(b) The provisions of this article governing size, weight, and load shall not apply to fire apparatus, road machinery, or to implements of husbandry, including farm tractors, temporarily moved upon a highway, or to a vehicle operated under the terms of a special permit issued as herein provided.
(c) The phrase "operate a vehicle or combination of vehicles" shall in this article be interpreted to mean the use of such vehicle or combination of vehicles on behalf of the owner, lessee or borrower, whether driven by him or by some person on behalf of him.
(a) The total outside width, exclusive of safety equipment authorized by the United States department of transportation, of any vehicle or the load thereon may not exceed ninety-six inches except as otherwise provided in this article: Provided, That any vehicle with a total outside width of one hundred two inches, exclusive of safety equipment authorized by the United States department of transportation, may be operated on any highway within the state designated by the United States department of transportation or the commissioner of the department of highways or on any highway having a minimum lane width of ten feet.
(b) Motor homes, travel trailers, truck campers, motor buses and trackless trolley coaches with a total outside width of one hundred two inches, excluding safety equipment authorized by the United States department of transportation, may operate on any highway.
(a) No passenger-type vehicle shall be operated on any highway with any load carried thereon extending beyond the line of the fenders of the left side of such vehicle nor extending more than six inches beyond the line of the fenders on the right side thereof.
(b) A motor home, travel trailer or truck camper may exceed the maximum width prescribed section two of this article, if the excess width is attributable to an appurtenance that does not exceed more than six inches beyond the body of the vehicle.
(b) A motor vehicle, including any load thereon, may not exceed a length of forty feet extreme overall dimension, inclusive of front and rear bumpers: Provided, That a motor home and a school bus may not exceed a length of forty-five feet, exclusive of front and rear bumpers.
(c) Except as hereinafter provided in this subsection or in subsection (d) of this section, a combination of vehicles coupled together may not consist of more than two units and no combination of vehicles including any load thereon shall have an overall length, inclusive of front and rear bumpers, in excess of fifty-five feet except as provided in section eleven-b of this article and except as otherwise provided in respect to the use of a pole trailer as authorized in section five of this article. The limitation that a combination of vehicles coupled together may not consist of more than two units may not apply to: (1) A combination of vehicles coupled together by a saddle-mount device used to transport motor vehicles in a drive-away service when no more than three saddle mounts are used, if equipment used in the combination meets the requirements of the safety regulations of the United States Department of Transportation and may not exceed an overall length of more than seventy-five feet; or (2) a combination of vehicles coupled together, one of which is a travel trailer or folding camping trailer having an overall length, exclusive of front and rear bumpers, not exceeding sixty-five feet.
(d) A combination of two vehicles coupled together, one of which is a motor home, or a combination of vehicles coupled together, one of which is a travel trailer or folding camping trailer, may not exceed an overall length, exclusive of front and rear bumpers of sixty-five feet.
(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a), (b), (c) and (d) of this section, the commissioner may designate, upon his or her own motion or upon the petition of an interested party, a combination vehicle length not to exceed seventy feet.
(f) The length limitations for truck tractor-semitrailer combinations and truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer combinations operating on the national system of interstate and defense highways and those classes of qualifying federal-aid primary system highways so designated by the United States secretary of transportation and those highways providing reasonable access to and from terminals, facilities for food, fuel, repairs and rest and points of loading and unloading for household goods carriers from such highways and further, as to other highways so designated by the West Virginia commissioner of highways, shall be as follows: The maximum length of a semitrailer unit operating in a truck tractor-semitrailer combination shall not exceed forty-eight feet in length except where semitrailers have an axle spacing of not more than thirty-seven feet between the rear axle of the truck tractor and the front axle of the semitrailer, such semitrailer shall be allowed to be not more than fifty-three feet in length and the maximum length of any semitrailer or trailer operating in a truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer combination may not exceed twenty-eight feet in length and in no event shall any combinations exceed three units, including the truck tractor: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall impose an overall length limitation as to commercial motor vehicles operating in truck tractor-semitrailer or truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer combinations.
(g) The commissioner shall publish annually an official map designating the highways of the state and the various maximum vehicle lengths relating thereto.
(b) The limitations as to length of vehicles and loads heretofore stated in section four of this article and subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any load upon a pole trailer when transporting poles or pipes or structural material which cannot be dismembered: Provided, That no pole or pipe or other material exceeding eighty feet in length shall be so transported unless a permit has first been obtained as authorized in sectioneleven of this article.
(b) It shall be unlawful to operate on any highway any vehicle or combination of vehicles with any load unless said load and any covering thereon is securely fastened so as to prevent said covering or load from becoming loose, detached, or in any manner a hazard to other users of the highway.
(1) By equipping the cylinder with securely attached metal caps of sufficient strength to protect valves from damage during transportation;
(2) By boxing or crating the cylinder with securely attached metal caps of sufficient strength so as to protect valves from damage during transportation; or
(3) By constructing the cylinder so that the valve is recessed into the cylinder or otherwise protected to the extent that it will not be subjected to a blow when the container is dropped onto a flat surface.
