Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 8. Regulation of Traffic
9/18/2021

Article 1. General and Miscellaneous.

§ 46.2-800. Riding bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, mopeds, or motorized skateboards or scooters; riding or driving animals.

Every person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, motorized skateboard or scooter, or animal or driving an animal on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter and shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, unless the context of the provision clearly indicates otherwise.

The provisions of subsections A and C of § 46.2-920 applicable to operation of emergency vehicles under emergency conditions shall also apply, mutatis mutandis, to bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, mopeds, and motorized skateboards or scooters operated under similar emergency conditions by law-enforcement officers.

Code 1950, § 46-183; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-171; 1980, c. 456; 1981, c. 585; 1989, c. 727; 1994, c. 176; 2001, c. 834; 2002, c. 254; 2019, c. 780.

§ 46.2-800.1. Riding animals on highways after sunset.

A. No person riding upon any animal on a highway between sunset and sunrise shall ride the animal on the roadway unless the rider:

1. Wears a hat made of or coated with reflectorized material; or

2. Wears upper body clothing made of or coated with reflectorized material visible from 360°; or

3. Displays at least 100 square inches of solid reflectorized material at shoulder level visible from 360°; or

4. Carries a light visible in clear weather from a distance of 500 feet.

B. The requirements of subsection A of this section shall only apply to the riders of the first and last animals in a group riding one behind the other.

C. A violation of this section shall not be construed as negligence per se in any civil action.

1989, c. 295, § 46.1-171.01.

§ 46.2-800.2. Operation of off-road recreational vehicles in localities embraced by the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority.

A. The governing body of any county, city, or town embraced by the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority may by ordinance authorize the operation of any off-road recreational vehicles (i) on highways within its boundaries that have a maximum speed limit of no more than 35 miles per hour and (ii) for a distance of no more than five miles on any highway within its boundaries that has a maximum speed limit of more than 35 miles per hour. Any such ordinance shall define "off-road recreational vehicle." Any such operation shall be subject to the following conditions, and such additional restrictions and limitations as the county, city, or town by ordinance may impose:

1. Signs whose design, number, and location are approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation shall have been posted by the county, city, town, or Southwest Regional Recreation Authority warning motorists that off-road recreational vehicles may be operating on the highway;

2. Such off-road recreational vehicles shall be operated only during daylight hours;

3. Off-road recreational vehicle operators shall, when operating on the highway, obey all rules of the road applicable to other motor vehicles;

4. Riders of such off-road recreational vehicles shall wear helmets of a type approved by the Superintendent of State Police; and

5. Operators shall be licensed drivers or accompanied by a licensed driver who is either occupying the same vehicle or occupying another vehicle within a prudent distance; however, no person shall operate any off-road recreational vehicle as provided in this section if his driver's license, whether issued in the Commonwealth or in another jurisdiction, has been suspended or revoked.

B. The governing body of any county, city, or town that enacts any ordinance under subsection A shall notify in writing the Virginia State Police and all law-enforcement agencies within the county, city, or town of its action, together with a copy of such ordinance.

C. Operation of any off-road recreational vehicle as provided in the foregoing provisions of this section shall be subject to the issuance of a permit by the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority pursuant to § 15.2-6020. Any such permit shall be valid for such period of time and subject to the payment of such fee as the Authority shall provide.

2010, cc. 332, 463; 2018, c. 364.

§ 46.2-800.3. Driving in flooded areas prohibited.

The governing body of any locality may by ordinance prohibit any person from operating a motor vehicle or watercraft on a flooded highway, street, alley, or parking lot, regardless of whether such highway, street, alley, or parking lot is publicly or privately owned in such a manner as to increase the level of floodwaters to a level that causes or could reasonably be expected to cause damage to any real or personal property.

Such ordinance shall not apply to any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel engaged in the performance of his duties nor to the operator of any vehicle owned or controlled by the Department of Transportation or a public utility company as defined in § 56-265.1. Any locality adopting such an ordinance shall provide for adequate notice, including signs that, at a minimum, warn operators of motor vehicles and watercraft of the prohibition and penalties.

