WVC 17 C-
CHAPTER 17C. TRAFFIC REGULATIONS AND LAWS OF THE ROAD.
WVC 17 C- 1 -
ARTICLE 1. WORDS AND PHRASES DEFINED.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 1
§17C-1-1. Definitions generally.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall, for the purpose of this chapter, have the meanings
respectively ascribed to them in this article.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 2
"Vehicle" means every device in, upon or by which any person
or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway,
except devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon
stationary rails or tracks or wheelchairs.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 3
§17C-1-3. Motor vehicle.
"Motor vehicle" means every vehicle which is self-propelled
and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained
from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails, except
WVC 17 C- 1 - 4
"Motorcycle" means every motor vehicle having a seat or
saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not
more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding
WVC 17 C- 1 - 5
§17C-1-5. Motor-driven cycle.
"Motor-driven cycle" means every motorcycle having a piston
displacement of more than fifty cubic centimeters but not more
than one hundred fifty cubic centimeters, or with not more than
five brake horsepower.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 5 A
"Moped" means every motorcycle or motor-driven cycle unless
otherwise specified in this chapter, which is equipped with two or
three wheels, foot pedals to permit muscular propulsion and an
independent power source providing a maximum of two brake
horsepower. If a combustion engine is used, the maximum piston or
rotor displacement shall be fifty cubic centimeters regardless of
the number of chambers in such power source. The power source
shall be capable of propelling the vehicle, unassisted, at a speed
not to exceed thirty miles per hour on a level road surface and
shall be equipped with a power drive system that functions directly
or automatically only, not requiring clutching or shifting by the
operator after the drive system is engaged.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 6
§17C-1-6. Authorized emergency vehicle.
"Authorized emergency vehicle" means vehicles of a fire
department, duly chartered rescue squad, police department,
ambulance service, state, county or municipal agency
and such privately owned ambulances, tow trucks, wreckers, flag
car services, vehicles providing road service to disabled vehicles,
service vehicles of a public service corporation, postal service
vehicles, snow removal equipment, Class A vehicles of firefighters,
Class A vehicles of members of ambulance services, and Class A
vehicles of members of duly chartered rescue squads, and all other
emergency vehicles as are designated by the agency responsible for
the operation and control of these persons or organizations. Class
A vehicles are as defined by section one, article ten, chapter
seventeen-a of this code. Agency authorization and emergency
equipment are defined in section twenty-six, article fifteen,
chapter seventeen-c of this code. Agencies responsible for issuing
authorization for emergency vehicle permits may promulgate such
regulations that are necessary for the issuance of permits for
WVC 17 C- 1 - 7
§17C-1-7. School bus.
"School bus" means every motor vehicle owned by a public or
governmental agency and operated for the transportation of
children to or from school or privately owned and operated for
compensation for the transportation of children to or from
WVC 17 C- 1 - 8
"Bicycle" means every device which does not have a motor
attached and which is propelled by human power upon which any
person may ride, having two tandem wheels either of which is more
than twenty inches in diameter.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 9
§17C-1-9. Truck tractor.
"Truck tractor" means every motor vehicle designed and used
primarily for drawing other vehicles and not so constructed as to
carry a load other than a part of the weight of the vehicle and
load so drawn.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 10
§17C-1-10. Farm tractor.
"Farm tractor" means every motor vehicle designed and used
primarily as a farm implement for drawing plows, mowing machines,
and other implements of husbandry.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 11
§17C-1-11. Road tractor.
"Road tractor" means every motor vehicle designed and used
for drawing other vehicles and not so constructed as to carry any
load thereon either independently or any part of the weight of a
vehicle or load so drawn.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 12
"Truck" means every motor vehicle designed, used or
maintained primarily for the transportation of property.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 13
"Bus" means every motor vehicle designed for carrying more
than seven passengers and used for the transportation of persons;
and every motor vehicle, other than a taxicab, designed and used
for the transportation of persons for compensation.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 14
§17C-1-14. Trackless trolley coach.
