Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 10. Motor Vehicle and Equipment Safety
6/22/2024

Article 3. Lights and Turn Signals.

§ 46.2-1010. Equipment required.

Every vehicle driven or moved on a highway within the Commonwealth shall at all times be equipped with such lights as are required in this chapter for different classes of vehicles. The lights shall at all times be capable of being lighted, except as otherwise provided. This section shall not apply, however, to any vehicle for transporting well-drilling machinery licensed under § 46.2-700 when operated only between the hours of sunrise and sunset.

Code 1950, § 46-264; 1950, p. 690; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-259; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1011. Headlights on motor vehicles.

Every motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, autocycle, road roller, road machinery, or tractor used on a highway shall be equipped with at least two headlights as approved by the Superintendent at the front of and on opposite sides of the motor vehicle.

Such headlights shall not have any aftermarket modifications that cause the headlights to appear as a blue light; however, such prohibition shall not be construed to prohibit the installation and use of headlights of types approved by the Superintendent.

Code 1950, § 46-265; 1956, c. 639; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-260; 1989, c. 727; 2014, cc. 53, 256; 2023, c. 689.

§ 46.2-1012. Headlights, auxiliary headlights, tail lights, brake lights, auxiliary lights, and illumination of license plates on motorcycles or autocycles.

Every motorcycle or autocycle shall be equipped with at least one headlight which shall be of a type that has been approved by the Superintendent and shall be capable of projecting sufficient light to the front of such motorcycle or autocycle to render discernible a person or object at a distance of 200 feet. In addition, each motorcycle or autocycle may be equipped with not more than two auxiliary headlights of a type approved by the Superintendent except as otherwise provided in this section. However, headlights shall not (i) project a glaring or dazzling light to persons approaching such motorcycles or autocycles or (ii) have any aftermarket modifications that cause such headlights to appear as a blue light. Such prohibition shall not be construed to prohibit the installation and use of headlights of types approved by the Superintendent.

Motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with means of modulating the high beam of their headlights between high and low beam at a rate of 200 to 280 flashes per minute. Such headlights shall not be so modulated during periods when headlights would ordinarily be required to be lighted under § 46.2-1030.

Notwithstanding § 46.2-1002, motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with standard bulb running lights or light-emitting diode (LED) pods or strips as auxiliary lighting. Such lighting shall be (i) either red or amber in color, (ii) directed toward the ground in such a manner that no part of the beam will strike the level of the surface on which the motorcycle or autocycle stands at a distance of more than 10 feet from the vehicle, and (iii) designed for vehicular use. Such lighting shall not (a) project a beam of light of an intensity greater than 25 candlepower or 314.25 lumens or its equivalent from a single lamp or bulb; (b) be blinking, flashing, oscillating, or rotating; or (c) be attached to the wheels of the motorcycle or autocycle.

Every motorcycle or autocycle registered in the Commonwealth and operated on the highways of the Commonwealth shall be equipped with at least one brake light of a type approved by the Superintendent. Motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with one or more auxiliary brake lights of a type approved by the Superintendent. The Superintendent may by regulation prescribe or limit the size, number, location, and configuration of such auxiliary brake lights.

Every motorcycle or autocycle shall carry at the rear at least one or more red lights plainly visible in clear weather from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Such tail lights shall be constructed and so mounted in their relation to the rear license plate as to illuminate the license plate with a white light so that the same may be read from a distance of 50 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Alternatively, a separate white light shall be so mounted as to illuminate the rear license plate from a distance of 50 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Any such tail lights or special white light shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent.

Motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with a means of varying the brightness of the vehicle's brake light upon application of the vehicle's brakes.

Code 1950, § 46-266; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-261; 1983, c. 132; 1989, c. 727; 1991, c. 165; 2003, c. 964; 2009, c. 79; 2014, cc. 53, 256; 2015, c. 405; 2018, c. 763; 2020, c. 393; 2023, c. 689.

§ 46.2-1013. Tail lights.

A. Every motor vehicle and every trailer or semitrailer being drawn at the end of one or more other vehicles shall carry at the rear two red lights plainly visible in clear weather from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of such vehicle.

B. All tail lights required pursuant to subsection A shall be constructed and so mounted in their relation to the rear license plate as to illuminate the license plate with a white light so that the same may be read from a distance of 50 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Alternatively, a separate white light shall be so mounted as to illuminate the rear license plate from a distance of 50 feet to the rear of such vehicle. No law-enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle for a violation of this subsection. 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.

C. Any tail lights or special white light required pursuant to this section shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent.

D. In any instance where the tail light is to be installed on a boat trailer and the boat extends beyond the end of the trailer or to the end of the trailer, an approved portable light assembly or assemblies may be attached to the exposed rear of the boat, provided such installation complies with the visibility requirements of this section. The provisions of this section shall not apply to motorcycles.

Code 1950, § 46-267; 1952, c. 652; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-262; 1964, c. 16; 1989, c. 727; 2003, c. 964; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 45, 51.

§ 46.2-1014. Brake lights.

