Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
10/19/2020

Chapter 13. Powers of Local Governments.

§ 46.2-1300. Powers of local authorities generally; erection of signs and markers; maximum penalties.

A. The governing bodies of counties, cities, and towns may adopt ordinances not in conflict with the provisions of this title to regulate the operation of vehicles on the highways in such counties, cities, and towns. They may also repeal, amend, or modify such ordinances and may erect appropriate signs or markers on the highway showing the general regulations applicable to the operation of vehicles on such highways. The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance, or may by ordinance authorize its chief administrative officer to:

1. Increase or decrease the speed limit within its boundaries, provided such increase or decrease in speed shall be based upon an engineering and traffic investigation by such county, city or town and provided such speed area or zone is clearly indicated by markers or signs;

2. Authorize the city or town manager or such officer thereof as it may designate, to reduce for a temporary period not to exceed sixty days, without such engineering and traffic investigation, the speed limit on any portion of any highway of the city or town on which work is being done or where the highway is under construction or repair;

3. Require vehicles to come to a full stop or yield the right-of-way at a street intersection if one or more of the intersecting streets has been designated as a part of the primary state highway system in a town which has a population of less than 3,500.

B. No such ordinance shall be violated if at the time of the alleged violation the sign or marker placed in conformity with this section is missing, substantially defaced, or obscured so that an ordinarily observant person under the same circumstances would not be aware of the existence of the ordinance.

C. No governing body of a county, city, or town may provide penalties for violating a provision of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this section which is greater than the penalty imposed for a similar offense under the provisions of this title.

D. No county whose roads are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation shall designate, in terms of distance from a school, the placement of flashing warning lights unless the authority to do so has been expressly delegated to such county by the Department of Transportation, in its discretion.

Code 1950, §§ 46-198, 46-200; 1956, c. 134; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-180; 1960, c. 172; 1972, c. 522; 1984, c. 345; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1301. Designation of stop and yield right-of-way intersections.

The governing body of any county, city, or town operating its own system of roads may by ordinance authorize the city or town manager or some other local officer to designate intersections, other than intersections at which one or more of the intersecting streets have been designated as a part of the primary state highway system in a town which has a population of less than 3,500, at which vehicles shall come to a full stop or yield the right-of-way. No such ordinance shall be violated if, at the time of the alleged violation the sign or marker placed in conformity with this section is missing or is defaced so that an ordinarily observant person under the same circumstances would not be aware of the existence of the regulation.

1958, c. 541, § 46.1-180.1; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1302. Regulation of operation of vehicles in snow, sleet, etc.; designation of play areas; penalties.

The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance regulate the operation of vehicles on the highways in such county, city, or town in the event of snow, sleet, hail, freezing rain, ice, water, flood, high wind, storm or the threat thereof. In addition to the general powers granted by this section, and any other provisions of this title notwithstanding, any such ordinance may:

1. Prohibit vehicles from parking or operating on designated highways;

2. Authorize the designation and posting of highways as snow routes and prohibit any person to obstruct or impede traffic on a highway designated and posted as a snow route through his failure to have the vehicle operated by him equipped with snow tires or chains;

3. Prohibit the abandoning of vehicles on designated highways;

4. Authorize the removal of vehicles that are stalled, stuck, parked, or abandoned on designated highways;

5. Authorize the storing of removed vehicles and the imposition of reasonable charges for removal and storage;

6. Authorize the designation of certain highways, or portions thereof, as play areas for sledding and similar recreational activities. No city or town shall be liable in any civil action or proceeding for damages resulting from any injury to the person or property of any person caused by an act or omission constituting simple or ordinary negligence on the part of any officer or agent of any such city or town in the designation or operation of any such play area. Every such city or town may be liable in damages for the gross or wanton negligence of any of its officers or agents in the operation of any such play area;

7. Authorize and regulate the operation of snowmobiles on or across streets and highways during periods of snow or ice or at the direction of any law-enforcement officer during an emergency;

8. Set fines for violations. Such fines may be in place of or in addition to the removal and storage of the vehicle and charges therefor, but no such fine shall exceed fifty dollars for each such offense.

1962, c. 431, § 46.1-180.2; 1980, c. 37; 1989, c. 727; 1997, c. 47.