"Trackless trolley coach" means every motor vehicle which is
propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires
but not operated upon rails.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 15
"Trailer" means every vehicle with or without motive power,
other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons or
property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so
constructed that no part of its weight rests upon the towing
WVC 17 C- 1 - 16
"Semitrailer" means every vehicle with or without motive
power, other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons
or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so
constructed that some part of its weight and that of its load
rests upon or is carried by another vehicle.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 17
§17C-1-17. Pole trailer.
"Pole trailer" means every vehicle without motive power
designed to be drawn by another vehicle and attached to the
towing vehicle by means of a reach, or pole, or by being boomed
or otherwise secured to the towing vehicle, and ordinarily used
for transporting long or irregularly shaped loads such as poles,
pipes, trusses, or structural members capable, generally, of
sustaining themselves as beams between the supporting
WVC 17 C- 1 - 18
§17C-1-18. Pneumatic tire.
"Pneumatic tire" means every tire in which compressed air is
designed to support the load.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 19
§17C-1-19. Solid tire.
"Solid tire" means every tire of rubber or other resilient
material which does not depend upon compressed air for the
support of the load.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 20
§17C-1-20. Metal tire.
"Metal tire" means every tire the surface of which in
contact with the highway is wholly or partly of metal or other
hard nonresilient material.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 21
"Railroad" means a carrier of persons or property upon cars,
other than streetcars, operated upon stationary rails.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 22
§17C-1-22. Railroad train.
"Railroad train" means a steam engine, electric or other
motor, with or without cars coupled thereto, operated upon rails,
WVC 17 C- 1 - 23
"Streetcar" means a car other than a railroad train for
transporting persons or property and operated upon rails
principally within a municipality.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 24
"Explosives" means any chemical compound or mechanical
mixture that is commonly used or intended for the purpose of
producing an explosive and which contains any oxidizing and
combustive units or other ingredients in such proportions,
quantities, or packing that an ignition by fire, by friction, by
concussion, by percussion, or by detonator of any part of the
compound or mixture may cause such a sudden generation of highly
heated gases that the resultant gaseous pressures are capable of
producing destructive effects on contiguous objects or of
destroying life or limb.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 25
§17C-1-25. Flammable liquid.
"Flammable liquid" means any liquid which has a flash point
of seventy degrees Fahrenheit, or less, as determined by a
tagliabue or equivalent closed-cup test device.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 26
§17C-1-26. Gross weight.
"Gross weight" means the weight of a vehicle without load
plus the weight of any load thereon.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 27
"Commissioner" means the commissioner of motor vehicles of
WVC 17 C- 1 - 28
"Division" means the division of motor vehicles of this state
acting directly or through its duly authorized officers and agents.
Wherever in this chapter reference is made to "the department of
motor vehicles" or "the department", unless a different meaning is
clearly required, the reference shall be deemed to be a reference
to the division of motor vehicles.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 29
"Person" means every natural person, firm, copartnership,
association, or corporation.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 30
"Pedestrian" means any person afoot or any person using a
WVC 17 C- 1 - 31
"Driver" means every person who drives or is in actual
physical control of a vehicle.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 32
"Owner" means a person who holds the legal title of a
vehicle or in the event a vehicle is the subject of an agreement
for the conditional sale or lease thereof with the right of
purchase upon performance of the conditions stated in the
agreement and with an immediate right of possession vested in the
conditional vendee or lessee, or in the event a mortgagor of a
vehicle is entitled to possession, then such conditional vendee
or lessee or mortgagor shall be deemed the owner for the purpose
of this chapter.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 33
§17C-1-33. Police officer.
"Police officer" means every officer authorized to direct or
regulate traffic or to make arrests for violations of traffic
WVC 17 C- 1 - 34
§17C-1-34. Local authorities.
