Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 10. Motor Vehicle and Equipment Safety
3/4/2024

Article 1. Vehicle and Equipment Safety, Generally.

§ 46.2-1000. Department to suspend registration of vehicles lacking certain equipment; officer to take possession of registration card, license plates and decals when observing defect in motor vehicle; when to be returned.

The Department shall suspend the registration of any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer which the Department or the Department of State Police determines is not equipped with proper (i) brakes, (ii) lights, (iii) horn or warning device, (iv) turn signals, (v) safety glass when required by law, (vi) mirror, (vii) muffler, (viii) windshield wiper, (ix) steering gear adequate to ensure the safe movement of the vehicle as required by this title or when such vehicle is equipped with a smoke screen device or cutout or when such motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer is otherwise unsafe to be operated.

Any law-enforcement officer shall, when he observes any defect in a motor vehicle as described above, take possession of the registration card, license plates, and decals of any such vehicle and retain the same in his possession for a period of 15 days unless the owner of the vehicle corrects the defects or obtains a new safety inspection sticker from an authorized safety inspection station. When the defect or defects are corrected as indicated above the registration card, license plates, and decals shall be returned to the owner.

For any summons issued for a violation of this section, the court may, in its discretion, dismiss the summons, where proof of compliance with this section is provided to the court on or before the court date.

Code 1950, § 46-56; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-58; 1960, c. 119; 1964, c. 414; 1972, c. 609; 1989, c. 727; 2017, c. 670.

§ 46.2-1001. Removal of unsafe vehicles; penalty.

Any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer examined by a law-enforcement officer certified to perform vehicle safety inspections and found to be operating with defective brakes, tires, wheels, steering mechanism, or any other condition which is likely to cause an accident or a breakdown of the motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer may be removed from the highway and not permitted to operate again on the highway until the defects have been corrected and the law-enforcement officer has found the corrections to be satisfactory. Such law-enforcement officer may allow any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer discovered to be in such an unsafe condition while being operated on the highway to continue in operation only to the nearest place where repairs can be safely effected and only if such operation is less hazardous to the public than to permit the motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer to remain on the highway.

No person shall operate a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer which has been removed from service as provided in the foregoing provisions of this section prior to correction and proper authorization by a law-enforcement officer certified to perform vehicle safety inspection procedures.

For the purpose of this section, the term "law-enforcement officer certified to perform vehicle safety inspections" means those law-enforcement officers who have satisfactorily met the requirements for initial certification and maintenance of certification of driver/vehicle inspectors as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Those law-enforcement officers certified to place vehicles out of service must receive annual in-service training in current federal motor carrier safety regulations, safety inspection procedures, and out-of-service criteria. The Superintendent of State Police shall be responsible for coordinating the annual in-service training. The agency administrator of the law-enforcement agencies employing law-enforcement officers certified to perform vehicle safety inspections shall provide the Department of Criminal Justice Services with verification that law-enforcement officers certified to perform vehicle safety inspections have met the requirements for initial certification and maintenance of certification of driver/vehicle inspectors prescribed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and satisfactorily completed the annual in-service training required by this section.

Every vehicle inspected by a local law-enforcement officer pursuant to this section and found to be free of defects which would constitute grounds for removal of the vehicle from service shall be issued a sticker as evidence of such inspection and freedom from defects. Such stickers shall be valid for 90 days. Any vehicle displaying a valid sticker shall be exempt from local or State Police inspections under this section. However, the fact that a vehicle displays a valid sticker shall not prevent any local or State Police officer from stopping and inspecting the vehicle if he observes an obvious safety defect. The Superintendent of State Police shall work cooperatively with local law-enforcement agencies of localities whose officers are authorized to perform inspections pursuant to this section to develop a standard sticker as provided for in this section and uniform policies and procedures for issuance and display of such stickers.

However, notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, before placing any vehicle out of service, the vehicle operator shall be allowed two hours to effect repairs to his vehicle. Such repairs may be performed at the site where the vehicle was inspected and found to be unsafe, provided the vehicle requiring repair is off the highway, where the repairs can be effected safely. If such repairs remedy the condition or conditions that would have caused it to be taken out of service, it shall not be taken out of service, but allowed to resume its operations. No such repairs, however, shall be allowed if the vehicle's load consists of hazardous material as defined in § 10.1-1400.

