Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 10. Motor Vehicle and Equipment Safety
5/14/2021

Article 14. Maximum Vehicle Size, Generally.

§ 46.2-1101. Limitations applicable throughout Commonwealth; alteration by local authorities.

The maximum size and weight of vehicles specified in Articles 14 through 17 (§ 46.2-1101 et seq.) of this chapter shall apply throughout the Commonwealth. Local authorities shall not alter such limitations except as expressly authorized in this title.

Code 1950, § 46-325; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-327; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1102. Size and weight limitations inapplicable to farm machinery, agricultural multipurpose drying units, and firefighting equipment; amber warning lights.

A. Except when restricted by bridge capacity in § 46.2-1104, the vehicle size and weight limitations contained in Articles 14 through 17 (§ 46.2-1101 et seq.) of this chapter shall not apply to (i) any farm machinery or agricultural multipurpose drying unit when such farm machinery or agricultural multipurpose drying unit is temporarily propelled, hauled, transported, or moved on the highway by a farm machinery distributor or dealer, fertilizer distributor, or farmer in the ordinary course of business or (ii) firefighting equipment of any county, city, town, or firefighting company or association. Any farm tractor or agricultural multipurpose drying unit wider than 108 inches, however, which is so propelled, hauled, transported, or moved on the highway shall be equipped with a safety light of a type approved by the Superintendent of State Police. The light shall be plainly visible from the rear of the tractor or agricultural multipurpose drying unit.

No firefighting equipment of any county, city, or town, or firefighting company or association may be operated on any Interstate Highway System component if it exceeds the weight limitations in § 46.2-1127.1. No overweight farm machinery or agricultural multipurpose drying unit under this section shall be operated on any Interstate Highway System component if the vehicle has:

1. A single axle weight in excess of 20,000 pounds;

2. A tandem axle weight in excess of 34,000 pounds;

3. A gross weight, based on axle spacing, greater than that permitted in § 46.2-1126; or

4. A gross weight, regardless of axle spacing, in excess of 80,000 pounds.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A, any farm tractor or other farm, agricultural, or horticultural vehicle wider than 108 inches may be equipped with an amber flashing, blinking, or alternating warning light as provided in § 46.2-1025. Any such light may be installed in lieu of or in addition to the safety light described in subsection A. The absence of amber flashing, blinking, or alternating warning lights on any farm tractor or other farm, agricultural, or horticultural vehicle, as authorized under this subsection, shall not constitute negligence, be considered in mitigation of damages of whatever nature, be admissible in evidence or be the subject of comment by counsel in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation, ownership, or maintenance of any motor vehicle or farm tractor, nor shall anything in this section change any existing law, rule, or procedure pertaining to any such civil action.

Code 1950, § 46-326; 1950, p. 982; 1952, c. 403; 1956, c. 483; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-332; 1962, c. 197; 1973, c. 183; 1974, c. 361; 1989, c. 727; 1993, c. 151; 1997, c. 149; 2011, c. 331; 2020, c. 975.

§ 46.2-1103. Greater size, weight, and load limits permitted by interstate commerce regulations.

If a federal regulation of interstate commerce permits the use in interstate commerce over the highways of Virginia or any of them, of a greater size, weight, or load limit than prescribed in this title, the Board shall prescribe a similar size, weight, and load limit for vehicles in intrastate commerce operated over the same highways.

1958, c. 541, § 46.1-344; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1104. Reduction of limits by Commissioner of Highways and local authorities; penalties.

The Commissioner of Highways, acting through employees of the Department of Transportation, may prescribe the weight, width, height, length, or speed of any vehicle or combination of vehicles passing over any highway or section of highway or bridge constituting a part of the interstate, primary, or secondary system of highways. Any limitations thus prescribed may be less than those prescribed in this title whenever an engineering study discloses that it would promote the safety of travel or is necessary for the protection of any such highway.

If the reduction of limits as provided in this section is to be effective for more than 90 days, a written record of this reduction shall be kept on file at the central office of the Department of Transportation. In instances where the limits, including speed limits, are to be temporarily reduced, the representative of the Department of Transportation in the county wherein such highway is located shall immediately notify the Chief Engineer for the Department of Transportation of such reduction. The Chief Engineer shall either affirm or rescind the action of reducing such limits within five days from the date the limits have been posted as hereinafter provided. A list of all highways on which there has been a reduction of limits as herein provided shall be kept on file at the central office of the Department of Transportation. Anyone aggrieved by such reduction of limits may appeal directly to the Commissioner of Highways for redress, and if he affirms the action of reducing such limits, the Commonwealth Transportation Board shall afford any such aggrieved person the opportunity of being heard at its next regular meeting.

The local authorities of counties, cities, and towns, where the highways are under their jurisdiction, may adopt regulations or pass ordinances decreasing the weight limits prescribed in this title for a total period of no more than 90 days in any calendar year, when an engineering study discloses that operation over such highways or streets by reason of deterioration, rain, snow, or other climatic conditions will seriously damage such highways unless such weights are reduced.

In all instances where the limits for weight, size, or speed have been reduced by the Commissioner of Highways or the weights have been reduced by local authorities pursuant to this section, signs stating the weight, height, width, length, or speed permitted on such highway shall be erected at each end of the section of highway affected and no such reduced limits shall be effective until such signs have been posted.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, it shall be unlawful to operate a vehicle or combination of vehicles on any public highway or section thereof when the weight, size, or speed thereof exceeds the maximum posted by authority of the Commissioner of Highways or local authorities pursuant to this section.

Any violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a Class 2 misdemeanor. Furthermore, the vehicle or combination of vehicles involved in such violation may be held upon an order of the court until all fines and costs have been satisfied.

Code 1950, §§ 46-340, 46-341; 1952, cc. 137, 237; 1958, c. 600, § 46.1-345; 1966, c. 85; 1968, c. 218; 1989, c. 727; 2005, c. 645; 2013, c. 118.