"Local authorities" means every county, municipal, and other
local board or body having authority to enact laws relating to
traffic under the constitution and laws of this state.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 35
§17C-1-35. Street or highway.
"Street" or "highway" means the entire width between the
boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part
thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of
WVC 17 C- 1 - 36
§17C-1-36. Private road or driveway; private property.
(a) "Private road" or "driveway" means every way or place in
private ownership and used for vehicular travel by the owner and
those having express or implied permission from the owner, but
not by other persons.
(b) "Private property" means real estate in private
ownership without regard to the manner in which it is used.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 37
"Roadway" means that portion of a highway improved,
designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of
the berm or shoulder. In the event a highway includes two or more
separate roadways, the term "roadway" as used herein shall refer
to any such roadway separately but not to all such roadways
WVC 17 C- 1 - 38
"Sidewalk" means that portion of a street between the curb
lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent
property lines, intended for the use of pedestrians.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 39
§17C-1-39. Laned roadway.
"Laned roadway" means a roadway which is divided into two or
more clearly marked lanes for vehicular traffic.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 40
§17C-1-40. Through highway.
"Through highway" means every highway or portion thereof at
the entrances to which vehicular traffic from intersecting
highways is required by law to stop before entering or crossing
the same and when stop signs are erected as provided in this
WVC 17 C- 1 - 41
§17C-1-41. Controlled-access highway.
"Controlled-access highway" means every highway, street, or
roadway in respect to which owners or occupants of abutting lands
and other persons have no legal right of access to or from the
same except at such points only and in such manner as may be
determined by the public authority having jurisdiction over such
highway, street, or roadway.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 42
"Intersection" includes: (a) The area embraced within the
prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if
none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two
highways which join one another at, or approximately at, right
angles, or the area within which vehicles traveling upon
different highways joining at any other angle may come in
(b) Where a highway includes two roadways thirty feet or
more apart, then every crossing of each roadway of such divided
highway by an intersecting highway shall be regarded as a
separate intersection. In the event such intersecting highway
also includes two roadways thirty feet or more apart, then every
crossing of two roadways of such highways shall be regarded as a
WVC 17 C- 1 - 43
"Crosswalk" includes: (a) That part of a roadway at an
intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines
of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from
the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the
traversable roadway; and
(b) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere
distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other
markings on the surface.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 44
§17C-1-44. Safety zone.
"Safety zone" means the area or space officially set apart
within a roadway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and which
is protected or is so marked or indicated by adequate signs as to
be plainly visible at all times while set apart as a safety zone.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 45
§17C-1-45. Business district.
"Business district" means the territory contiguous to and
including a highway when within any six hundred feet along such
highway there are buildings in use for business or industrial
purposes, including but not limited to hotels, banks, or office
buildings, railroad stations, and public buildings which occupy
at least three hundred feet of frontage on one side or three
hundred feet collectively on both sides of the highway.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 46
§17C-1-46. Residence district.
"Residence district" means the territory contiguous to and
including a highway not comprising a business district when the
property on such highway for a distance of three hundred feet or
more is in the main improved with residences or residences and
buildings in use for business.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 47
§17C-1-47. Traffic-control devices.
"Traffic-control devices" means all signs, signals,
markings, and devices not inconsistent with this chapter placed
or erected by authority of a public body or official having
jurisdiction, for the purpose of regulating, warning, or guiding
WVC 17 C- 1 - 48
§17C-1-48. Traffic-control signal.
"Traffic-control signal" means any device, whether manually,
electrically, or mechanically operated, by which traffic is
alternately directed to stop and to proceed.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 49
§17C-1-49. Railroad sign or signal.
"Railroad sign" or "signal" means any sign, signal, or
device erected by authority of a public body or official or by a
railroad and intended to give notice of the presence of railroad
tracks or the approach of a railroad train.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 50
"Traffic" means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals,
vehicles, streetcars, and other conveyances either singly or
together while using any highway for purposes of travel.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 51
"right-of-way" means the privilege of the immediate use of
WVC 17 C- 1 - 52
"Stop," when required, means complete cessation from
WVC 17 C- 1 - 53
§17C-1-53. Stop, stopping, or standing.