A. Every motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer, except an antique vehicle not originally equipped with a brake light, registered in the Commonwealth and operated on the highways in the Commonwealth shall be equipped with at least two brake lights of a type approved by the Superintendent. Such brake lights shall automatically exhibit a red or amber light plainly visible in clear weather from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of such vehicle when the brake is applied.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to motorcycles or autocycles equipped with brake lights as required by § 46.2-1012.

B. No law-enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer for a violation of this section, except that a law-enforcement officer may stop a vehicle if it displays no brake lights that meet the requirements set forth in subsection A. 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.

1970, c. 17, § 46.1-262.1; 1972, c. 6; 1989, c. 727; 2000, cc. 54, 63; 2003, c. 964; 2014, cc. 53, 256; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 45, 51.

§ 46.2-1014.1. Supplemental high mount stop light.

A. Whenever operated on the highways, every Virginia-registered passenger car manufactured for the 1986 or subsequent model year shall be equipped with a supplemental center high mount stop light of a type approved by the Superintendent or which meets the standards adopted by the United States Department of Transportation. The light shall be mounted as near the vertical center line of the vehicle as possible. The light shall be actuated only in conjunction with the vehicle's brake lights and hazard lights. Any supplemental high mount stop light installed on any other vehicle shall comply with those requirements.

B. 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.

1990, c. 955; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 45, 51.

§ 46.2-1015. Lights on bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, personal delivery devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, mopeds, and motorized skateboards or scooters.

A. Every bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, personal delivery device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, and motorized skateboard or scooter with handlebars when in use between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped with a headlight on the front emitting a white light visible in clear weather from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a red reflector visible from a distance of at least 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle. Such lights and reflector shall be of types approved by the Superintendent. Such headlights shall not have any aftermarket modifications that cause the headlights to appear as a blue light; however, such prohibition shall not be construed to prohibit the installation and use of headlights of types approved by the Superintendent.

In addition to the foregoing provisions of this section, a bicycle or its rider may be equipped with lights or reflectors. These lights may be steady burning or blinking.

B. Every bicycle, or its rider, shall be equipped with a taillight on the rear emitting a red light plainly visible in clear weather from a distance of at least 500 feet to the rear when in use between sunset and sunrise and operating on any highway with a speed limit of 35 mph or greater. Any such taillight shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent.

Code 1950, §§ 46-268, 46-270; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-263; 1981, c. 585; 1989, c. 727; 2001, c. 834; 2002, c. 254; 2004, cc. 947, 973; 2005, c. 381; 2017, cc. 251, 788; 2019, c. 780; 2020, c. 1269; 2023, c. 689.

§ 46.2-1016. Lights on other vehicles; reflectors.

All vehicles, including animal-drawn vehicles, or other mobile equipment not otherwise in this article required to be equipped with specified lights shall carry at least one or more white lights to the front and a red light to the rear visible in clear weather from a distance of not less than 500 feet to the front and rear of such vehicles. Such lights may be battery-operated.

In lieu of or in addition to the lights, a reflector of a type, size, and color approved by the Superintendent may be permanently affixed to the rear and front of any vehicle described in this section.

Code 1950, §§ 46-269, 46-270; 1952, c. 652; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-264; 1989, c. 727; 2023, c. 324.

§ 46.2-1017. Dimension or marker lights and reflectors, generally.

All motor vehicles, trailers, or semitrailers exceeding seven feet in width or the widest portion of which extends four inches beyond the front fender extremes shall be equipped with amber lights mounted at the extreme right and left front top corners of such vehicle. Each such light shall be visible in clear weather for a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of such vehicle. Such vehicles shall also be equipped with red lights mounted at the extreme right and left rear top corners of such vehicle. Each such light shall be visible in clear weather for at least 500 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Any tractor truck, however, need not be equipped with rear red dimension or marker lights. If the front or the rear of such vehicle is not the widest portion of the vehicle, the dimension or marker lights required in this section shall be mounted on the widest portions of the vehicle with the amber lights herein required visible from the front as herein required and the red lights herein required visible from the rear as herein required. The lights herein required shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent.

In addition to the lights required in this section, each such vehicle shall be equipped with amber reflectors located on each side thereof, at or near the front. Red reflectors shall be used on the rear of each such vehicle. Such reflectors shall be securely fastened to the vehicle not less than fifteen inches and not more than sixty inches from the ground. For a vehicle that is less than fifteen inches tall, however, such reflectors shall be securely fastened thereto at the highest point the structure of a vehicle will permit. The reflectors shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent.

If any vehicle is so constructed as to make compliance with the requirements of this section impractical, the lights and reflectors shall be placed on the vehicle in accordance with the Superintendent's regulations.

If any vehicle required by this section to be equipped with dimension or marker lights has installed on its rear, as close as practicable to the top of the vehicle and as close as practicable to the vertical centerline of the vehicle, three red identification lights of a type approved by the Superintendent, with the light centers spaced not less than six inches or more than twelve inches apart, the rear dimension or marker lights may be mounted at any height but must indicate as nearly as practicable the extreme width of the vehicle.

Code 1950, § 46-271; 1952, c. 652; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-265; 1960, c. 156; 1974, c. 218; 1977, c. 383; 1989, c. 727; 1997, c. 23.