§ 46.2-1303. Issuance of permits to perform construction or repair work within right-of-way lines of public roadways.

The governing body of any county, city, or town having jurisdiction over and responsibility for the construction and maintenance of public roadways within its boundaries may by ordinance authorize an officer or agency of such political subdivision to issue a permit prior to the performance by any person, firm, partnership or corporation of construction and repair work within the right-of-way lines of any public highways under the jurisdiction of the political subdivision. Such authority, however, shall not extend to any railroad crossings or to any highways under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Department of Transportation. Such ordinance may provide that:

1. No person, firm, partnership or corporation shall enter into any repair, alteration, construction, or reconstruction of any type whatever, other than emergency repairs to or maintenance of public utility facilities within the right-of-way lines of any public highway without first having obtained a permit for such work from the agency or officer designated by such ordinance.

2. Such permit may require the notification of all emergency services likely to be affected by such repair, alteration, construction or reconstruction; the types of traffic control devices necessary to properly warn the motoring public and provide for reinspection by the appropriate authority from time to time and at the conclusion of such repair, alteration, construction, or reconstruction.

3. The owner or owners of any such firm, partnership or corporation shall be subject to arrest for a violation of this section or his representative on the site, if the owner is not present.

4. The person, firm, partnership, or corporation requesting such permit shall be responsible for furnishing and maintaining the required traffic control devices in accord with the Virginia Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.

5. The penalty for violation of such ordinance shall be a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $100 for the first offense and not less than $100 nor more than $500 for the second and subsequent offenses.

1972, c. 105, § 46.1-180.3; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1304. Local regulation of trucks and buses.

The governing bodies of counties, cities, and towns may by ordinance, whenever in their judgment conditions so require:

1. Prohibit the use of trucks, except for the purpose of receiving loads or making deliveries on certain designated streets under their jurisdiction;

2. Restrict the use of trucks passing through the city or town to such street or streets under their jurisdiction as may be designated in such ordinance.

The Cities of Poquoson and Williamsburg may restrict the operation of nonscheduled buses, other than school buses, over designated streets under its jurisdiction.

Code 1950, § 46-206; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-181; 1968, c. 463; 1989, c. 727; 1998, cc. 547, 574; 2007, c. 813.

§ 46.2-1304.1. Localities may regulate construction and parking of commercial motor vehicles used to transport municipal solid waste; penalty.

The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance provide that:

1. No commercial motor vehicle used to transport municipal solid waste shall be parked anywhere within the county, city, or town, except at locations zoned or otherwise authorized for such use by applicable ordinance, special exception, or variance;

2. Any such commercial motor vehicle found parked at a nonauthorized location may be towed or removed from that location as provided in § 46.2-1231; and

3. The cargo compartment of every commercial motor vehicle that is used to transport municipal solid waste shall be so constructed so as to prevent the escape of municipal solid waste therefrom. Such ordinances shall exclude from their provisions vehicles owned or operated by persons transporting municipal solid waste from their residences to a permitted transfer or disposal facility.

No such ordinance shall impose, for any violation of any of its provisions, a penalty greater than provided for a traffic infraction as provided in § 46.2-113. Any such penalty shall be in addition to any vehicle towing and storage charges.

For the purposes of this section, "municipal solid waste" shall have the meaning prescribed by the Virginia Waste Management Board by regulation ( 9VAC20-80-10 ).

For the purposes of this section and local ordinances adopted under this section, "commercial motor vehicle" shall have the meaning prescribed in § 46.2-341.4.

2001, c. 356.

§ 46.2-1305. Regulation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on roadways and parking areas in residential subdivisions.

The governing body of any county, city, or town which has adopted ordinances under the provisions of Chapter 22 (§ 15.2-2200 et seq.) of Title 15.2, may require as a part of such land use regulations for residential subdivisions employing roadways and parking areas not in public ownership, the posting and maintenance of signs or other appropriate markings regulating the operation and parking of motor vehicles and pedestrian traffic, and may adopt ordinances applying the regulations to existing and future residential subdivisions.

1972, c. 471, § 46.1-181.2; 1989, c. 727; 2003, c. 418.

§ 46.2-1306. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2014, c. 505, cl. 2.

§ 46.2-1307. Designation of private roads as highways for law-enforcement purposes.