"stop,""stopping," or "standing," when prohibited, means any
stopping or standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not,
except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in
compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic-
control sign or signal.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 54
"Park," when prohibited, means the standing of a vehicle,
whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the
purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 55
§17C-1-55. School grounds.
"School grounds" includes the land on which a school is
built together with such other land used by students for play,
recreation or athletic events while attending school.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 56
§17C-1-56. Axle group.
"Axle group" means an assemblage of two or more consecutive
axles considered together in determining their combined load
effect on a bridge or pavement structure. The determination of
what constitutes an axle group may include any or all the axles
on the vehicle or combination of vehicles.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 57
§17C-1-57. Tandem axle.
"Tandem axle" means any two or more consecutive axles whose
centers are more than forty inches but not more than ninety-six
inches apart, and are individually attached to and/or articulated
from a common attachment to the vehicle including a connecting
mechanism designed to equalize the load between axles.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 58
§17C-1-58. Tandem axle weight.
"Tandem axle weight" means the total weight transmitted to
the road by two or more consecutive axles whose centers may be
included between parallel transverse planes spaced more than
forty inches and not more than ninety-six inches apart, extending
the full width of the vehicle.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 59
§17C-1-59. Connecting mechanism.
"Connecting mechanism" means an arrangement of parts
interconnecting two or more consecutive axles to the frame of a
vehicle in such a manner as to equalize the load between axles.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 60
§17C-1-60. Parking area.
"Parking area" means lots, areas or other accommodations for
the parking of vehicles off the street or highway and open to
public use with or without charge.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 61
§17C-1-61. Institution of higher education.
The term "institution of higher education" shall mean "state
colleges,""state college,""state universities" and
"universities,""state university," and "university," and
"community college" as defined in subsection (b), (c), (d), (e)
and (f), section two, article twenty-six, chapter eighteen of
this code and any other institution as defined by sections 401
(f), (g), (h) of the Federal Higher Education Facilities Act of
1963, as amended.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 62
§17C-1-62. Residential street.
"Residential street" means the entire width between the
boundary lines of every way, whether publicly or privately
maintained, located within any subdivision, development or other
similar area used primarily for residential purposes when any
part thereof is open to the common use of those living in said
area for the purpose of vehicular travel.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 63
§17C-1-63. Digger/derrick line truck.
"Digger/derrick line truck" means a truck which is
specifically designed and used for transporting and setting utility
WVC 17 C- 1 - 64
§17C-1-64. Passenger van.
"Passenger van" means any van or other motor vehicle owned by
any agency, business or other legal entity and operated for the
purpose of transportation of children under the age of eighteen
years, other than a van utilized for private use, taxicab, bus or
school bus. Passenger vans include, but are not limited to,
vehicles used by day-care centers, after-school centers and nursery
That the term "passenger van" does not include
any van or other motor vehicle which is utilized for the specific
purpose of transporting children to medical facilities for the
purpose of medical or dental treatment and which loads and unloads
the children on private property, making no stops for loading or
unloading along public roads or highways.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 65
"Wheelchair" means a motorized or nonmotorized wheeled device
designed for, and used by, a person with disabilities that is
incapable of a speed in excess of eight miles per hour.
WVC 17 C- 1 - 66
§17C-1-66. Electric personal assistive mobility device.
"Electric personal assistive mobility device" or "EPAMD" means
a self-balancing, two nontandem-wheeled device, designed to
transport only one person, with an electric propulsion system with
average power of seven hundred fifty watts (one horse power), whose
maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such
a propulsion system while ridden by an operator who weighs one
hundred seventy pounds, is less than twenty miles per hour.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session