§ 46.2-1018. Marker lights on vehicles or loads exceeding thirty-five feet.

Whenever any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles whose actual length, including its load, exceeds thirty-five feet and is not subject to the provisions of § 46.2-1017, such vehicle shall be equipped with reflectors of a type approved by the Superintendent when operated between sunset and sunrise. Such reflectors shall be mounted on the widest part of the vehicle or its load so as to be visible from the front and sides of the vehicle.

1958, c. 541, § 46.1-265.1; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1019. Spotlights.

Any motor vehicle or motorcycle may be equipped with one or two spotlights which, when lighted, shall be aimed and used so that no portion of the beam will be directed to the left of the center of the highway at any time or more than 100 feet ahead of the vehicle. Any such lights shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent. No such spotlights shall be used in conjunction with or as a substitute for required head lights, except in case of emergency.

Code 1950, § 46-272; 1954, c. 58; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-266; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1020. Other permissible lights.

Any motor vehicle may be equipped with fog lights, not more than two of which can be illuminated at any time, one or two auxiliary driving lights if so equipped by the manufacturer, two daytime running lights, two side lights of not more than six candlepower or 75.42 lumens, an interior light or lights of not more than 15 candlepower or 188.55 lumens each, and signal lights.

The provision of this section limiting interior lights to no more than 15 candlepower or 188.55 lumens shall not apply to (i) alternating, blinking, or flashing colored emergency lights mounted inside law-enforcement motor vehicles which may otherwise legally be equipped with such colored emergency lights, or (ii) flashing shielded red or red and white lights, authorized under § 46.2-1024, mounted inside vehicles owned or used by (a) members of volunteer fire companies or volunteer emergency medical services agencies, (b) professional firefighters, or (c) police chaplains. A vehicle equipped with lighting devices as authorized in this section shall be operated by a police chaplain only if he has successfully completed a course of training in the safe operation of a motor vehicle under emergency conditions and a certificate attesting to such successful completion, signed by the course instructor, is carried at all times in the vehicle when operated by the police chaplain to whom the certificate applies.

Unless such lighting device (i) is both covered and unlit or (ii) has a clear lens, any reflector in such lighting device is clear, and such lighting device is unlit, no motor vehicle that is equipped with any lighting device other than lights required or permitted in this article, required or approved by the Superintendent, or required by the federal Department of Transportation shall be operated on any highway in the Commonwealth. Nothing in this section shall permit any vehicle, not otherwise authorized, to be equipped with colored emergency lights, whether blinking or steady-burning.

Code 1950, § 46-273; 1954, c. 310; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-267; 1960, cc. 156, 391; 1962, c. 512; 1966, cc. 655, 664; 1968, c. 89; 1972, c. 7; 1974, c. 537; 1976, c. 6; 1977, c. 72; 1978, cc. 311, 357; 1980, c. 337; 1981, c. 338; 1984, cc. 440, 539; 1985, cc. 248, 269, 287, 462; 1986, cc. 124, 127, 229; 1987, cc. 347, 370; 1988, cc. 339, 351; 1989, c. 727; 1991, c. 516; 1995, c. 122; 2003, c. 153; 2006, c. 122; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2018, c. 72; 2020, c. 393.

§ 46.2-1021. Additional lights permitted on certain commercial vehicles.

In addition to other lights permitted in this article, buses operated as public carriers, taxicabs as defined in § 46.2-2000, and commercial motor vehicles as defined in § 52-8.4 may be equipped with (i) illuminated vacant or destination signs and (ii) single steady-burning white lights, emitting a diffused light of such intensity as not to project a glaring or dazzling light, for the nighttime illumination of exterior advertising.

In addition to other lights authorized by this article, buses operated as public carriers may be equipped with flashing white warning lights of types authorized by the Superintendent of State Police. These warning lights shall be installed in a manner authorized by the Superintendent and shall be lighted while the bus is transporting passengers during periods of reduced visibility caused by atmospheric conditions other than darkness. These warning lights may also be lighted at other times while the bus is transporting passengers.

Code 1950, § 46-273; 1954, c. 310; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-267; 1960, cc. 156, 391; 1962, c. 512; 1966, cc. 655, 664; 1968, c. 89; 1972, c. 7; 1974, c. 537; 1976, c. 6; 1977, c. 72; 1978, cc. 311, 357; 1980, c. 337; 1981, c. 338; 1984, cc. 440, 539; 1985, cc. 248, 269, 287, 462; 1986, cc. 124, 127, 229; 1987, cc. 347, 370; 1988, cc. 339, 351; 1989, c. 727; 1998, c. 419.

§ 46.2-1021.1. Additional lights permitted on certain privately owned cars.

Privately owned passenger cars used for home delivery of commercially prepared food may be equipped with one steady-burning white light for the nighttime illumination of a sign identifying the business delivering the food. Such sign shall not utilize primarily green, red or blue colors. Such sign shall not exceed eighteen inches in height nor have more than four sides, no side of which shall exceed fifteen by twenty-four inches. Such light shall emit diffused illumination of such an intensity as not to project a glaring or dazzling light. Such light may only be illuminated during delivery.

