Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 10. Motor Vehicle and Equipment Safety
6/14/2024

Article 4. Tires.

§ 46.2-1041. Restrictions as to solid rubber tires.

Every tire, other than a pneumatic tire, made of rubber on a motor vehicle moved on any highway shall have rubber on its entire traction surface at least one inch thick above the edge of the flange of the entire periphery. No motor vehicle equipped with such tires shall be operated on any highway in the Commonwealth unless a permit therefor is first secured from the Department of Transportation.

Code 1950, § 46-299; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-295; 1989, c. 727; 2013, cc. 585, 646; 2019, c. 780.

§ 46.2-1042. Standard for vehicle tire; sale of certain tires prohibited; penalty.

No person shall sell or offer for sale, or have in his possession with intent to sell any motor vehicle tire unless that tire (i) meets or exceeds standards established by the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American National Standards Institute, Inc., or the federal Department of Transportation and (ii) is marked in accordance with those standards.

No person shall knowingly operate on any highway in the Commonwealth a Virginia registered motor vehicle equipped with any regrooved or recut tire unless that tire (i) meets or exceeds standards established by the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American National Standards Institute, Inc., or the federal Department of Transportation and (ii) is marked in accordance with those standards.

Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1966, c. 490, § 46.1-295.2; 1989, c. 727; 1996, c. 92.

§ 46.2-1043. Tire tread depth.

A. No person shall operate a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer on any highway in the Commonwealth if it is equipped with one or more tires which:

1. When measured in any two adjacent major tread grooves where the tread is thinnest, at three equally spaced intervals around the circumference of the tire and exclusive of "tiebars" by a tread depth gauge calibrated in thirty-seconds of an inch, are found to have tread depth of less than two thirty-seconds of an inch at such locations; or

2. When equipped with tread wear indicators, are found to have such indicators in contact with pavement at any two adjacent grooves at three equally spaced intervals around the circumference of the tire.

B. No motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer shall be issued a safety inspection approval sticker if equipped with any tire whose use is prohibited under the provisions of this section.

C. This section shall not apply to tires mounted on dual wheels installed on motor vehicles which have seats for more than seven passengers and are (i) operated wholly within a municipality, or (ii) operated by urban and suburban bus lines. For purposes of this section, "urban and suburban bus lines" are defined as bus lines operating over regular scheduled routes the majority of whose passengers use the buses for traveling one-way distances not exceeding forty miles on the same day between their residence and their place of work, shopping areas, or schools.

D. The foregoing exemptions shall not apply to buses owned or operated by any public school district, private school, or contract operator of school buses.

E. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any vehicle not required to be registered or licensed.

1968, c. 145, § 46.1-295.3; 1973, c. 162; 1983, c. 281; 1984, c. 125; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1043.1. Tire loading.

No person shall operate for a commercial purpose a truck, trailer, or semitrailer with tires on any highway in the Commonwealth if any officer authorized to enforce overweight vehicle laws determines upon weighing such truck, trailer, or semitrailer that any such tire carries a weight greater than 125 percent of that marked on the sidewall of the tire.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

1. Any vehicle that is being operated under the terms of a permit issued under Article 18 (§ 46.2-1139 et seq.) and is being operated at a reduced speed as required by the permit to compensate for the tire loading in excess of the manufacturer's rated capacity for the tire;

2. Any vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more;

3. Any manufactured home; or

4. Any vehicle not required to be registered.

2013, c. 430.

§ 46.2-1044. Cleats, etc., on tires; chains; tires with studs.

No tire on a vehicle moved on a highway shall have on its periphery any block, stud, flange, cleat, spike, or any other protuberance of any material other than rubber which projects beyond the tread of the traction surface of the tire. It shall be permissible, however, to use on the highways farm machinery having protuberances which will not injure the highway and to use tire chains of reasonable proportions when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid. It shall also be permissible to use on any vehicle whose gross weight does not exceed 10,000 pounds tires with studs which project no more than one-sixteenth of an inch beyond the tread of the traction surface of the tire when compressed if the studs cover no more than three percent of the traction surface of the tire.

The use of studded tires shall be permissible only from October 15 to April 15.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any (i) law-enforcement vehicle operated by or under the direction of a federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer; (ii) vehicle used to fight fire, including publicly owned state forest warden vehicles; (iii) emergency medical services vehicle; or (iv) vehicle owned or operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation or its contractors in maintenance and emergency response operations.

Code 1950, § 46-300; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-296; 1968, c. 1; 1970, c. 263; 1972, c. 39; 1974, c. 368; 1976, c. 315; 1978, c. 259; 1989, c. 727; 2009, c. 118; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 46.2-1045. Sale of tires having cleats, etc., prohibited; studded tires excepted.

No person shall sell to any resident of the Commonwealth a tire which shall have on its periphery any block, stud, flange, cleat, spike, or any other protuberance of any material other than rubber which projects beyond the tread of the traction surface of the tire. Farm machinery having protuberances which will not injure the highway and tire chains of reasonable proportions may, however, be sold. It shall also be permissible to sell studded tires whose use is permitted under the provisions of this article. Violation of this section shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1966, c. 592, § 46.1-296.1; 1968, c. 1; 1970, c. 263; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1046. Traction engines and tractors.

The Commissioner of Highways and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may, in their discretion, issue special permits authorizing the operation on a highway of traction engines or tractors having movable tracks with transverse corrugations upon the periphery of such movable tracks.

Code 1950, § 46-301; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-297; 1989, c. 727; 2013, cc. 585, 646.