial notice
of the fact that an offense would be a subsequent offense if indicated by the records of
the director or may make a subsequent offense finding based on other evidence.
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Upon conviction of a second or subsequent offense within seven years under this
section or equivalent ordinance, the court may order the motor vehicle number plates
of all of the motor vehicles owned and operated by the offender at the time of the
offense to be destroyed by the office of the police officer that made the arrest. The
offender shall deliver the number plates to the court without delay at a time certain as
ordered by the court following the conviction. The court shall deliver the number plates
to the office and notify the department of the order. An offender who does not provide
the number plates to the court at the appropriate time is subject to revocation of
probation. The court may make an exception to this subsection, on an individual basis,
to avoid undue hardship to an individual who is completely dependent on the motor
vehicle for the necessities of life, including a family member of the convicted individual
and a co-owner of the motor vehicle, or if the offender is participating in the twenty-four
seven sobriety program.
A person convicted of violating this section, or an equivalent ordinance, must be
sentenced in accordance with this subsection.
a. (1) For a first offense, the sentence must include both a fine of at least five
hundred dollars and an order for addiction evaluation by an appropriate
licensed addiction treatment program.
(2) In addition, for a first offense when the convicted person has an alcohol
concentration of at least sixteen one-hundredths of one percent by weight,
the offense is an aggravated first offense and the sentence must include a
fine of at least seven hundred fifty dollars and at least two days'
b. For a second offense within seven years, the sentence must include at least ten
days' imprisonment, of which forty-eight hours must be served consecutively; a
fine of one thousand five hundred dollars; an order for addiction evaluation by an
appropriate licensed addiction treatment program; and at least three hundred
sixty days' participation in the twenty-four seven sobriety program under chapter
54-12 as a mandatory condition of probation.
c. For a third offense within seven years, the sentence must include at least one
hundred twenty days' imprisonment; a fine of at least two thousand dollars; an
order for addiction evaluation by an appropriate licensed addiction treatment
program; at least three hundred sixty days' supervised probation; and at least
three hundred sixty days' participation in the twenty-four seven sobriety program
under chapter 54-12 as a mandatory condition of probation.
d. For a fourth or subsequent offense within fifteen years, the sentence must include
at least one year and one day's imprisonment; a fine of at least two thousand
dollars; an order for addiction evaluation by an appropriate licensed treatment
program; at least two years' supervised probation; and participation in the twentyfour seven sobriety program under chapter 54-12 as a mandatory condition of
e. The imposition of sentence under this section may not be deferred under
subsection 4 of section 12.1-32-02 for an offense subject to this section.
f. If the offense is subject to subdivision a or b, a municipal court or district court
may not suspend a sentence, but may convert each day of a term of
imprisonment to ten hours of community service for an offense subject to
paragraph 2 of subdivision a. If the offense is subject to subdivision c, the district
court may suspend a sentence, except for sixty days' imprisonment, under
subsection 3 of section 12.1-32-02 on the condition that the defendant first
undergo and complete an evaluation for alcohol and substance abuse treatment
and rehabilitation. If the offense is subject to subdivision d, the district court may
suspend a sentence, except for one year's imprisonment, under subsection 3 of
section 12.1-32-02 on the condition that the defendant first undergo and complete
an evaluation for alcohol and substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation. If the
defendant is found to be in need of alcohol and substance abuse treatment and
rehabilitation, the district court may order the defendant placed under the
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supervision and management of the department of corrections and rehabilitation
and is subject to the conditions of probation under section 12.1-32-07. The district
court may require the defendant to complete alcohol and substance abuse
treatment and rehabilitation under the direction of the drug court program as a
condition of probation in accordance with rules adopted by the supreme court.