1989, c. 262, § 46.1-267.

§ 46.2-1022. Flashing or steady-burning blue or red, flashing red and blue or blue and white, or red, white, and blue warning lights.

Certain Department of Military Affairs vehicles and certain Virginia National Guard vehicles designated by the Adjutant General, when used in state active duty to perform particular law-enforcement functions, Department of Corrections vehicles designated by the Director of the Department of Corrections, and law-enforcement vehicles may be equipped with flashing, blinking, or alternating blue, blue and red, blue and white, or red, white, and blue combination warning lights of types approved by the Superintendent. Such warning lights may be of types constructed within turn signal housings or motorcycle headlight housings, subject to approval by the Superintendent.

Law-enforcement vehicles may also be equipped with steady-burning blue or red warning lights of types approved by the Superintendent.

Code 1950, § 46-273; 1954, c. 310; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-267; 1960, cc. 156, 391; 1962, c. 512; 1966, cc. 655, 664; 1968, c. 89; 1972, c. 7; 1974, c. 537; 1976, c. 6; 1977, c. 72; 1978, cc. 311, 357; 1980, c. 337; 1981, c. 338; 1984, cc. 440, 539; 1985, cc. 248, 269, 287, 462; 1986, cc. 124, 127, 229; 1987, cc. 347, 370; 1988, cc. 339, 351; 1989, c. 727; 1992, c. 96; 1996, cc. 141, 347; 2004, c. 323; 2008, c. 181; 2018, c. 651.

§ 46.2-1023. Flashing red or red and white warning lights.

Fire apparatus, forest warden vehicles, emergency medical services vehicles, vehicles of the Department of Emergency Management, vehicles of the Department of Environmental Quality, vehicles of the Virginia National Guard Civil Support Team and the Virginia National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) when responding to an emergency, vehicles of county, city, or town Departments of Emergency Management, vehicles of the Office of Emergency Medical Services, animal warden vehicles, vehicles of the Response and Recovery Coordination Branch of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Office of Emergency Preparedness, and vehicles used by security personnel of the Huntington Ingalls Industries, Bassett-Walker, Inc., the Winchester Medical Center, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Wallops Flight Facility, and, within those areas specified in their orders of appointment, by special conservators of the peace and policemen for certain places appointed pursuant to §§ 19.2-13 and 19.2-17 may be equipped with flashing, blinking, or alternating red or red and white combination warning lights of types approved by the Superintendent. Such warning lights may be of types constructed within turn signal housings or motorcycle headlight housings, subject to approval by the Superintendent.

Code 1950, § 46-273; 1954, c. 310; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-267; 1960, cc. 156, 391; 1962, c. 512; 1966, cc. 655, 664; 1968, c. 89; 1972, c. 7; 1974, c. 537; 1976, c. 6; 1977, c. 72; 1978, cc. 311, 357; 1980, c. 337; 1981, c. 338; 1984, cc. 440, 539; 1985, cc. 248, 269, 287, 462; 1986, cc. 124, 127, 229; 1987, cc. 347, 370; 1988, cc. 339, 351; 1989, c. 727; 1991, c. 105; 1992, c. 34; 1994, c. 178; 1995, c. 92; 2003, cc. 152, 217; 2005, c. 583; 2006, c. 86; 2008, c. 181; 2009, c. 595; 2014, cc. 171, 800; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2018, c. 64; 2023, cc. 88, 89.

§ 46.2-1024. Flashing or steady-burning red or red and white warning light units.

Any member of a fire department, volunteer fire company, or volunteer emergency medical services agency and any police chaplain may equip one vehicle owned by him with no more than two flashing or steady-burning red or red and white combination warning light units of types approved by the Superintendent. Warning light units permitted by this section shall be lit only when answering emergency calls. A vehicle equipped with warning light units as authorized in this section shall be operated by a police chaplain only if he has successfully completed a course of training in the safe operation of a motor vehicle under emergency conditions and a certificate attesting to such successful completion, signed by the course instructor, is carried at all times in the vehicle when operated by the police chaplain to whom the certificate applies.

Code 1950, § 46-273; 1954, c. 310; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-267; 1960, cc. 156, 391; 1962, c. 512; 1966, cc. 655, 664; 1968, c. 89; 1972, c. 7; 1974, c. 537; 1976, c. 6; 1977, c. 72; 1978, cc. 311, 357; 1980, c. 337; 1981, c. 338; 1984, cc. 440, 539; 1985, cc. 248, 269, 287, 462; 1986, cc. 124, 127, 229; 1987, cc. 347, 370; 1988, cc. 339, 351; 1989, c. 727; 1992, c. 379; 2003, c. 153; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2017, c. 244.

§ 46.2-1025. Flashing amber, purple, or green warning lights.