A violation of such ordinance shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor.

2016, c. 249.

§ 46.2-801. Chapter applicable to drivers of all vehicles regardless of ownership.

The provisions of this chapter applicable to the drivers of vehicles on the highways shall apply to the drivers of all vehicles regardless of their ownership, subject to such exceptions as are set forth in this chapter.

Code 1950, § 46-181; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-168; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-802. Drive on right side of highways; penalty.

Except as otherwise provided by law, on all highways of sufficient width, the driver of a vehicle shall drive on the right half of the highway, unless it is impracticable to travel on such side of the highway and except when overtaking and passing another vehicle, subject to the provisions applicable to overtaking and passing set forth in Article 4 (§ 46.2-837 et seq.) of this chapter. A violation of this section is punishable by a fine of $100.

Code 1950, § 46-220; 1952, c. 671; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-203; 1989, c. 727; 2017, c. 795.

§ 46.2-803. Keep to the right in crossing intersections or railroads.

Except as otherwise provided by law, when crossing an intersection of highways or the intersection of a highway by a railroad right-of-way, the driver of a vehicle shall drive on the right half of the roadway unless it is obstructed or impassable. When crossing an intersection of highways, however, the driver of a vehicle may overtake or pass another vehicle in the intersection if such intersection is designated and marked as a passing zone.

Code 1950, § 46-221; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-205; 1972, c. 369; 1978, c. 27; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-803.1. Commercial motor vehicles limited to use of certain lanes of certain interstate highways.

Except where the posted speed limit is less than 65 miles per hour, no person shall drive any commercial motor vehicle, as defined in § 46.2-341.4, on the left-most lane of any interstate highway having more than two lanes in each direction.

Furthermore, within the Eighth Planning District and on Interstate Route 81, no person shall drive any commercial motor vehicle, as defined in § 46.2-341.4, on the left-most lane of any interstate highway having more than two lanes in each direction, regardless of the posted speed limit. Every commercial motor vehicle shall keep to the right-most lane when operating at a speed of 15 miles per hour or more below the posted speed limit on an interstate highway with no more than two lanes in each direction.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) buses or school buses or (ii) other commercial vehicles when (a) preparing to exit a highway via a left exit or (b) being used to perform maintenance or construction work on an interstate highway.

1997, c. 733; 1998, c. 555; 2000, cc. 60, 306, 407; 2004, c. 809.

§ 46.2-804. Special regulations applicable on highways laned for traffic; penalty.

For the purposes of this section, "traffic lines" includes any temporary traffic control devices used to emulate the lines and markings in subdivisions 6 and 7.

Whenever any roadway has been divided into clearly marked lanes for traffic, drivers of vehicles shall obey the following:

1. Any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions existing, shall be driven in the lane nearest the right edge or right curb of the highway when such lane is available for travel except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or where right lanes are reserved for slow-moving traffic as permitted in this section;

2. A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as is practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has ascertained that such movement can be made safely;

3. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 5, on a highway which is divided into three lanes, no vehicle shall be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or unless such center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is signed or marked to give notice of such allocation. Traffic-control devices may be erected directing specified traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device;

4. The Commissioner of Highways, or local authorities in their respective jurisdictions, may designate right lanes for slow-moving vehicles and the Virginia Department of Transportation shall post signs requiring trucks and combination vehicles to keep to the right on Interstate Highway System components with no more than two travel lanes in each direction where terrain is likely to slow the speed of such vehicles climbing hills and inclines to a speed that is less than the posted speed limit;

5. Wherever a highway is marked with double traffic lines consisting of a solid line immediately adjacent to a broken line, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of such line if the solid line is on the right of the broken line, except (i) when turning left for the purpose of entering or leaving a public, private, or commercial road or entrance or (ii) in order to pass a pedestrian or a device moved by human power, including a bicycle, skateboard, or foot-scooter, provided such movement can be made safely. Where the middle lane of a highway is marked on both sides with a solid line immediately adjacent to a broken line, such middle lane shall be considered a left-turn or holding lane and it shall be lawful to drive to the left of such line if the solid line is on the right of the broken line for the purpose of turning left into any road or entrance, provided that the vehicle may not travel in such lane further than 150 feet;

6. Wherever a highway is marked with double traffic lines consisting of two immediately adjacent solid yellow lines, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of such lines, except (i) when turning left or (ii) in order to pass a pedestrian or a device moved by human power, including a bicycle, skateboard, or foot-scooter, provided such movement can be made safely; and

7. Whenever a highway is marked with double traffic lines consisting of two immediately adjacent solid white lines, no vehicle shall cross such lines.