The requirements of this section are not applicable to propane gas used for household purposes or to respiratory health care products in use by the person operating the vehicle.
The Commissioner of the Division of Highways is hereby authorized and directed to propose a legislative rule governing the transportation of compressed gas containers by vehicles upon the highways for promulgation in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(b) When one vehicle is towing another and the connection consists of a chain, rope, or cable, there shall be displayed upon such connection a white flag or cloth not less than twelve inches square.
(b) For the purpose of this article an axle load shall be defined as the total load transmitted to the road by all wheels whose centers are included between two parallel transverse vertical planes forty inches apart, extending across the full width of the vehicle.
(b) For the purpose of this article a tandem-axle load shall be defined as the total load transmitted to the road by two or more consecutive axles whose centers may be included between parallel transverse vertical planes spaced more than forty inches and not more than ninety-six inches apart, extending the full width of the vehicle.
(b) Subject to the limit upon the weight imposed upon the highway through any one axle as set forth in section eight of this article, the total gross weight on vehicles or combination of vehicles operated on any highway other than the national system of interstate and defense highways shall be as follows:
(1) A single unit truck having one steering axle and two axles in tandem shall be limited to a maximum gross weight of sixty thousand pounds with a tolerance of ten percent.
(2) A single unit truck having one steering axle and three axles in tridem arrangement shall be limited to a maximum gross weight of seventy thousand pounds with a tolerance of ten percent.
(3) A single unit truck having one steering axle and four axles in quadem arrangement shall be limited to a maximum gross weight of seventy-three thousand pounds with a tolerance of ten percent.
(4) A tractor-semitrailer combination with five axles, a tractor-semitrailer combination with six or more axles, a single unit truck having one steering axle and two axles in tandem in combination with a trailer with two axles and a single unit truck having one steering axle and three axles in tridem in combination with a trailer with two axles, shall be limited to a maximum gross weight of eighty thousand pounds with a tolerance of ten percent.
No vehicle or combination of vehicles may be detained for weighing unless a portable or stationary weighing device is actually present at the location where, and at the time, the vehicle or combination of vehicles is stopped or unless the vehicle or combination of vehicles is escorted immediately after being stopped to the nearest portable or stationary weighing device. In no case may a vehicle or combination of vehicles be detained more than one hour from the time it is stopped for weighing unless the vehicle or combination of vehicles is impounded for another violation or placed out of service for a safety violation.
(b) Whenever a police officer or a member of an official weighing crew determines that a vehicle or combination of vehicles is in violation of any of the provisions of this article or article seventeen-a of this chapter, he or she may require the driver to remain in place or be moved to a suitable location until the vehicle or combination of vehicles is brought into conformity with the provisions violated.
In the case of a weight violation all material unloaded shall be cared for by the owner, lessee or borrower of the vehicle or combination of vehicles at the risk of the owner, lessee or borrower: Provided, That no criminal charge shall be preferred against any driver, operator or owner of a vehicle when a rearrangement of the load upon the vehicle, without removal of the load from the vehicle, reduces the axle loads of the vehicle to the limit permitted under this chapter.
(c) Any driver of a vehicle or combination of vehicles who fails or refuses to comply with any requirement or provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, or in the case of any driver of a vehicle engaged in the transportation of coal, any other additional penalties that may be applicable under the provisions of article seventeen-a of this chapter.
(b)(1) The commissioner of highways may issue a special permit to operate or move a vehicle or combination of vehicles of a size or weight of vehicles or nondivisible load exceeding the maximum specified in this chapter or otherwise not in conformity with the provisions of this chapter over routes designated by the commissioner of highways upon terms and restrictions prescribed by the public service commission, together with the commissioner of highways.
(2) For purposes of this section, nondivisible load means any load exceeding applicable length or weight limits which, if separated into smaller loads or vehicles, would: (A) Compromise the intended use of the vehicle, to the extent that the separation would make it unable to perform the function for which it was intended; (B) destroy the value of the load or vehicle, to the extent that the separation would make it unusable for its intended purpose; or (C) require more than eight workhours to dismantle using appropriate equipment: Provided, That the applicant for a nondivisible load permit has the burden of proof as to the number of workhours required to dismantle the load.
(c) The application for any permit other than a special annual permit shall specifically describe the vehicle or vehicles and load to be operated or moved along or across the highway and the particular highway or crossing of the highway for which the permit to operate is requested, and whether the permit is requested for a single trip or for a continuous operation.
(d) The public service commission is authorized to issue or withhold a permit at his or her discretion; or, if the permit is issued, to limit the number of trips, or to establish seasonal or other time limitations within which the vehicles described may be operated on or across the highways indicated, or otherwise to limit or prescribe conditions of operation of the vehicle or vehicles, when necessary to assure against undue damage to the road foundations, surface, or structures, and may require the undertaking, bond or other security considered necessary to compensate for any injury to any roadway structure and to specify the type, number and the location for escort vehicles for any vehicle: Provided, That in establishing limitations on permits issued under this section, the public service commission shall consult with the commissioner of highways, and may not issue, limit or condition a permit in a manner inconsistent with the authority of the commissioner of highways.