A. The following vehicles may be equipped with flashing, blinking, or alternating amber warning lights of types approved by the Superintendent:

1. Vehicles used for the principal purpose of towing or servicing disabled vehicles;

2. Vehicles used in constructing, maintaining, and repairing highways or utilities on or along public highways, or in assisting with the management of roadside and traffic incidents, or performing traffic management services along public highways;

3. Vehicles used for the principal purpose of removing hazardous or polluting substances from state waters and drainage areas on or along public highways, or state vehicles used to perform other state-required environmental activities, provided that the amber lights are not lit while the vehicle is in motion;

4. Vehicles used for servicing automatic teller machines, provided the amber lights are not lit while the vehicle is in motion;

5. Vehicles used in refuse collection, provided the amber lights are lit only when the vehicles are engaged in refuse collection operations;

6. Vehicles used by individuals for emergency snow-removal purposes;

7. Hi-rail vehicles, provided the amber lights are lit only when the vehicles are operated on railroad rails;

8. Fire apparatus and emergency medical services vehicles, provided the amber lights are used in addition to lights permitted under § 46.2-1023 and are so mounted or installed as to be visible from behind the vehicle;

9. Vehicles owned and used by businesses providing security services, provided the amber lights are not lit while the vehicle is being operated on a public highway;

10. Vehicles used to collect and deliver the United States mail, provided the amber lights are lit only when the vehicle is actually engaged in such collection or delivery;

11. Vehicles used to collect and deliver packages weighing less than 150 pounds by a national package delivery company that delivers such packages in all 50 states, provided that the amber lights are lit only when the vehicle is stopped and its operator is engaged in such collection and delivery;

12. Vehicles used to transport petroleum or propane products, provided the amber light is mounted on the rear of the vehicle and is lit when parked while making a delivery of petroleum or propane products, or when the vehicle's back-up lights are lit and its device producing an audible signal when the vehicle is operated in reverse gear, as provided for in § 46.2-1175.1, is in operation;

13. Vehicles used by law-enforcement agency personnel in the enforcement of laws governing motor vehicle parking;

14. Government-owned law-enforcement vehicles, provided the lights are used for the purpose of giving directional warning to vehicular traffic to move one direction or another and are not lit while the vehicle is in motion;

15. Chase vehicles when used to unload a hot air balloon or used to load a hot air balloon after landing, provided the amber lights are not lit while the vehicle is in motion;

16. Vehicles used for farm, agricultural, or horticultural purposes, or any farm tractor;

17. Vehicles owned and used by construction companies operating under Virginia contractors licenses;

18. Vehicles used to lead or provide escorts for bicycle races authorized by the Department of Transportation or the locality in which the race is being conducted;

19. Vehicles used by radio or television stations for remote broadcasts, provided that the amber lights are not lit while the vehicle is in motion;

20. Vehicles used by municipal safety officers in the performance of their official duties. For the purpose of this subdivision, "municipal safety officers" means municipal employees responsible for managing municipal safety programs and ensuring municipal compliance with safety and environmental regulatory mandates;

21. Vehicles used as pace cars, security vehicles, or firefighting vehicles by any speedway or motor vehicle race track, provided that the amber lights are not lit while the vehicle is being operated on a public highway;

22. Vehicles used in patrol work by members of neighborhood watch groups approved by the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality in their assigned neighborhood watch program area, provided that the vehicles are clearly identified as neighborhood watch vehicles, and the amber lights are not lit while the vehicle is in motion;

23. Vehicles that are not tow trucks as defined in § 46.2-100, but are owned or controlled by a towing and recovery business, provided that the amber lights are lit only when the vehicle is being used at a towing and recovery site;

24. Vehicles used or operated by federally licensed amateur radio operators (i) while participating in emergency communications or drills on behalf of federal, state, or local authorities or (ii) while providing communications services to localities for public service events authorized by the Department of Transportation where the event is being conducted;

25. Publicly owned or operated transit buses; and

26. Vehicles used for hauling trees, logs, or any other forest products when hauling such products, provided that the amber lights are mounted or installed so as to be visible from behind the vehicle.

B. Except as otherwise provided in this section, such amber lights shall be lit only when performing the functions which qualify them to be equipped with such lights.

C. Vehicles used to lead or provide escorts for funeral processions may use either amber warning lights or purple warning lights, but amber warning lights and purple warning lights shall not simultaneously be used on the same vehicle. The Superintendent of State Police shall develop standards and specifications for purple lights authorized in this subsection.

D. Vehicles used by police, firefighting, or emergency medical services personnel as command centers at the scene of incidents may be equipped with and use green warning lights of a type approved by the Superintendent. Such lights shall not be activated while the vehicle is operating upon the highway.

Code 1950, § 46-273; 1954, c. 310; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-267; 1960, cc. 156, 391; 1962, c. 512; 1966, cc. 655, 664; 1968, c. 89; 1972, c. 7; 1974, c. 537; 1976, c. 6; 1977, c. 72; 1978, cc. 311, 357; 1980, c. 337; 1981, c. 338; 1984, cc. 440, 539; 1985, cc. 248, 269, 287, 462; 1986, cc. 124, 127, 229; 1987, cc. 347, 370; 1988, cc. 339, 351; 1989, c. 727; 1991, c. 465; 1992, cc. 93, 410, 805; 1995, c. 727; 1997, c. 149; 1998, cc. 134, 417; 1999, cc. 18, 72, 232; 2000, cc. 84, 121, 278; 2003, c. 93; 2005, c. 574; 2010, c. 127; 2011, c. 268; 2014, c. 54; 2015, cc. 41, 502, 503; 2016, cc. 198, 226; 2017, cc. 326, 333; 2019, cc. 112, 145; 2023, c. 613.

