Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

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

Article 15. Maximum Vehicle Widths and Heights.

§ 46.2-1105. Width of vehicles generally; exceptions.

A. No vehicle, including any load thereon, but excluding the mirror required by § 46.2-1082 and any warning device installed on a school bus pursuant to § 46.2-1090, shall exceed a total outside width as follows:

1. Passenger bus operated in an incorporated city or town when authorized under § 46.2-1300 -- 102 inches;

2. School buses -- 100 inches;

3. Vehicles hauling boats or other watercraft -- 102 inches;

4. Other vehicles -- 102 inches.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A, a travel trailer as defined in § 46.2-1500 or a motor home may exceed 102 inches if such excess width is attributable to an appurtenance that extends no more than six inches beyond the body of the vehicle. For the purposes of this subsection, "appurtenance" includes (i) an awning and its support hardware and (ii) any appendage that is installed by the manufacturer or dealer intended to be an integral part of a motor home or travel trailer, but does not include any item that is temporarily attached to the exterior of the vehicle by the vehicle's owner for the purposes of transporting the item from one location to another.

Code 1950, § 46-326; 1950, p. 982; 1952, c. 403; 1956, c. 483; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-328; 1960, c. 591; 1968, c. 333; 1973, c. 183; 1979, c. 70; 1983, c. 515; 1985, c. 426; 1986, c. 72; 1989, c. 727; 1994, c. 819; 1996, cc. 446, 506; 2001, c. 151; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1106. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2020, c. 707, cl. 1.

§ 46.2-1108. Bus widths to comply with federal law.

If federal law permits the operation of passenger buses wider than 96 inches on the interstate highway system, the Commissioner of Highways may permit the operation of passenger buses of a total outside width, excluding the mirror required by § 46.2-1082, of more than 96 inches, but not exceeding more than 102 inches, on interstate and defense highways or any other four lane divided highways under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The use of any other state highways between the aforesaid highways and the passenger bus terminals may be permitted upon application to the Commissioner of Highways by the governing body of any county, city, or town in which such other highways are located. Any such increase in width of passenger buses or designation of highways to be used by them shall not exceed the federal law which may hereafter be adopted, or jeopardize the Commonwealth's allotment of or qualification for federal aid highway funds.

Code 1950, § 46-326; 1950, p. 982; 1952, c. 403; 1956, c. 483; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-328; 1960, c. 591; 1968, c. 333; 1973, c. 183; 1979, c. 70; 1983, c. 515; 1985, c. 426; 1986, c. 72; 1989, c. 727; 2013, cc. 585, 646.

§ 46.2-1109. Widths of commercial vehicles.

No commercial vehicle shall exceed 102 inches in width when operating on any interstate highway or on any highway designated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The width limitation in this section shall not include rear view mirrors, turn signal lights, handholds for cab entry and egress, splash suppressant devices, and load-induced tire bulge. Safety devices, with the exception of rear view mirrors, shall not extend more than three inches on each side of a vehicle. The Commissioner of Highways shall designate reasonable access to terminals, facilities for food, fuel, repairs, and rest. Household goods carriers and any tractor truck semitrailer combination in which the semitrailer has a length of no more than twenty-eight and one-half feet shall not be denied reasonable access to points of loading and unloading, except as designated, based on safety considerations, by the Commissioner of Highways. No reasonable access designation shall be made, however, until notice of any proposed designation has been provided by the Commissioner of Highways to the governing body of every locality wherein any highway affected by the proposed designation is located.

For the purposes of this section, a commercial vehicle is defined as a loaded or empty motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer designed or regularly used for carrying freight, merchandise, or more than ten passengers, including buses, but not including vehicles used for vanpools.

1986, c. 72, § 46.1-328.1; 1989, cc. 645, 727; 1994, c. 456; 1997, c. 773; 2013, cc. 585, 646.

§ 46.2-1110. Height of vehicles; damage to overhead obstruction; penalty.

No loaded or unloaded vehicle shall exceed a height of 13 feet, six inches.

Nothing contained in this section shall require either the public authorities or railroad companies to provide vertical clearances of overhead bridges or structures in excess of 12 feet, six inches, or to make any changes in the vertical clearances of existing overhead bridges or structures crossing highways. The driver or owner of vehicles on highways shall be held financially responsible for any damage to overhead bridges or structures that results from collisions therewith.

The driver or owner of any vehicle colliding with an overhead bridge or structure shall immediately notify, either in person or by telephone, a law-enforcement officer or the public authority or railroad company, owning or maintaining such overhead bridge or structure of the fact of such collision, and his name, address, driver's license number, and the registration number of his vehicle. Failure to give such notice immediately, either in person or by telephone, shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor.

On any highway maintained by the Department of Transportation over which there is a bridge or structure having a vertical clearance of less than 14 feet, the Commissioner of Highways shall have at least two signs erected setting forth the height of the bridge or structure. Such signs shall be located at least 1,500 feet ahead of the bridge or structure.

On any highway maintained by a county, city, or town over which a bridge or structure has a vertical clearance of less than 14 feet, the local governing body shall have at least two signs erected setting forth the height of the bridge or structure. Such signs shall be located at least 1,500 feet ahead of the bridge or structure.

The Department of Transportation may install and use overheight vehicle optical detection systems to identify vehicles that exceed the overhead clearance of the westbound tunnel of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel on Interstate 64. When the optical system sensor located closest to the westbound tunnel entrance is used in identifying such vehicles, the system shall be installed at the specified height as determined by measurement standards that have been certified by the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and are traceable to national standards of measurement. Such identification by such system shall, for all purposes of law, be equivalent to having measured the height of the vehicle with a tape measure or other measuring device. When an employee of the Department of Transportation or the Department of State Police identifies a vehicle whose height exceeds 13 feet, six inches and whose driver is driving or attempting to drive through the westbound tunnel of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel on Interstate 64, the driver of such vehicle may elect to wait until the end of peak traffic periods, as determined by the Department of Transportation, so that the Department of Transportation or Department of State Police may safely stop traffic and allow such vehicle to proceed in the opposite direction. If the driver does not elect to wait, he shall be subject to the penalties under this section.

Any person who drives or attempts to drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles into or through any tunnel when the height of such vehicle, any vehicle in a combination of vehicles, or any load on any such vehicle exceeds that permitted for such tunnel, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, in addition, shall be assessed three driver demerit points. In addition, the driver of any such vehicle shall be fined $1,000, of which $1,000 shall be a mandatory minimum. For subsequent offenses, the owner of any such vehicle shall be fined $2,500, of which $2,500 shall be a mandatory minimum.

A violation of this section shall be deemed for all purposes a moving violation.

Code 1950, § 46-327; 1950, p. 480; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-329; 1962, c. 85; 1984, c. 780; 1989, c. 727; 2001, c. 94; 2005, cc. 542, 543; 2006, Sp. Sess. I, c. 6; 2011, c. 620; 2015, c. 181.

§ 46.2-1111. Extension of loads beyond line of fender or body.

No vehicle shall carry any load extending more than six inches beyond the line of the fender or body. Nor shall such load exceed a total outside width as prescribed by §§ 46.2-1105 through 46.2-1109.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, watercraft carried on vehicles may extend more than six inches beyond the line of the fender or body of such vehicle if the total width of watercraft and the carrier upon which it is carried does not exceed seventy-six inches.

Code 1950, § 46-330; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-334; 1960, c. 280; 1979, c. 526; 1989, c. 727.