The district court may terminate probation under this section when the defendant
completes the drug treatment program. If the district court finds that a defendant
has failed to undergo an evaluation or complete treatment or has violated any
condition of probation, the district court shall revoke the defendant's probation
and shall sentence the defendant in accordance with this subsection.
g. For purposes of this section, conviction of an offense under a law or ordinance of
another state which is equivalent to this section must be considered a prior
offense if such offense was committed within the time limitations specified in this
h. If the penalty mandated by this section includes imprisonment or placement upon
conviction of a violation of this section or equivalent ordinance, and if an addiction
evaluation has indicated that the defendant needs treatment, the court may order
the defendant to undergo treatment at an appropriate licensed addiction
treatment program under subdivision g of subsection 1 of section 12.1-32-02 and
the time spent by the defendant in the treatment must be credited as a portion of
a sentence of imprisonment or placement under this section. A court may not
order the department of corrections and rehabilitation to be responsible for the
costs of treatment in a private treatment facility.
i. If the court sentences an individual to the legal and physical custody of the
department of corrections and rehabilitation, the department may place the
individual in an alcohol treatment program designated by the department. Upon
the individual's successful completion of the alcohol treatment program, the
department shall release the individual from imprisonment to begin the
court-ordered period of probation. If there is not any court-ordered period of
probation, the court shall order the individual to serve the remainder of the
sentence of imprisonment on supervised probation and the terms and conditions
must include participation in the twenty-four seven sobriety program and any
terms and conditions of probation previously imposed by the court. Probation
under this subsection may include placement in another facility or treatment
program. If an individual is placed in another facility or treatment program after
release from imprisonment, the remainder of the individual's sentence of
imprisonment must be considered time spent in custody. Individuals incarcerated
under this section subsequent to a second probation revocation are not eligible
for release from imprisonment upon the successful completion of treatment.
j. If the individual has participated in the twenty-four seven sobriety program as a
condition of pretrial release or for the purpose of receiving a temporary restricted
operator's license under section 39-06.1-11, the sentencing court may give credit
for the time the individual has already served on the twenty-four seven sobriety
program when determining the amount of time the individual must serve on the
twenty-four seven sobriety program for the purposes of probation, if that
individual has not violated the twenty-four seven sobriety program before
As used in subdivisions b and c of subsection 5, the term "imprisonment" includes
house arrest. As a condition of house arrest, a defendant may not consume alcoholic
beverages. The house arrest must include a program of electronic home detention and
the defendant shall participate in the twenty-four seven sobriety program. The
defendant shall defray all costs associated with the electronic home detention. For an
offense under subdivision b or c of subsection 5, no more than ninety percent of the
sentence may be house arrest.
As used in this title, participation in the twenty-four seven sobriety program under
chapter 54-12 means compliance with sections 54-12-27 through 54-12-31, and
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requires sobriety breath testing twice per day seven days per week or electronic
alcohol monitoring, urine testing, or drug patch testing. The offender is responsible for
all twenty-four seven sobriety program fees and the court may not waive the fees. For
purposes of this section, the twenty-four seven sobriety program is a condition of
probation and a court may not order participation in the program as part of the
sentence. If an individual ordered to participate in the twenty-four seven program is not
a resident of this state, that individual shall enroll in a twenty-four seven program or an
alcohol compliance program if available in that individual's state of residence and shall
file proof of such enrollment.
39-08-01.1. Prior offenses.
For purposes of this chapter, chapter 39-06.1, and chapter 39-20 a previous conviction does
not include any prior violation of section 39-08-01 or equivalent ordinance if the offense
occurred prior to July 1, 1981.
39-08-01.2. Special punishment for causing injury or death while operating a vehicle
while under the influence of alcohol.
1. An individual is guilty of criminal vehicular homicide if the individual commits an
offense under section 39-08-01 or equivalent ordinance and as a result the individual
causes a death of another individual to occur, including the death of an unborn child,
unless the individual who causes the death of the unborn child is the mother. A
violation of this subsection is a class A felony. If an individual commits a violation under
this subsection, the court shall impose at least three years' imprisonment. If the
individual violates this section after having been previously convicted of a violation of
section 39-08-01 or 39-08-03, or equivalent ordinance, the court shall impose at least
ten years' imprisonment. An individual may not be prosecuted and found guilty of this
and an offense under chapter 12.1-16 if the conduct arises out of the same incident.
2. An individual is guilty of criminal vehicular injury if the individual violates section
39-08-01 or equivalent ordinance and as a result that individual causes substantial
bodily or serious bodily injury to another individual. Violation of this subsection is a
class C felony. If an individual violates this subsection, the court shall impose at least
one year's imprisonment. If the individual violates this section after having been
previously convicted of a violation of section 39-08-01 or 39-08-03 or equivalent
ordinance, the court shall impose at least two years' imprisonment.