§ 46.2-1026. Flashing high-intensity amber warning lights.

A. High-intensity flashing, blinking, or alternating amber warning lights visible for at least 500 feet, of types approved by the Superintendent, shall be used on any vehicle engaged in either escorting or towing over-dimensional materials, equipment, boats, or manufactured housing units by authority of a highway hauling permit issued pursuant to § 46.2-1139. Such lights shall be mounted on the top of the escort and tow vehicles and on the upper rear end of the over-dimensional vehicles or loads for maximum visibility, front and rear. However, any vehicles operating under a permit issued pursuant to § 46.2-1139 shall be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of this subsection if accompanied by escort vehicles.

The provisions of this subsection shall apply only to vehicles or loads that are either (i) more than 12 feet wide or (ii) more than 75 feet long.

B. Such amber warning lights may be used on any vehicle used by any public utility company for the purpose of repairing, installing, or maintaining electric or natural gas utility equipment or service.

Code 1950, § 46-273; 1954, c. 310; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-267; 1960, cc. 156, 391; 1962, c. 512; 1966, cc. 655, 664; 1968, c. 89; 1972, c. 7; 1974, c. 537; 1976, c. 6; 1977, c. 72; 1978, cc. 311, 357; 1980, c. 337; 1981, c. 338; 1984, cc. 440, 539; 1985, cc. 248, 269, 287, 462; 1986, cc. 124, 127, 229; 1987, cc. 347, 370; 1988, cc. 339, 351; 1989, c. 727; 2018, c. 263.

§ 46.2-1027. Warning lights on certain demonstrator vehicles.

Dealers or businesses engaged in the sale of fire, emergency medical services, or law-enforcement vehicles may, for demonstration purposes, equip such vehicles with colored warning lights.

Code 1950, § 46-273; 1954, c. 310; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-267; 1960, cc. 156, 391; 1962, c. 512; 1966, cc. 655, 664; 1968, c. 89; 1972, c. 7; 1974, c. 537; 1976, c. 6; 1977, c. 72; 1978, cc. 311, 357; 1980, c. 337; 1981, c. 338; 1984, cc. 440, 539; 1985, cc. 248, 269, 287, 462; 1986, cc. 124, 127, 229; 1987, cc. 347, 370; 1988, cc. 339, 351; 1989, c. 727; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 46.2-1028. Auxiliary lights on firefighting, Virginia Department of Transportation, and other emergency vehicles.

Any firefighting vehicle, emergency medical services vehicle, Virginia Department of Transportation vehicle, or tow truck may be equipped with clear auxiliary lights, which shall be used exclusively for lighting emergency scenes. Such lights shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent and shall not be used in a manner that may blind or interfere with the vision of the drivers of approaching vehicles. In no event shall such lights be lighted while the vehicle is in motion.

1972, c. 385, § 46.1-267.1; 1989, c. 727; 1996, c. 403; 2006, cc. 874, 891; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 46.2-1028.1. Illuminated identification systems on certain emergency vehicles.

Any firefighting vehicle, ambulance, rescue or life-saving vehicle, or vehicle used by police, firefighting, or rescue personnel as a command center at the scene of incidents may be equipped with and use an illuminated identification system of a type approved by the Superintendent to enable aircraft more easily to read number decals and other identifying markings on the roofs of such vehicle. Any such illuminated identification system may be used when the vehicle is in motion or stationary.

2015, c. 333.

§ 46.2-1028.2. Auxiliary lights on public utility vehicles.

Any electrical service utility vehicle owned and operated by a public utility, as defined in § 56-265.1, and having a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 15,000 pounds may be equipped with clear auxiliary lights that shall be mounted on the lower portion of the vehicle and aimed downward for the exclusive use of ground lighting. Such lights shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent and shall not be used in a manner that may blind or interfere with the vision of the drivers of approaching vehicles. In no event shall such lights be lighted while the vehicle is in motion.

2015, c. 341.

§ 46.2-1029. Auxiliary lights on law-enforcement vehicles.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, any government-owned law-enforcement vehicle may be equipped with clear auxiliary lights of a type approved by the Superintendent. Such lights may be used to light emergency scenes and other areas for the purpose of detecting offenders, apprehending violators of law, and in performing other reasonably necessary law-enforcement functions. Such lights may be used when the vehicle on which they are mounted is standing or proceeding at a speed of no more than fifteen miles per hour. Such lights shall not be used in a manner which may blind or interfere with the vision of the operators of approaching vehicles.

Any law-enforcement officer may also use spotlights, as authorized in § 46.2-1019, for the purpose and in the manner described herein.

1975, c. 291, § 46.1-267.2; 1980, c. 14; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1029.1. Flashing of headlights on certain vehicles.