A violation of this section is punishable by a fine of $100.

Code 1950, § 46-222; 1952, c. 671; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-206; 1962, c. 87; 1979, c. 25; 1985, c. 481; 1989, c. 727; 2007, c. 501; 2013, cc. 128, 400, 585, 646; 2015, c. 416; 2017, c. 795.

§ 46.2-805. Lane-use control signals.

A. When lane-use control signals are placed over the individual lanes of a highway, vehicular traffic may travel in any lane over which a green signal is shown, but shall not enter or travel in any lane over which a red signal is shown and shall vacate as soon as possible any lane over which an amber signal is shown.

B. Vehicular traffic shall not enter or travel in a lane over which a one-way or two-way left turn white arrow lane-use control signal is shown, except to make the turning movement indicated by the signal. Such turning traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within a crosswalk and to other traffic using the intersection.

1974, c. 347, § 46.1-206.1; 1989, c. 727; 2013, cc. 128, 400.

§ 46.2-806. One-way roadways and highways.

The Commissioner of Highways may designate any highway or any separate roadway under his jurisdiction for one-way traffic and shall erect appropriate signs. Traffic thereon shall move only in the direction designated.

Code 1950, § 46-220.1; 1952, c. 671; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-204; 1989, c. 727; 2013, cc. 585, 646.

§ 46.2-807. Path of travel at circular intersections.

A vehicle passing through a circular intersection shall be driven only to the right of the central island, unless otherwise directed by traffic control devices.

Code 1950, § 46-220.1; 1952, c. 671; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-204; 1989, c. 727; 2013, cc. 128, 400.

§ 46.2-808. Commonwealth Transportation Board may prohibit certain uses of controlled access highways; penalty.

A. The Commonwealth Transportation Board may, when necessary to promote safety, prohibit the use of controlled access highways or any part thereof by any or all of the following:

1. Pedestrians,

2. Persons riding bicycles, electric power-assisted bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, or mopeds,

3. Animal-drawn vehicles,

4. Self-propelled machinery or equipment, and

5. Animals led, ridden or driven on the hoof.

B. The termini of any section of controlled access highways, use of which is restricted under the provisions of this section, shall be clearly indicated by a conspicuous marker.

C. This section shall not apply to any vehicle or equipment owned or controlled by the Virginia Department of Transportation, while actually engaged in the construction, reconstruction, or maintenance of highways or to any vehicle or equipment for which a permit has been obtained for operation on such highway.

Any person violating a restriction or prohibition imposed pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a traffic infraction.

1964, c. 239, § 46.1-171.1; 1966, c. 365; 1981, c. 585; 1983, c. 262; 1989, c. 727; 1991, c. 55; 2004, cc. 947, 973; 2006, cc. 529, 538; 2007, cc. 209, 366.

§ 46.2-808.1. Use of crossovers on controlled access highways; penalty.

It is unlawful for the driver of any vehicle other than an authorized vehicle to use or attempt to use any crossover posted for authorized vehicles only on any controlled access highway.

For the purposes of this section, "authorized vehicle" means (i) Department of Transportation vehicles; (ii) law-enforcement vehicles; (iii) emergency vehicles as defined in § 46.2-920; (iv) towing and recovery vehicles operating under the direction of a law-enforcement agency or the Department of Transportation; (v) vehicles for which permits authorizing use of such crossovers have been issued by the Department of Transportation; (vi) vehicles operated pursuant to a Department of Transportation safety service patrol program as defined in subsection B of § 46.2-920.1 when engaged in providing services under such program; (vii) vehicles operated pursuant to a contract with the Department of Transportation for, or that includes, traffic incident management services as defined in subsection B of § 46.2-920.1 when providing such traffic incident management services; and (viii) other vehicles operating in medical emergency situations.

Violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $250.

1997, c. 881; 2008, cc. 470, 647; 2017, c. 350.

§ 46.2-808.2. Violations committed within highway safety corridor; report on benefits.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the fine for any moving violation of any provision of this chapter while operating a motor vehicle in a designated highway safety corridor pursuant to § 33.2-253 shall be no more than $500 for any violation that is a traffic infraction and not less than $200 for any violation that is a criminal offense. The otherwise applicable fines set forth in Rule 3B:2 of the Rules of the Supreme Court shall be doubled in the case of a waiver of appearance and a plea of guilty under § 16.1-69.40:1 or 19.2-254.2 for a violation of a provision of this chapter while operating a motor vehicle in a designated highway safety corridor pursuant to § 33.2-253. The Commissioner of Highways shall report, on an annual basis, statistical data related to benefits derived from the designation of such highway safety corridors. This information may be posted on the Virginia Department of Transportation's official website. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 46.2-1300, the governing bodies of counties, cities, and towns may not adopt ordinances providing for penalties under this section.

2020, cc. 964, 965.

§ 46.2-809. Regulation of truck traffic on primary and secondary highways.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board, or its designee, in response to a formal request by a local governing body, after such body has held public hearings, may, after due notice and a proper hearing, prohibit or restrict the use by through traffic of any part of a primary or secondary highway if a reasonable alternate route is provided. The Board, or its designee, shall act upon any such formal request within nine months of its receipt, unless good cause is shown. Such restriction may apply to any truck or truck and trailer or semitrailer combination, except a pickup or panel truck, as may be necessary to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth. Nothing in this section shall affect the validity of any city charter provision or city ordinance heretofore adopted.

The provisions of this section shall not apply in (i) cities, (ii) any town which maintains its own system of streets, and (iii) in any county which owns, operates, and maintains its own system of roads and streets.

1973, c. 67, § 46.1-171.2; 1989, c. 727; 2003, c. 300.

§ 46.2-809.1. Regulation of residential cut-through traffic by Board.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board may develop a residential cut-through traffic policy and procedure for the control of residential cut-through traffic on designated secondary highways.

For the purposes of this section, "residential cut-through traffic" means vehicular traffic passing through a residential area without stopping or without at least an origin or destination within the area.

The provisions of this section shall not apply in (i) cities, (ii) any town that maintains its own system of streets, and (iii) any county that owns, operates, and maintains its own system of highways.

1995, c. 556.

§ 46.2-810. Age limits for drivers of public passenger-carrying vehicles.

No person, whether licensed or not, under the age of eighteen years shall drive a motor vehicle while in use as a public passenger-carrying vehicle.

Code 1950, § 46-182; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-170; 1970, c. 481; 1972, cc. 386, 823; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-810.1. Smoking in vehicle with a minor present; civil penalty.

A. For the purposes of this section, "smoke" means to carry or hold any lighted pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind or any other lighted smoking equipment or to light or inhale or exhale smoke from a pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind or any other lighted smoking equipment.

B. It is unlawful for a person to smoke in a motor vehicle, whether in motion or at rest, when a minor under the age of 15 is present in the motor vehicle. A violation of this section is punishable by a civil penalty of $100 to be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Literary Fund. No demerit points shall be assigned under Article 19 (§ 46.2-489 et seq.) of Chapter 3 and no court costs shall be assessed for a violation of this section. A violation of this section may be charged on the uniform traffic summons form.

C. 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.

2016, c. 515; 2020, c. 972; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 45, 51.

§ 46.2-811. Coasting prohibited.

The driver of any motor vehicle traveling on a downgrade on any highway shall not coast with the gears of the vehicle in neutral.

Code 1950, § 46-218; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-200; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-812. Driving more than thirteen hours in twenty-four prohibited.