3. The sentence under this section may not be suspended unless the court finds that
manifest injustice would result from the imposition of the sentence. Before a sentence
under this section applies, a defendant must be notified of the minimum mandatory
sentence. The elements of an offense under this section are the elements of an
offense for a violation of section 39-08-01 and the additional elements that create an
offense in each subsection of this section. Whether an individual caused death or
substantial or serious bodily injury must be determined in accordance with section
39-08-01.3. Alcohol-related traffic offenses - Seizure, forfeiture, and sale of motor
A motor vehicle owned and operated by an individual upon a highway or upon public or
private areas to which the public has a right of access for vehicular use may be seized, forfeited,
and sold or otherwise disposed of pursuant to an order of the court at the time of sentencing if
the individual is in violation of section 39-08-01, 39-08-01.2, or 39-08-01.4, or an equivalent
ordinance and has been convicted of violating section 39-08-01 or an equivalent ordinance at
least one other time within the seven years preceding the violation.
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39-08-01.4. Driving while under the influence of alcohol while being accompanied by
a minor - Penalty.
It is a class A misdemeanor for an individual who is at least twenty-one years of age to
violate section 39-08-01 if the violation occurred while a minor was accompanying the individual
in a motor vehicle. If an individual has a previous conviction for a violation of section 39-08-01.4,
a violation of this section is a class C felony. An individual convicted under this section must be
sentenced in accordance with subsection 5 of section 39-08-01.
39-08-01.5. Partial suspension of sentence for drug court completion.
1. Notwithstanding section 39-08-01, all but ten days of the minimum mandatory
sentence required for a defendant charged with a third or subsequent violation of
section 39-08-01 may be suspended on the condition the defendant successfully
completes a drug court program approved by the supreme court.
2. For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires, "drug court
program" means a district court-supervised treatment program approved by the
supreme court which combines judicial supervision with alcohol and drug testing and
chemical addiction treatment in a licensed treatment program. The supreme court may
adopt rules, including rules of procedure, for drug courts and the drug court program.
39-08-02. Person conveying passengers not to engage drivers addicted to intoxicants
No person owning or having the direction or control of any vehicle for the conveyance of
passengers in this state may employ or continue in the person's employment as a driver of such
vehicle any person who is known to the actor to be addicted to a controlled substance or given
to the excessive use of controlled substances or intoxicating liquors. Any person violating the
provisions of this section is guilty of an infraction and is liable for all damages sustained by
reason of such violation.
39-08-03. Reckless driving - Aggravated reckless driving - Penalty.
Any person is guilty of reckless driving if the person drives a vehicle:
1. Recklessly in disregard of the rights or safety of others; or
2. Without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to
endanger or be likely to endanger any person or the property of another.
Except as otherwise herein provided, any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty
of a class B misdemeanor. Any person who, by reason of reckless driving as herein defined,
causes and inflicts injury upon the person of another, is guilty of aggravated reckless driving,
and is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
39-08-03.1. Exhibition driving and drag racing - Definitions - Penalty.
1. No person may engage in exhibition driving of any vehicle on a highway, street, alley,
sidewalk, or any public or private parking lot or area, nor may any person engage in a
race, a speed competition, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical
endurance, or exhibition of speed or acceleration. Any person who violates this section
by engaging in an act defined by subdivision b of subsection 2 must be assessed a fee
of fifty dollars. Any person who violates this section by engaging in an act defined by
subdivision a or c of subsection 2 must be assessed a fee of one hundred dollars.
2. As used in this section:
a. "Drag race" means the operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by
side by accelerating rapidly in a competitive attempt to cause one vehicle to
outdistance the other; or the operation of one or more vehicles over a common
selected course from the same point to the same point for the purpose of
comparing the relative speed or powers of acceleration of such vehicle or
vehicles within a certain distance or time limit.
b. "Exhibition driving" means driving a vehicle in a manner which disturbs the peace
by creating or causing unnecessary engine noise, tire squeal, skid, or slide upon
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acceleration or braking; or driving and executing or attempting one or a series of
unnecessarily abrupt turns.
c. "Race" means the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to outgain,
outdistance, or to arrive at a given distance ahead of another vehicle or vehicles;
or the use of one or more vehicles to willfully prevent another vehicle from
passing the racing vehicle or vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or
endurance of the persons driving the vehicles over a long-distance driving route.
Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting drag racing, exhibition driving,
or similar events when carried out in an organized manner on a track or other privately
owned area specifically set aside and used solely for such purposes by drivers of
motor vehicles, including snowmobiles.
39-08-04. Accidents involving death or personal injuries - Penalty.
1. The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any
person shall immediately stop or return with the vehicle as close as possible to the
scene of the accident and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until
that driver has fulfilled the requirements of section 39-08-06. Every stop required by
this section must be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
2. Any person failing to comply with the requirements of this section under circumstances
involving personal injury is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Any person negligently
failing to comply with the requirements of this section under circumstances involving
serious personal injury is guilty of a class C felony. Any person negligently failing to
comply with the requirements of this section under circumstances involving death is
guilty of a class B felony.
3. The director shall revoke the license or permit to drive or nonresident operating
privilege of a person convicted under this section.
39-08-04.1. Emergency care or services rendered - Liability.
Any person who is an unpaid volunteer, who in good faith, renders emergency care or
services at or near the scene of an accident, disaster, or other emergency, or en route to a
treatment facility, is not liable to the recipient of the emergency care or services for any
damages resulting from the rendering of that care or services.
This section does not relieve a person from liability for damages resulting from the
intoxication, willful misconduct, or gross negligence of the person rendering the emergency care
or services. Further, liability is not relieved if the emergency care was rendered for remuneration
or with the expectation of remuneration.
39-08-05. Accidents involving damage to vehicle - Penalty.
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle which
is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such
accident or as close thereto as possible but shall forthwith return to and in every event shall
remain at the scene of such accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of section
39-08-06. Every such stop must be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. Any
person failing to stop or comply with said requirements under such circumstances is guilty of a
class B misdemeanor.
39-08-06. Duty to give information and render aid.
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any
person or damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall give the
driver's name and address, and the name of the motor vehicle insurance policy carrier of the
driver and owner, as well as the registration number, of the vehicle. Upon request, and if
available, the driver of any vehicle involved in the accident shall exhibit the driver's operator's or
chauffeur's license to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any
other vehicle involved in the accident and shall render to any person injured in the accident
reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of
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the person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent
that treatment is necessary or if the carrying is requested by the injured person.
39-08-07. Duty upon striking unattended vehicle - Penalty.
The driver of any vehicle which collides with any vehicle which is unattended shall
immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of the
vehicle of the name and address, as well as the name of the motor vehicle insurance policy
carrier, of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a
conspicuous place in the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name and address, as well as
the name of the motor vehicle insurance policy carrier, of the driver and of the owner of the
vehicle doing the striking and a statement of the circumstances of the collision. Any person
violating this section is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
39-08-08. Duty upon striking highway fixtures or other property.
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to highway
fixtures or other property shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in
charge of such property of such fact and of the driver's name and address and of the
registration number of the vehicle the driver is driving and shall upon request and if available
exhibit the driver's operator's or chauffeur's license and shall make report of such accident when
and as required in section 39-08-09.
39-08-09. Immediate notice of accident - Penalty.
1. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any
person, or property damage to an apparent extent of at least one thousand dollars,
shall immediately give notice of the accident to the local police department if the
accident occurs within a municipality, otherwise to the office of the county sheriff or the
state highway patrol. Any person who violates this section must be assessed a fine of
fifty dollars. The name of the motor vehicle insurance policy carrier and the policy
number of the driver, or if the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, then the motor
vehicle insurance policy carrier and the policy number of the owner of the vehicle,
must be furnished to the law enforcement officer investigating the accident. If the driver
does not have the required information concerning insurance to furnish to the
investigating law enforcement officer, then within five days of the accident the driver
shall supply that information to the driver's license division in the form the division
2. The director may suspend the license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating
privileges of any person failing to comply with the duties as provided in sections
39-08-06 through 39-08-09 until those duties have been fulfilled, and the director may
extend the suspension not to exceed thirty days.
3. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident with an undomesticated animal resulting
in property damage only to the driver's vehicle is exempt from the notice requirements
of this section, regardless of the amount of damage to the driver's vehicle.