The governing body of any county, city, or town may adopt ordinances designating the private roads, within any residential development containing 100 or more lots or residential dwelling units, as highways for law-enforcement purposes. Such ordinance may also provide for certification of road signs and speed limits by private licensed professional engineers using criteria developed by the Commissioner of Highways, and, for law-enforcement purposes, such certification shall have the same effect as if certified by the Commissioner of Highways.

1979, c. 100, § 46.1-181.5; 1987, c. 152; 1989, c. 727; 2007, cc. 74, 187, 310.

§ 46.2-1307.1. Designation of private roads as highways for law-enforcement purposes in certain counties.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 46.2-1307, the governing body of Warren County may adopt ordinances designating the private roads within any residential development containing 50 or more lots as highways for law-enforcement purposes, and the governing body of Greene County, upon receipt of a petition therefore by a majority of property owners within a residential development containing 25 or more lots, may adopt ordinances designating the private roads within any such development as highways for law-enforcement purposes. Such ordinance may also provide for certification of road signs and speed limits by private licensed professional engineers using criteria developed by the Commissioner of Highways, and for law-enforcement purposes, such certification shall have the same effect as if certified by the Commissioner of Highways.

2006, c. 870; 2007, c. 187; 2014, c. 90.

§ 46.2-1308. Disposition of fines in traffic cases; failure or neglect to comply with section.

In counties, cities, and towns whose governing bodies adopt the ordinances authorized by §§ 46.2-1300 and 46.2-1304, all fines imposed for violations of such ordinances shall be paid into the county, city or town treasury. Fees shall be disposed of according to law.

In all cases, however, in which the arrest is made or the summons is issued by an officer of the Department of State Police or of any other division of the state government, for violation of the motor vehicle laws of the Commonwealth, the person arrested or summoned shall be charged with and tried for a violation of some provision of this title and all fines and forfeitures collected upon convictions of any person so arrested or summoned shall be credited to the Literary Fund.

Willful failure, refusal or neglect to comply with this provision shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor and may be grounds for removal of the guilty person from office. Charges for dereliction of the duties here imposed shall be tried by the circuit court of the jurisdiction served by the officer charged with the violation.

Code 1950, § 46-199; 1952, c. 251; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-182; 1989, c. 727; 2012, c. 408.

§ 46.2-1309. Officers may direct traffic; signals.

Law-enforcement officers and uniformed school crossing guards may direct traffic by signals. Such signals other than by voice shall be as follows:

1. To stop traffic by hand. -- Stand with shoulders parallel to moving traffic. Raise arms forty-five degrees above shoulder with hand extended, palm towards moving traffic to be stopped.

2. To move traffic by hand. -- Stand with shoulders parallel to traffic to be moved. Extend right arm and hand full length at height of shoulders towards such traffic, fingers extended and joined, palm down. Bring hand sharply in direction traffic is to move. Repeat movement with left arm and hand to start traffic from opposite direction.

3. To stop and start traffic by whistle. -- One blast, moving traffic to stop; two blasts, traffic in opposite direction to move.

4. Emergency stop of traffic by whistle. -- Three or more short blasts, all traffic shall immediately clear the intersection and stop.

Such law-enforcement officers and uniformed school crossing guards may also use supplemental traffic direction devices, including but not limited to hand-held stop or go signs, in directing traffic as provided in this section.

Code 1950, §§ 46-201, 46-202; 1954, c. 380; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-183; 1966, c. 607; 1989, c. 727; 1995, c. 473.

§ 46.2-1310. Authority to deputize persons to direct traffic in certain circumstances.

The chief of police of any county, city, or town, or the sheriff of any county which does not have a chief of police, may deputize persons over the age of eighteen years for the limited purpose of directing traffic in accordance with § 46.2-1309 during periods of heavy traffic or congestion. Such persons shall first receive training as the chief of police or sheriff determines necessary to fully acquaint such persons with the techniques of traffic control. They shall not have arrest powers.

Any person who is deputized as provided in the foregoing provisions of this section, shall at all times while engaged in traffic control wear a distinctive uniform, safety vest, or a white reflectorized belt which crosses both the chest and back above the waist.

1973, c. 371, § 46.1-183.1; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1311. Applicability of county ordinances within towns.

Any traffic ordinance adopted by the governing body of a county shall not apply within the limits of any town in which the traffic is regulated by town ordinances.