No person shall drive any motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth for more than thirteen hours in any period of twenty-four hours or for a period which, when added to the time such person may have driven in any other state, would make an aggregate of more than thirteen hours in any twenty-four-hour period. The provisions of this section, however, shall not apply to the operation of motor vehicles used in snow or ice control or removal operations or similar emergency situations.

No owner of any vehicle shall cause or permit it to be driven in violation of this section.

Code 1950, § 46-219; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-201; 1978, c. 12; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-813. Occupation of trailer being towed on highways.

No person shall occupy a house trailer or camping trailer while it is being towed on a public highway in this Commonwealth. No operator of a towing vehicle shall knowingly permit another person to occupy a house trailer or camping trailer as defined in § 46.2-100 while it is being towed.

In any civil proceeding, the violation of this section shall not constitute negligence per se.

1970, c. 103, § 46.1-172.1; 1978, c. 605; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-814. Driving through safety zone prohibited.

No driver of a vehicle shall drive through or over a safety zone.

Code 1950, § 46-252; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-242; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-815. Hauling certain cargoes through tunnels in violation of posted signs; penalty.

The hauling of any explosive, flammable, or other hazardous cargo, as prohibited by the Department of Transportation under the authority of §§ 33.2-210 and 33.2-300, through any tunnel on any highway in the Commonwealth in violation of any lawfully posted sign shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1984, c. 488, § 46.1-228.1; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-816. Following too closely.

The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of both vehicles and the traffic on, and conditions of, the highway at the time.

Code 1950, § 46-229; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-213; 1983, c. 248; 1989, c. 727; 2015, cc. 31, 188.

§ 46.2-816.1. Careless driving and infliction of injury on vulnerable road users; penalty.

A. As used in this section, "vulnerable road user" means a pedestrian; the operator of or passenger on a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, wheel chair or wheel chair conveyance, skateboard, roller skates, motorized skateboard or scooter, or animal-drawn vehicle or any attached device; or any person riding an animal.

B. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to operate a motor vehicle in a careless or distracted manner such that the careless or distracted operation is the proximate cause of serious bodily injury as defined in § 18.2-51.4 to a vulnerable road user who is lawfully present on the highway at the time of injury.

C. A prosecution or proceeding under § 46.2-852 is a bar to a prosecution or proceeding under this section for the same act, and a prosecution or proceeding under this section is a bar to a prosecution or proceeding under § 46.2-852 for the same act.

2020, c. 1259.

§ 46.2-817. Disregarding signal by law-enforcement officer to stop; eluding police; penalties.

A. Any person who, having received a visible or audible signal from any law-enforcement officer to bring his motor vehicle to a stop, drives such motor vehicle in a willful and wanton disregard of such signal or who attempts to escape or elude such law-enforcement officer whether on foot, in the vehicle, or by any other means, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of a violation of this subsection if the defendant shows he reasonably believed he was being pursued by a person other than a law-enforcement officer.

B. Any person who, having received a visible or audible signal from any law-enforcement officer to bring his motor vehicle to a stop, drives such motor vehicle in a willful and wanton disregard of such signal so as to interfere with or endanger the operation of the law-enforcement vehicle or endanger a person is guilty of a Class 6 felony. It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of a violation of this subsection if the defendant shows he reasonably believed he was being pursued by a person other than a law-enforcement officer.

C. If a law-enforcement officer pursues a person as a result of a violation of subsection B and the law-enforcement officer is killed as a direct and proximate result of the pursuit, the person who violated subsection B is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

D. When any person is convicted of an offense under this section, in addition to the other penalties provided in this section, the driver's license of such person shall be suspended by the court for a period of not less than thirty days nor more than one year. However, in any case where the speed of such person is determined to have exceeded the maximum allowed by twenty miles per hour, his driver's license shall be suspended by the court trying the case for a period of not less than ninety days. In case of conviction and suspension, the court or judge shall order the surrender of the license to the court, which shall dispose of it in accordance with the provisions of § 46.2-398.

E. Violation of this section shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. If the acts or activities violating this section also violate another provision of law, a prosecution under this section shall not prohibit or bar any prosecution or proceeding under such other provision or the imposition of any penalties provided for thereby.