39-08-10. Officer to report.
Every law enforcement officer, who in the regular course of duty investigates a motor
vehicle accident required to be reported as provided in section 39-08-09 either at the time and
at the scene of the accident or thereafter by interviewing the participants, or witnesses, shall
make and promptly forward to the director a report of the accident in a format prescribed by the
39-08-10.1. Investigating agency responsible to notify immediate family.
1. In the event of serious injury to or death of any person, under circumstances leading to
the notification of a law enforcement agency, the investigating law enforcement agency
shall, upon positive identification of the person or persons involved, be responsible for
immediately notifying the immediate family of the person or persons seriously injured
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or deceased, or making arrangements to have the immediate family notified by clergy
or other suitable person.
The investigating law enforcement agency may not release to the public the identity of
the person or persons seriously injured or deceased until the first of the following
a. A member of the immediate family has been notified and given an opportunity to
notify other immediate family members; or
b. Twenty-four hours have elapsed from the time positive identification was made.
For purposes of this section, "immediate family" means spouse, parent, child, sibling,
or any person who regularly resides in the household of the seriously injured or
39-08-11. When driver unable to report.
1. An accident notice is not required from any person who is physically incapable of
making the report during the period of such incapacity.
2. Whenever the driver of a vehicle is physically incapable of giving an immediate notice
of an accident and there was another occupant in the vehicle at the time of the
accident capable of doing so, such occupant shall make or cause to be given the
notice not given by the driver.
3. Whenever the driver is physically incapable of giving notice of an accident and such
driver is not the owner of the vehicle, then the owner of the vehicle involved shall
within five days after learning of the accident give such notice and insurance
information not given by the driver.
39-08-12. False reports.
Repealed by S.L. 1975, ch. 106, § 673.
39-08-13. Accident report forms.
1. The director shall prepare and supply to law enforcement agencies, garages, and
other suitable agencies or individuals forms for accident reports required by law,
appropriate with respect to the purposes to be served. The reports to be made by
investigating officers shall call for sufficiently detailed information to disclose the cause
of a traffic accident, conditions then existing, persons and vehicles involved, and
whether the requirements for the deposit of security under section 39-16-05 are
2. Every accident report required to be made to the director must be made in the
appropriate format or approved by the director and must contain all the information
required therein unless not available.
3. Every law enforcement officer who investigates a vehicle accident for which a report
must be made as required in this chapter shall forward a report of such accident to the
department within ten days after the accident.
4. The reports required to be forwarded by law enforcement officers and the information
contained in the reports is not privileged or confidential. If, however, the investigating
officer expresses an opinion as to fault or responsibility for the accident, the opinion is
confidential and not open to public inspection, except as provided in subsection 5. In
addition, the following information contained in the report is an exempt record as
defined in section 44-04-17.1 unless the requester is a party to the accident, a party's
legal representative, the insurer of any party to the accident, the agent of that insurer,
or the legal representative or insurer of an individual involved in defending or
investigating a prior or subsequent claim or accident involving a party to the accident:
a. Driver identification number of a party in the report;
b. Telephone number of a party in the report;
c. Insurance company name and policy number of a party in the report; and
d. Day and month of birth of a party in the report.
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Upon affirmation by a party to the accident, a party's legal representative, or the
insurer of any party to the accident that the investigating officer's opinion is material to
a determination of liability and upon payment of a fee of five dollars, the director or
investigating agency shall release a completed copy of the investigating officer's
opinion to the entity requesting the information. The request must be made on an
appropriate form approved by the director.
Upon request of any person and upon payment of a fee of two dollars, the director or
the law enforcement agency may furnish to a requester a copy of that portion of an
investigating officer's accident report which does not disclose the opinion of the
reporting officer or contain any exempt information that may not be disclosed, if the
report shows that the accident is one for which a driver is required to file a report under
Copies of accident reports are not admissible as evidence in any action for damages
or criminal proceedings arising out of a motor vehicle accident.
The director, without a request under subsection 4 or 5, may send a copy of an
accident report to the registered owner of each vehicle involved as indicated by the
39-08-14. Public inspection of reports relating to accidents.