1958, c. 541, § 46.1-185; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1312. Size, design, and color of signs, signals, and markings erected by local authorities.

Traffic signs and traffic signals and markings placed or erected by local authorities pursuant to this title shall conform in size, design, and color to those erected for the same purpose by the Department of Transportation.

1958, c. 541, § 46.1-187; 1964, c. 319; 1968, c. 146; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-1313. Incorporation of provisions of this title, Article 9 (§ 16.1-278 et seq.) of Chapter 11 of Title 16.1 and Article 2 (§ 18.2-266 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2 in ordinances.

Ordinances enacted by local authorities pursuant to this chapter may incorporate appropriate provisions of this title, of Article 9 (§ 16.1-278 et seq.) of Chapter 11 of Title 16.1, and of Article 2 (§ 18.2-266 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2 into such ordinances by reference. Nothing contained in this title shall require the readoption of ordinances heretofore validly adopted. Local authorities may adopt ordinances incorporating by reference the appropriate provisions of state law before the effective date of such state law; provided that such local ordinances do not become effective before the effective date of the state law. The provisions of this section are declaratory of existing law.

1958, c. 541, § 46.1-188; 1968, c. 243; 1972, c. 286; 1976, c. 396; 1989, c. 727; 1991, c. 224; 1993, c. 302; 1994, c. 264; 2000, c. 48.

§ 46.2-1314. Traffic schools; requiring attendance by persons convicted of certain violations.

The governing body of any county or city may by ordinance provide for the establishment of a traffic school in the locality, at which instruction concerning laws and ordinances for the regulation of vehicular traffic, safe operation of vehicles, and such other subjects as may be prescribed shall be given. The ordinance shall provide for the supervision of the school, the days and hours of its operation, and its personnel. In the discretion of the governing body, the ordinance establishing a traffic school may vest the direction and conduct of the school in the general district court charged with hearing traffic cases.

The governing body of any county or city may, alternatively, by ordinance provide for the designation of an existing traffic school or course operated as part of a county or city adult education program as a traffic school for the purposes of this section.

Any court in a county or city which provides for a traffic school under this section may require any person found guilty of a violation of any provision of Chapter 8 (§ 46.2-800 et seq.) of this title or local ordinance governing the operation of motor vehicles to attend a traffic school in the county or city where the person is a resident or any traffic school that has been established in any jurisdiction contiguous to the county or city of residence of the convicted violator for a period specified in the order requiring the attendance if the governing body of that contiguous jurisdiction consents thereto. The requirement for attendance may be in lieu of or in addition to the penalties prescribed by § 46.2-113 or any such ordinance. Failure to comply with the order of the court shall be punishable as contempt.

1964, c. 267, § 46.1-16.1; 1968, c. 47; 1973, c. 389; 1989, c. 727; 1993, c. 72.

§ 46.2-1315. Powers of localities to regulate use of motorized skateboards or scooters, bicycles, or electric power-assisted bicycles for hire.

A. Any county, city, town, or political subdivision may (i) by ordinance regulate or (ii) by any governing body action or administrative action establish a demonstration project or pilot program regulating the operation of motorized skateboards or scooters, bicycles, or electric power-assisted bicycles for hire, provided that such regulation or other governing body or administrative action is consistent with this title. Such ordinance or other governing body or administrative action may require persons offering motorized skateboards or scooters, bicycles, or electric power-assisted bicycles for hire to be licensed, provided that on or after October 1, 2020, in the absence of any licensing ordinance, regulation, or other action, a person may offer motorized skateboards or scooters, bicycles, or electric power-assisted bicycles for hire.

B. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to limit the authority of any locality (i) as authorized by any other provision of law or (ii) to first enact, revise, or amend any ordinance or action created pursuant to subsection A prior to or subsequent to a person offering motorized skateboards or scooters, bicycles, or electric power-assisted bicycles for hire in the locality.

C. Any person who offers motorized skateboards or scooters, bicycles, or electric power-assisted bicycles for hire in any locality that has not enacted any licensing ordinance, regulation, or other action regulating such business on or after January 1, 2020, and prior to March 27, 2020, may continue to operate in such locality and shall be subject to any subsequent regulations.

2019, c. 780; 2020, c. 478.

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