1964, c. 614, § 46.1-192.1; 1984, cc. 544, 780; 1988, c. 307; 1989, c. 727; 1993, c. 796; 1996, cc. 577, 817; 1999, c. 720; 2000, c. 315; 2002, c. 505; 2008, cc. 773, 811; 2010, c. 655.

§ 46.2-818. Stopping vehicle of another; blocking access to premises; damaging or threatening commercial vehicle or operator thereof; penalties.

No person shall intentionally and willfully:

1. Stop the vehicle of another for the sole purpose of impeding its progress on the highways, except in the case of an emergency or mechanical breakdown;

2. Block the access to or egress from any premises of any service facility operated for the purposes of (i) selling fuel for motor vehicles, (ii) performing repair services on motor vehicles, or (iii) furnishing food, rest, or any other convenience for the use of persons operating motor vehicles engaged in intrastate and interstate commerce on the highways of the Commonwealth;

3. Damage any vehicle engaged in commerce on the highways of the Commonwealth, or threaten, assault, or otherwise harm the person of any operator of a motor vehicle being used for the transportation of property for hire.

Any person violating any provision of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and in addition, his driver's license may be suspended by the court for a period of not more than one year. The court shall forward such license to the Department as provided by § 46.2-398.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any law-enforcement officer, school guard, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel engaged in the performance of his duties nor to any vehicle owned or controlled by the Virginia Department of Transportation while engaged in the construction, reconstruction, or maintenance of highways.

1974, c. 457, § 46.1-250.1; 1977, c. 326; 1984, c. 780; 1989, c. 727; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 46.2-818.1. Opening and closing motor vehicle doors; penalty.

No operator shall open the door of a parked motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving vehicular traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so.

A violation of this section shall constitute a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $50. No demerit points shall be awarded by the Commissioner for a violation of this section.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel engaged in the performance of his duties.

2016, c. 607.

§ 46.2-818.2. Use of handheld personal communications devices in certain motor vehicles; exceptions; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person, while driving a moving motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth, to hold a handheld personal communications device.

B. The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

1. The operator of any emergency vehicle while he is engaged in the performance of his official duties;

2. An operator who is lawfully parked or stopped;

3. Any person using a handheld personal communications device to report an emergency;

4. The use of an amateur or a citizens band radio; or

5. The operator of any Department of Transportation vehicle or vehicle operated pursuant to the Department of Transportation safety service patrol program or pursuant to a contract with the Department of Transportation for, or that includes, traffic incident management services as defined in subsection B of § 46.2-920.1 during the performance of traffic incident management services.

C. A violation of this section is a traffic infraction punishable, for a first offense, by a fine of $125 and, for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of $250. If a violation of this section occurs in a highway work zone, it shall be punishable by a mandatory fine of $250.

D. For the purposes of this section:

"Emergency vehicle" means:

1. Any law-enforcement vehicle operated by or under the direction of a federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer while engaged in the performance of official duties;

2. Any regional detention center vehicle operated by or under the direction of a correctional officer responding to an emergency call or operating in an emergency situation;

3. Any vehicle used to fight fire, including publicly owned state forest warden vehicles, when traveling in response to a fire alarm or emergency call;

4. Any emergency medical services vehicle designed or used for the principal purpose of supplying resuscitation or emergency relief where human life is endangered;

5. Any Department of Emergency Management vehicle or Office of Emergency Medical Services vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or operating in an emergency situation;

6. Any Department of Corrections vehicle designated by the Director of the Department of Corrections, when (i) responding to an emergency call at a correctional facility, (ii) participating in a drug-related investigation, (iii) pursuing escapees from a correctional facility, or (iv) responding to a request for assistance from a law-enforcement officer; and

7. Any vehicle authorized to be equipped with alternating, blinking, or flashing red or red and white secondary warning lights pursuant to § 46.2-1029.2.

"Highway work zone" means a construction or maintenance area that is located on or beside a highway and is marked by appropriate warning signs with attached flashing lights or other traffic control devices indicating that work is in progress.

E. Distracted driving shall be included as a part of the driver's license knowledge examination.

2020, cc. 250, 543.