1. All accident reports made by persons involved in accidents or by garages shall be
without prejudice to the individual so reporting and shall be for the confidential use of
the department or other state agencies having use for the records for accident
prevention purposes, or for the administration of the laws of this state relating to the
deposit of security and proof of financial responsibility by persons driving or the
owners of motor vehicles, except that the department may disclose the identity of a
person involved in an accident when such identity is not otherwise known or when
such person denies the person's presence at such accident.
2. All accident reports and supplemental information filed in connection with the
administration of the laws of this state relating to the deposit of security or proof of
financial responsibility are confidential and not open to general public inspection, nor
may copying of lists of such reports be permitted.
3. No written reports or written information mentioned in this section may be used as
evidence in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of an accident, except that the director
shall furnish upon demand of any party to such trial, or upon demand of any court, a
certificate showing that a specified accident report has or has not been made to the
director in compliance with law.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, any information compiled or otherwise
made available to the department pursuant to this chapter must be transmitted to each and
every duly authorized official or agency of the United States requesting such.
39-08-15. Director of the department of transportation to tabulate and analyze
The director shall tabulate and may analyze all accident reports and shall publish annually,
or at more frequent intervals, statistical information based thereon as to the number and
circumstances of traffic accidents.
39-08-16. Any incorporated city may require accident reports.
Any incorporated city or other municipality may by ordinance require that the driver of a
vehicle involved in an accident shall file with a designated city department a report of such
accident or a copy of any report herein required to be filed with the director. All such reports
must be for the confidential use of the city department and subject to the provisions of section
39-08-17. Magistrates to report convictions to highway commissioner.
Repealed by S.L. 1981, ch. 386, § 3.
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39-08-18. Open container law - Penalty.
1. A person may not drink or consume alcoholic beverages, as defined in section
5-01-01, in or on any motor vehicle when the vehicle is upon a public highway or in an
area used principally for public parking. A person may not have in that person's
possession on that person's person while in or on a private motor vehicle upon a
public highway or in an area used principally for public parking, any bottle or
receptacle containing alcoholic beverages which has been opened, or the seal broken,
or the contents of which have been partially removed. It is unlawful for the owner of
any private motor vehicle or the driver, if the owner be not then present in or on the
motor vehicle, to keep or allow to be kept in a motor vehicle when such vehicle is upon
the public highway or in an area used principally for public parking any bottle or
receptacle containing such alcoholic beverages which has been opened, or the seal
broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed except when such bottle
or receptacle is kept in the trunk of the motor vehicle when such vehicle is equipped
with a trunk, or kept in some other area of the vehicle not normally occupied by the
driver or passengers, if the motor vehicle is not equipped with a trunk. A utility
compartment or glove compartment must be deemed to be within the area occupied
by the driver and passengers. This subsection does not prohibit the consumption or
possession of alcoholic beverages in a house car if the consumption or possession
occurs in the area of the house car used as sleeping or living quarters and that area is
separated from the driving compartment by a solid partition, door, curtain, or some
similar means of separation; however, consumption is not authorized while the house
car is in motion. Any person violating this subsection must be assessed a fee of fifty
dollars; however, the licensing authority may not record the violation against the
person's driving record unless the person was the driver of the motor vehicle at the
time that the violation occurred.
2. Subsection 1 does not apply to a public conveyance that has been commercially
chartered for group use, any passenger for compensation in a for-hire motor vehicle,
or a privately owned motor vehicle operated by a person in the course of that person's
usual employment transporting passengers at the employer's direction. This
subsection does not authorize possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage by
the operator of any motor vehicle described in this subsection while upon a public
highway or in an area used principally for public parking.
39-08-19. Penalty for harassment of domestic animals.
Any person operating a motorcycle, snowmobile, or other motor vehicle who willfully
harasses or frightens any domestic animal, is, upon conviction, guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
If injury or death results to the animal due to such action, such person is liable for the value of
the animal and exemplary damages as provided in section 36-21-13.
39-08-20. Driving without liability insurance prohibited - Penalty.
1. A person may not drive, or the owner may not cause or knowingly permit to be driven,
a motor vehicle in this state without a valid policy of liability insurance in effect in order
to respond in damages for liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of
that motor vehicle in the amount required by chapter 39-16.1.