1982, c. 90, § 46.1-279.01; 1985, c. 561; 1988, c. 77; 1989, c. 727; 1990, cc. 20, 167; 1991, cc. 284, 416; 1993, c. 409; 1995, cc. 39, 458; 1996, cc. 24, 91, 144, 525; 1997, c. 35; 1999, cc. 68, 279; 2000, cc. 59, 112; 2002, cc. 142, 223, 263; 2003, cc. 82, 85.

§ 46.2-1001.1. Special equipment required for converted electric vehicles.

In addition to any other equipment required by this chapter, no converted electric vehicle may be registered in or operated on the highways of the Commonwealth without the following:

1. Orange-colored high voltage cables and high voltage markings on all conduit containing high voltage cables. No high voltage cables may be attached to the chassis of the vehicle in such a way as to cause the chassis to be used to ground the electric current;

2. A breaker or fuse in the high voltage circuit that contains the traction battery pack and the motor controller. Such breaker or fuse must be rated to interrupt the expected maximum current at or above the battery pack voltage;

3. An externally mounted switch to open the high voltage circuit in case of an emergency. Such switch must be located where the fuel tank filler cap was located prior to conversion. Any cover protecting the switch must be able to be opened from the outside of the vehicle;

4. Traction batteries mounted in secure nonconductive enclosures that provide for limited access. Multiple enclosures may be used but must be connected by high voltage cables encased in conduit made of metal, composite, or other materials of comparable strength, crush, and abrasion resistance to metal or composite;

5. If batteries other than lead acid batteries are used as traction batteries, a temperature monitoring system that monitors the temperature of at least one battery in each battery enclosure. Such system must warn the driver of the vehicle if the temperature of the battery is rising rapidly or is above safe levels;

6. Conduit made of metal, composite, or other materials of comparable strength, crush, and abrasion resistance to metal or composite, encasing any high voltage cables running under or outside of the vehicle. Such conduit must be secured to the vehicle chassis and must not violate the ground clearance provisions of § 46.2-1063;

7. A vacuum system and pump, or comparable equipment, to maintain proper brake function and capacity, as required by this chapter; and

8. Labeling on three sides of the vehicle identifying such vehicle as "CONVERTED ELECTRIC." Each label shall be at least six inches long and consist of lettering at least three inches tall.

At such time as the federal government establishes minimum equipment and safety standards, including any related to synthetic vehicle sounds, for converted electric vehicles, to the extent that such standards are different from the standards established by this section, the federal standards shall apply to converted electric vehicles in the Commonwealth. If any federal standard conflicts with a standard set forth by this section, the stricter standard shall prevail.

2012, c. 177.

§ 46.2-1002. Illegal possession or sale of certain unapproved equipment.

It shall be unlawful for any person to possess with intent to sell or offer for sale, either separately or as a part of the equipment of a motor vehicle, or to use or have as equipment on a motor vehicle operated on a highway any lighting device, warning device, signal device, safety glass, or other equipment for which approval is required by any provision of this chapter or any part or parts tending to change or alter the operation of such device, glass, or other equipment unless of a type that has been submitted to and approved by the Superintendent or meets or exceeds the standards and specifications of the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American National Standards Institute, Incorporated or the federal Department of Transportation.

Code 1950, § 46-311; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-308; 1960, c. 125; 1968, c. 172; 1970, c. 26; 1984, c. 426; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1003. Illegal use of defective and unsafe equipment.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to use or have as equipment on a motor vehicle operated on a highway any device or equipment mentioned in § 46.2-1002 which is defective and in an unsafe condition.

B. For any summons issued for a violation of this section, the court may, in its discretion, dismiss the summons, where proof of compliance with this section is provided to the court on or before the court date.

C. No law-enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle for a violation of this section. No evidence discovered or obtained as the result of a stop in violation of this subsection, including evidence discovered or obtained with the operator's consent, shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding.

1960, c. 125, § 46.1-308.1; 1989, c. 727; 2017, c. 670; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 45, 51.

§ 46.2-1004. Trademark or name and instructions required.

Each device or other equipment mentioned in § 46.2-1002 and offered for sale in the Commonwealth shall bear a trademark or name or be identified in keeping with the Superintendent's regulations and shall be accompanied by printed instructions as to the proper mounting, use, and candlepower or lumens of any bulbs to be used therewith and any particular methods of mounting or adjustments necessary to meet the requirements of this title and any regulation of the Superintendent.

Code 1950, § 46-312; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-309; 1989, c. 727; 2020, c. 393.