Email: Chapter 17C, Article 2
§17C-2-1. Provisions of chapter refer to vehicles upon streets and highways; exceptions.
The provisions of this chapter relating to the operation of vehicles refer exclusively to the operation of vehicles upon streets and highways except:
(1) Where a different place is specifically referred to in a given section.
(2) The provisions of articles three, four, five, five-a, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, eighteen and nineteen shall apply upon streets and highways as defined in section one, article two, chapter seventeen-b of this code.
§17C-2-2. Required obedience to traffic laws.
It is unlawful and, unless otherwise declared in this chapter with respect to particular offenses, it is a misdemeanor for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this chapter.
§17C-2-3. Enforcement of chapter; designation and power of special officers; bond of special officers; failure to obey police officer or special officers.
(a) It is the duty of the West Virginia state police and its members to enforce the provisions of this chapter and other laws of this state governing the operation of vehicles upon the streets and highways of this state as defined in section thirty-five, article one of this chapter or in other designated places specifically referred to in a given section in this chapter; and it is the duty of sheriffs and their deputies and of the police of municipalities to render to the West Virginia state police assistance in the performance of said duties as the superintendent of the West Virginia state police may require of them.
(b) The West Virginia commissioner of highways is authorized to designate employees of the West Virginia Division of Highways as special officers to enforce the provisions of this chapter only when special officers are directing traffic upon bridges and the approaches to bridges which are a part of the state road system when any bridge needs special traffic direction and the superintendent of the West Virginia state police has informed the West Virginia commissioner of highways that he or she is unable to furnish personnel for traffic direction. The West Virginia commissioner of highways may also designate certain employees of the West Virginia Division of Highways serving as members of official weighing crews as special officers to enforce the provisions of article seventeen of this chapter. Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, designated special officers serving as members of official weighing crews may carry handguns in the course of their official duties after meeting specialized qualifications established by the Governor's committee on crime, delinquency and correction, which qualifications shall include the successful completion of handgun training, including a minimum of four hours' training in handgun safety, paid for by the Division of Highways and comparable to the handgun training provided to law-enforcement officers by the West Virginia state police: Provided, That nothing in this section shall be construed to include designated special officers authorized by the provisions of this section as law-enforcement officers as such are defined in section one, article twenty-nine, chapter thirty of this code. The West Virginia commissioner of highways shall provide a blanket bond in the amount of $10,000 for all employees designated as special officers, as above provided.
(c) No person shall willfully fail or refuse to comply with a lawful order or direction of any police officer or designated special officer invested by law with authority to direct, control or regulate traffic.
(d) No person shall willfully fail or refuse to comply with a lawful order or direction of any designated special officer pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section.
§17C-2-4. Obedience to chapter of public officers and employees; chapter inapplicable to persons engaged in highway surface work.
(a) The provisions of this chapter applicable to the drivers of vehicles upon the highways shall apply to the drivers of all vehicles owned or operated by the United States, this state, or any county, city, town, district, or any other political subdivision of the state, except as provided in this section and subject to such specific exceptions as are set forth in this chapter with reference to authorized emergency vehicles.
(b) Unless specifically made applicable, the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to persons, teams, motor vehicles, and other equipment while actually engaged in work upon the surface of a highway but shall apply to such persons and vehicles when traveling to or from such work.
§17C-2-5. Authorized emergency vehicles.
(a) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the conditions herein stated.
(b) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may:
(1) Park or stand, irrespective of the provisions of this chapter;
(2) Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;
(3) Exceed the speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property;
(4) Disregard regulations governing direction of movement of turning in specified directions.
(c) The exemptions herein granted to an authorized emergency vehicle shall apply only when the driver of any said vehicle while in motion sounds audible signal by bell, siren, or exhaust whistle as may be reasonably necessary, and when the vehicle is equipped with at least one lighted flashing lamp as authorized by section twenty-six, article fifteen of this chapter which is visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of five hundred feet to the front of such vehicle, except that an authorized emergency vehicle operated as a police vehicle need not be equipped with or display a warning light visible from in front of the vehicle.
(d) The foregoing provisions shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.
§17C-2-6. Traffic laws apply to persons riding animals or driving animal-drawn vehicles.
Every person riding an animal or driving any animal-drawn vehicle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except those provisions of this chapter which by their very nature can have no application.
§17C-2-7. Uniformity of provisions of chapter throughout state.
The provisions of this chapter shall be applicable and uniform throughout this state and in all political subdivisions and municipalities therein and no local authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance, rule, or regulation in conflict with the provisions of this chapter unless expressly authorized herein. Local authorities may, however, adopt additional traffic regulations which are not in conflict with the provisions of this chapter.
§17C-2-8. Powers of local authorities.
(a) The provisions of this chapter shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from:
(1) Regulating the standing or parking of vehicles;
(2) Regulating traffic by means of police officers or traffic-control devices;
(3) Regulating or prohibiting processions or assemblages on the highways;
(4) Designating particular highways as one-way highways and requiring that all vehicles thereon be moved in one specific direction;
(5) Regulating the speed of vehicles in public parks;
(6) Designating any highway as a through highway and requiring that all vehicles stop before entering or crossing the same or designating any intersection as a stop intersection and requiring all vehicles to stop at one or more entrances at such intersection;
(7) Restricting the use of highways as authorized in section twelve, article seventeen of this chapter;
(8) Regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of same, including the requirement of a registration fee;
(9) Regulating or prohibiting the turning of vehicles or specified types of vehicles at intersections;
(10) Altering the speed limits as authorized herein;
(11) Adopting such other traffic regulations as are specifically authorized by this chapter.
(b) No local authority shall permit any parking on any state highway, or erect or maintain any stop sign or traffic- control device at any location so as to require the traffic on any state highway to stop before entering or crossing any intersecting highway unless approval in writing has first been obtained from the state road commissioner. Any such approval may be withdrawn by a notice in writing from the state road commissioner.
(c) No ordinance or regulation enacted under subdivisions (4), (5), (6), (7), or (10), of subsection (a) of this section shall be effective until signs giving notice of such local traffic regulations are posted upon or at the entrance to the highway or part thereof affected as may be most appropriate.
§17C-2-9. Chapter not to interfere with rights of owners of real property
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the owner of real property used by the public for purposes of vehicular travel by permission of the owner and not as matter of right from prohibiting such use, or from requiring other or different or additional conditions than those specified in this chapter, or otherwise regulating such use as may seem best to such owner.