2. Upon being stopped by a law enforcement officer for the purpose of enforcing or
investigating the possible violation of an ordinance or state law, the person driving the
motor vehicle shall provide to the officer upon request satisfactory evidence, including
written or electronic proof of insurance, of the policy required under this section. If
unable to comply with the request, that person may be charged with a violation of this
section. If that person produces satisfactory evidence, including written or electronic
proof of insurance, of a valid policy of liability insurance in effect at the time of the
alleged violation of this section to the office of the court under which the matter will be
heard, that person may not be found in violation of subsection 1.
3. Notwithstanding section 26.1-30-18, a person may be in violation of subsection 1 for
failure to have a valid policy of liability insurance in effect under this section if the time
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of acquisition of the policy was after the time of the alleged incidence of driving without
liability insurance. If the time of acquisition of the policy comes into question, the driver
or owner has the burden of establishing the time of acquisition. If the driver is not an
owner of the motor vehicle, the driver does not violate this section if the driver provides
the court with evidence identifying the owner of the motor vehicle and describing
circumstances under which the owner caused or permitted the driver to drive the motor
For a second or subsequent violation of subsection 1 or equivalent ordinance, the
court shall order the motor vehicle number plates of the motor vehicle owned and
operated by the person at the time of the violation to be impounded until that person
provides proof of insurance and a twenty dollar fee to the court. The person shall
deliver the number plates to the court without delay at a time certain as ordered by the
court. The court shall deliver the number plates to the office of the police officer that
made the arrest and notify the department of the order. A person who does not provide
the number plates to the court at the appropriate time is guilty of a class B
For a violation of subsection 1 or equivalent ordinance, the person shall provide proof
of motor vehicle liability insurance to the department in the form of a written or
electronically transmitted certificate from an insurance carrier authorized to do
business in this state. This proof must be provided for a period of one year and kept on
file with the department. If the person fails to provide this information, the department
shall suspend that person's driving privileges and may not issue or renew that person's
operator's license unless that person provides proof of insurance.
A person who has violated subsection 1 or equivalent ordinance shall surrender that
person's operator's license and purchase a duplicate operator's license with a notation
requiring that person to keep proof of liability insurance on file with the department.
The fee for this license is fifty dollars and the fee to remove this notation is fifty dollars.
When an insurance carrier has certified a motor vehicle liability policy, the insurance
carrier shall notify the director no later than ten days after cancellation or termination of
the certified insurance policy by filing a notice of cancellation or termination of the
certified insurance policy; except that a policy subsequently procured and certified
shall, on the effective date of its certification, terminate the insurance previously
certified with respect to any motor vehicle designated in both certificates.
39-08-20.1. Uninsured motorist - Insurance deductible.
If a person causes damage to another or another's property with a motor vehicle while in
violation of section 39-08-20, at minimum the court shall order that person to pay to the other
person the amount of the deductible on that person's insurance.
39-08-20.2. Special mobile equipment and liability insurance - Report - Penalty.
Special mobile equipment is not subject to the requirement of a motor vehicle liability policy
under section 39-08-20. However, special mobile equipment must be covered under a liability
policy. Failure to provide satisfactory evidence of liability coverage required under this section
within ten days after a police officer has requested evidence of liability coverage is an infraction
punishable solely by a fine of one hundred fifty dollars for a first violation and is an infraction
punishable solely by a fine of three hundred dollars for a second or subsequent violation in three
years. A municipal court or district court shall make a report of a violation of this section to the
secretary of state for any special mobile equipment owned or operated by a contractor licensed
under chapter 43-07.
39-08-21. Medical qualifications exemption for intrastate drivers.
Notwithstanding the adoption by the superintendent of the state highway patrol of federal
motor carrier safety regulations pursuant to subsection 3 of section 39-21-46, the provisions of
49 CFR 391.41(b)(1)-(11) do not apply to a person who is qualified through a state medical
Page No. 11
waiver program to operate a commercial motor vehicle within the boundaries of this state or a
1. Is otherwise qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle and who possesses, on
March 26, 1991, a class 1 license issued pursuant to section 39-06-14, as that section
existed on June 30, 1989, or a class A license issued pursuant to chapter 39-06.2;
2. Operates a commercial motor vehicle only within the boundaries of this state; and
3. Has a medical or physical condition that:
a. Would prevent such person from operating a commercial motor vehicle under
federal motor carrier safety regulations contained in 49 CFR, chapter III,
b. Existed on March 26, 1991, or at the time of the first required physical
examination after that date; and
c. An examining physician has determined has not substantially worsened since
March 26, 1991, or the time of the first required physical examination after that
39-08-22. Nonpayment for motor fuels - Penalty.