Emergency vehicles as defined in subsection C of § 46.2-920 may be equipped with the means to flash their headlights when their warning lights are activated if (i) the headlights are wired to allow either the high beam or low beam to flash, but not both, and (ii) the headlight system includes a switch or device which prevents flashing of headlights when headlights are required to be lighted under § 46.2-1030.

The provisions of clause (ii) above shall not apply in the City of Chesapeake, the City of Portsmouth, the City of Poquoson, or the County of York.

1989, c. 47; 1994, c. 69; 2003, c. 121; 2005, c. 209.

§ 46.2-1029.2. Certain vehicles may be equipped with secondary warning lights.

A. For purposes of this section, "traffic incident management vehicle" means any vehicle operating en route to or at the scene of a traffic accident or similar emergency that affects the travel lanes of a highway, provided that such vehicle is a (i) Department of Transportation vehicle operated by an incident management coordinator or (ii) vehicle operated pursuant to the Department of Transportation safety service patrol program or a contract with the Department of Transportation that includes traffic incident management services as defined in § 46.2-920.1. The provisions of § 46.2-920 shall not apply to the operation of such traffic incident management vehicle.

B. In addition to other lights authorized by this article, any (i) fire apparatus, (ii) government-owned vehicle operated on official business by a local fire chief or other local fire official, (iii) emergency medical services vehicle, or (iv) traffic incident management vehicle may be equipped with alternating, blinking, or flashing red or red and white secondary warning lights mounted inside the vehicle's taillights, headlights, or marker lights of a type approved by the Superintendent of State Police.

C. In order to operate a traffic incident management vehicle with lighted warning lights pursuant to this section, a traffic incident management vehicle operator shall be required to (i) complete an initial emergency vehicle operators course from an approved course list prepared by the Department of Fire Programs, the Office of Emergency Medical Services, or an equivalent agency and (ii) recertify as an emergency vehicle operator every two years.

2003, c. 115; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2022, cc. 457, 458.

§ 46.2-1030. When lights to be lighted; number of lights to be lighted at any time; use of warning lights.

A. Every vehicle in operation on a highway in the Commonwealth shall display lighted headlights and illuminating devices as required by this article (i) from sunset to sunrise; (ii) during any other time when, because of rain, smoke, fog, snow, sleet, insufficient light, or other unfavorable atmospheric conditions, visibility is reduced to a degree whereby persons or vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet; and (iii) whenever windshield wipers are in use as a result of fog, rain, sleet, or snow. The provisions of this subsection, however, shall not apply to instances when windshield wipers are used intermittently in misting rain, sleet, or snow.

B. Not more than four lights used to provide general illumination ahead of the vehicle, including at least two headlights and any other combination of fog lights or other auxiliary lights approved by the Superintendent, shall be lighted at any time. However, motorcycles may be equipped with and use not more than five approved lights in order to provide general illumination ahead of the motorcycle. These limitations shall not preclude the display of warning lights authorized in §§ 46.2-1020 through 46.2-1027, or other lights as may be authorized by the Superintendent.

C. Vehicles equipped with warning lights authorized in §§ 46.2-1020 through 46.2-1027 shall display lighted warning lights as authorized in such sections at all times when responding to emergency calls, responding to traffic incidents, responding to metropolitan transit-related incidents, towing disabled vehicles, or constructing, repairing, and maintaining public highways or utilities on or along public highways, except that amber lights on vehicles designed with a ramp on wheels and a hydraulic lift with a capacity to haul or tow another vehicle, commonly referred to as "rollbacks," need not be lit while the vehicle is in motion unless it is actually towing a vehicle.

D. The failure to display lighted headlights and illuminating devices under the conditions set forth in clause (iii) of subsection A shall not constitute negligence per se, nor shall violation of clause (iii) of subsection A constitute a defense to any claim for personal injury or recovery of medical expenses for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.

E. No demerit points shall be assessed for failure to display lighted headlights and illuminating devices during periods of fog, rain, sleet, or snow in violation of clause (iii) of subsection A.

F. No citation for a violation of clause (iii) of subsection A shall be issued unless the officer issuing such citation has cause to stop or arrest the driver of such motor vehicle for the violation of some other provision of this Code or local ordinance relating to the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a motor vehicle or any criminal statute. No law-enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle for a violation of this section, except that a law-enforcement officer may stop a vehicle if it displays no lighted headlights during the time periods set forth in subsection A. 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.

Code 1950, § 46-275; 1956, c. 640; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-268; 1960, c. 156; 1970, c. 165; 1983, c. 132; 1987, c. 381; 1989, c. 727; 1992, c. 364; 1997, cc. 25, 589; 2016, cc. 195, 206; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 45, 51; 2022, cc. 457, 458; 2023, cc. 88, 89.

§ 46.2-1031. Requirements as to single-beam head lights.

Approved single-beam head lights shall be aimed in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Superintendent so as not to project a glaring or dazzling light to persons approaching such head lights and shall be of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and objects at a distance of at least 200 feet.

Code 1950, § 46-276; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-269; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1032. Requirements as to multiple-beam headlights.