The public service commission may charge a fee for the issuance of a permit for a mobile home and a reasonable fee for the issuance of a permit for any other vehicle under the provisions of this section to pay the administrative costs thereof.
(e) Every permit shall be carried in the vehicle or combination of vehicles to which it refers and shall be open to inspection by any police officer or authorized agent of the commissioner of highways or the public service commission, and no person shall violate any of the terms or conditions of the special permit.
If, in the opinion of the commissioner of the department of highways, the design, construction and safety of any highway, or portion thereof, are such that the gross weight limitations prescribed in section nine of this article can be increased without undue damage to any such highway, the commissioner may, by order, increase the gross weight limitations of vehicles which may be operated upon any such highway, or portion thereof, designated by him in such order and may establish therein the gross weight limitations which shall thereafter be applicable to the highway or portion thereof so designated by him: Provided, That the maximum gross weight, including the load established by the commissioner for any such designated highway or portion thereof, shall not exceed eighty thousand pounds, except as otherwise provided in this article: Provided, however, That no such order of the commissioner shall establish any weight limitation in excess of or in conflict with any weight limitation prescribed by or pursuant to acts of Congress with respect to the national system of interstate and defense highways.
If, in the opinion of the commissioner of the department of highways, the design, construction and safety of any highway, or portion thereof, are such that the length limitations prescribed in section four (c) of this article can be increased without undue risk of damage to other vehicles lawfully using such highway or portion thereof, to bridges or other road structures, and to municipal and utility company facilities, wires, traffic devices or other structures, the commissioner may, by order, increase the length limitations of vehicles which may be operated upon any such highway, or portion thereof, designated by him in such order and may establish therein the maximum length limitations which shall thereafter be applicable to the highway or portion thereof so designated by him: Provided, That the maximum length of any combination of vehicles including any load thereon shall not exceed sixty feet, except as otherwise provided in this article with respect to the size of vehicles: Provided, however, That no such order of the commissioner shall establish any height or length limitation in excess of or in conflict with any height or length limitation prescribed by or pursuant to acts of Congress with respect to the national system of interstate defense highways.
(b) After the determination as required by subsection (a) is made and all modifications and repairs necessary to meet the specifications of the division of highways are completed, the commissioner may designate that portion of state route 61 and County route 72, located in Kanawha County, which is eighty-five hundredths of a mile in length, and its extension to state route 3 at Orgas in Boone County, an industrial road.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other section of this article, the commissioner may set the gross weight limitations applicable to that portion of state route 61 and County route 72 designated an industrial road not to exceed eighty thousand pounds.
(b) The local authority enacting any such ordinance or resolution shall erect or cause to be erected and maintained signs designating the provisions of the ordinance or resolution at each end of that portion of any highway affected thereby, and the ordinance or resolution shall not be effective unless and until such signs are erected and maintained.
(c) Local authorities with respect to highways under their jurisdiction may also, by ordinance or resolution, prohibit the operation of trucks or other commercial vehicles, or may impose limitations as to the weight thereof, on designated highways, which prohibitions and limitations shall be designated by appropriate signs placed on such highways.
(d) The state road commission shall likewise have authority as hereinabove granted to local authorities to determine by resolution and to impose restrictions as to the weight of vehicles operated upon any highway under the jurisdiction of said commission and such restrictions shall be effective when signs giving notice thereof are erected upon the highway or portion of any highway affected by such resolution.
(b) Such damage may be recovered in civil action brought by the authorities in control of such highway or highway structure.
Pounds in excess of registered weight, or in excess of allowable weights for single axle, or in excess of allowable weights for groups of two or more consecutive axles.
24,001to 25,000$ 625.00
50,001 and over$1,600.00
In the event any owner, lessee or borrower of a vehicle is charged with violating this section, the vehicle which is charged to be overloaded shall be impounded by the arresting officer and shall not be released to such owner, lessee or borrower unless and until such owner, lessee or borrower either shall have been found guilty and paid any fine assessed against such owner, lessee or borrower, or shall have furnished cash or surety bond in at least double the amount of the fine which may be assessed against such owner, lessee or borrower for such violation of this section and conditioned upon the payment of any such fine and costs assessed for such violation, or shall have been acquitted of such charge. Such owner, lessee or borrower shall be liable for any reasonable storage costs incurred in storing such vehicles: Provided, That if the owner of such vehicle is a resident of or has a principal place of business located in this state, and said vehicle has been duly licensed in the state, thensaid vehicle shall not be impounded but the arresting officer shall deliver to the driver a written notice stating such violation; the place, date and time; the license number of said vehicle; the title number and name and address of the owner; the driver's name, address, and the number of his operator's or chauffeur's card or permit; and the court, place, date and time for hearing, which shall be within five days of such violation (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, excluded). A copy of such notice shall within forty-eight hours be mailed to the owner of said vehicle. Upon the failure by such owner or his or its agent to appear at the designated place and time, or upon failure to pay the fine and costs assessed for such violation, unless such owner shall have been acquitted of such charge, the court shall order a bond or the impounding of said vehicle as provided in this section.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
The West Virginia Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.