Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 8. Regulation of Traffic
9/25/2020

§ 46.2-920.1. Operation of tow trucks or vehicles owned or controlled by the Department of Transportation under certain circumstances; incident management.

A. When operating at or en route to or from the scene of a traffic accident or similar emergency and when specifically directed by a law-enforcement officer present at the scene of a motor vehicle crash or similar incident, tow truck operators or vehicles owned or controlled by the Department of Transportation may:

1. Operate on a highway in a direction opposite that otherwise permitted for traffic;

2. Cross medians of divided highways;

3. Use cross-overs and turn-arounds otherwise reserved for use only by authorized vehicles;

4. Drive on a portion of the highway other than the roadway;

5. Stop or stand on any portion of the highway; and

6. Operate in any other manner as directed by a law-enforcement officer at the scene.

B. When operating at, en route to, or from the scene of a traffic accident or similar emergency, a vehicle operated pursuant to a Department of Transportation safety service patrol program or pursuant to a contract with the Department of Transportation for, or that includes, traffic incident management services as defined in this subsection, with due regard to the safety of persons and property and without direction of law enforcement, may overtake and pass stopped or slow-moving vehicles by going off the paved or main traveled portion of the highway on the right or on the left. For purposes of this chapter and Chapter 12 (§ 46.2-1200 et seq.), "safety service patrol program" means a program or service sponsored or operated by the Department of Transportation that assists stranded motorists and provides traffic control during traffic incidents, including traffic accidents and road work, and "traffic incident management services" means services provided in response to any event or situation on or affecting the Department of Transportation right-of-way that impedes traffic or creates a temporary safety hazard.

C. Nothing in this section, however, shall (i) immunize the driver of any such vehicle from criminal prosecution for conduct constituting reckless disregard of the safety of persons and property or (ii) release the driver of any such vehicle from any civil liability for failure to use reasonable care in operations permitted in this section. However, drivers of vehicles owned or operated by the Department of Transportation and employees of the Commonwealth are immune for acts of simple negligence for claims of civil liability arising from the operation of such vehicles pursuant to this section.

1990, c. 470; 2007, cc. 189, 918; 2012, cc. 27, 108; 2017, c. 350.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.