Approved multiple-beam headlights shall be aimed in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Superintendent, based on recommendations of the Society of Automotive Engineers. The high beam of any such lights shall be of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and objects at least 350 feet ahead. At least one nonglaring low beam shall be provided and shall be of such intensity as to reveal persons and objects at least 100 feet ahead.

Code 1950, § 46-277; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-270; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1033. Indicator light required.

Every motor vehicle operated on a highway shall be equipped with a working indicator light that indicates to the driver when the high beam of the headlights is being used.

Code 1950, § 46-278; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-271; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1034. When dimming headlights required.

Whenever a vehicle is being driven on a highway or a portion thereof which is sufficiently lighted to reveal any person or object upon such highway at a distance of 350 feet ahead, the operator of such vehicle shall use the low beam of his vehicle's headlights or shall dim the headlights if the vehicle has single-beam lights. Whenever a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, the driver of such vehicle shall use the low beam of his vehicle's headlights so aimed that glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver or dim the headlights, if the vehicle has single-beam lights. Whenever the driver of any motor vehicle approaches from the rear or follows within 200 feet of another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, the driver shall use the low beam of his vehicle's headlights or shall dim the headlights if the vehicle has single-beam lights.

Code 1950, § 46-279; 1954, c. 114; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-272; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1035. Dimming headlights on parked vehicles.

Whenever a vehicle is parked so that the beam from its headlights will glare into the eyes of the driver of a vehicle approaching on a highway, the operator of the parked vehicle shall dim or use the low beam of such lights so that glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of an approaching driver.

Code 1950, § 46-279.1; 1950, p. 54; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-273; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1036. Acetylene lights on antique motor vehicles.

Antique motor vehicles as defined in § 46.2-100 may be equipped with acetylene headlights, taillights, and lights to illuminate their rear license plates as provided in regulations promulgated by the Superintendent.

Code 1950, § 46-280; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-274; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1037. Lights on parked vehicles.

Any vehicle parked or stopped on a highway, whether attended or unattended, between sunset and sunrise shall display at least one light projecting a white or amber light visible in clear weather from a distance of 500 feet to the front of such vehicle and projecting a red light visible under like conditions from a distance of 500 feet to the rear. No lights, however, need be displayed upon any such vehicle when legally parked.

Code 1950, § 46-282; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-276; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 86; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1038. When turn signals required; exceptions.

A. Any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer which is so constructed or carries a load in such a manner as to prevent a hand and arm signal required in § 46.2-849 from being visible both to the front and rear of such motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer or any vehicle the driver of which is incapable of giving the required hand and arm signals, shall be equipped with electrical turn signals which meet the requirements of this title and are of a type that has been approved by the Superintendent. A tractor truck, however, need not be equipped with electrical turn signals on the rear if it is equipped with double faced signal lights mounted on the front fenders or on the sides near the front of the vehicle clearly visible to the rear.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to drive on any highway a motor vehicle registered in the Commonwealth and manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1955, unless such vehicle is equipped with such turn signals on both front and rear.

C. Any such turn signal may be used in lieu of the hand and arm signal required by § 46.2-849.

D. Subsections A and B of this section shall not apply to any motorcycle. The provisions of this section shall not apply to motor vehicles, trailers, or semitrailers used for agricultural or horticultural purposes and exempted from registration under Article 6 (§ 46.2-662 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of this title.

Code 1950, § 46-302; 1954, c. 44; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-298; 1962, c. 255; 1974, c. 217; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1039. Requirements of turn signals; regulations.

Every turn signal used to give a signal of intention to turn a vehicle shall be so constructed and so installed as to give a signal plainly visible in clear weather and under normal traffic conditions from a distance of at least 100 feet to the rear and 100 feet to the front of the vehicle. No front turn signal, however, shall be required on vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1943.

The Superintendent may promulgate regulations not inconsistent with this section and § 46.2-1038 governing the construction, location, and operation of turn signals and the color of lights which may be used in any such signal device. Nothing contained herein, however, shall prohibit the requiring of turn signals on any vehicle whose driver is prevented by any reason from giving the hand and arm signal required in § 46.2-849.

Code 1950, § 46-303; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-299; 1962, c. 89; 1968, c. 99; 1972, c. 445; 1974, c. 347; 1979, c. 44; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1040. Hazard lights.

Motor vehicles, trailers, and semitrailers, when temporarily stopped on the traveled or paved portion of the highway so as to create a traffic hazard, shall flash all four turn signals simultaneously to signal approaching motorists of the existing hazard whenever such vehicle is equipped with a device which will cause the four turn signals to flash simultaneously. All four turn signals may be flashed simultaneously on a vehicle slowed or stopped at the scene of a traffic hazard, when traveling as part of a funeral procession, or when traveling at a speed of thirty miles per hour or less. Except for vehicles traveling as part of a funeral procession, all four turn signals shall not be flashed simultaneously while the vehicle is traveling faster than thirty miles per hour.

School buses shall flash all four turn signals when approaching and stopping at railroad grade crossings.

Code 1950, § 46-303; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-299; 1962, c. 89; 1968, c. 99; 1972, c. 445; 1974, c. 347; 1979, c. 44; 1989, c. 727; 2001, c. 359.