1. For a theft offense in violation of chapter 12.1-23 which involves a person who leaves
the premises of an establishment at which motor fuel is offered for retail sale after
motor fuel was dispensed into the fuel tank of a motor vehicle that that person drove
away without having made due payment or authorized charge for the motor fuel
dispensed, the court may:
a. Upon a person's second conviction, order the suspension of the person's driving
privileges for up to three months; and
b. Upon a person's third or subsequent conviction, order the suspension of the
person's driving privileges for up to six months.
2. As used in this section, "conviction" means a final conviction without regard to whether
sentence was suspended or deferred or probation was granted after the conviction.
Forfeiture of bail, bond, or collateral deposited to secure a defendant's appearance in
court, which forfeiture has not been vacated, is equivalent to conviction.
39-08-23. Use of a wireless communications device prohibited.
1. The operator of a motor vehicle that is part of traffic may not use a wireless
communications device to compose, read, or send an electronic message.
2. Under this section:
a. "Electronic message" means a self-contained piece of digital communication that
is designed or intended to be transmitted between physical devices. The term
includes electronic mail, a text message, an instant message, a command or
request to access a worldwide web page, or other data that uses a commonly
recognized electronic communications protocol. The term does not include:
(1) Reading, selecting, or entering a telephone number, an extension number,
or voice mail retrieval codes and commands into an electronic device for the
purpose of initiating or receiving a telephone or cellular phone call or using
voice commands to initiate or receive a telephone or cellular phone call;
(2) Inputting, selecting, or reading information on a global positioning system
device or other navigation system device;
(3) Using a device capable of performing multiple functions, such as fleet
management systems, dispatching devices, phones, citizen band radios,
music players, or similar devices, for a purpose that is not otherwise
(4) Voice or other data transmitted as a result of making a telephone or cellular
(5) Data transmitted automatically by a wireless communication device without
direct initiation by an individual; or
(6) A wireless communications device used in a voice-activated,
voice-operated, or any other hands-free manner.
Page No. 12
"Traffic" means operation of a motor vehicle while in motion or for the purposes of
travel on any street or highway and includes a temporary stop or halt of motion,
such as at an official traffic-control signal or sign. The term does not include a
motor vehicle that is lawfully parked.
This section does not apply if a wireless communications device is used for obtaining
emergency assistance to report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious traffic
hazard or to prevent a crime about to be committed, in the reasonable belief that an
individual's life or safety is in immediate danger, or in an authorized emergency vehicle
while in the performance of official duties.
39-08-24. Use of an electronic communication device by minor prohibited.
An individual at least sixteen and under eighteen years of age who has been issued a
class D license may not operate an electronic communication device to talk, compose, read, or
send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle that is in motion unless the sole
purpose of operating the device is to obtain emergency assistance, to prevent a crime about to
be committed, or in the reasonable belief that an individual's life or safety is in danger.
39-08-25. Failure to maintain control.
1. An operator of a motor vehicle may not fail to maintain control of that motor vehicle. An
individual is in violation of this section if that individual:
a. Commits an offense under this title and, at the time of the offense, the individual
was engaged in the operation of a motor vehicle while distracted; or
b. Is determined to have been the operator of a motor vehicle that was involved in a
reportable accident as defined in section 39-08-09 which resulted in property
damage and, at the time the reportable accident occurred, the individual was
engaged in the operation of a motor vehicle while distracted.
2. An individual may be issued a citation or summons for any other traffic offense that
was committed by the individual in relation to the individual's commission of the traffic
offense of failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle.
3. As used in this section, "operation of a motor vehicle while distracted" means the
operation of a motor vehicle by an individual who, while operating the vehicle, is
engaged in an activity that:
a. Is not necessary to the operation of the vehicle; and
b. Actually impairs, or would reasonably be expected to impair, the ability of the
individual to safely operate the vehicle.
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