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Chapter 17 C     Entire Code
‹ Chapter 17B  |  Chapter 17D › Printer Friendly Versions
Chapter 17C  |  Article 17C - 6  |  Section 3
WVC 17 C- CHAPTER 17C. TRAFFIC REGULATIONS AND LAWS OF THE ROAD.
WVC 17 C- 6 - ARTICLE 6. SPEED RESTRICTIONS.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 1 §17C-6-1. Speed limitations generally; penalty.
(a) No person may drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions and the actual and potential hazards. In every event speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering the highways in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.

(b) Where no special hazard exists that requires lower speed for compliance with subsection (a) of this section, the speed of any vehicle not in excess of the limits specified in this section or established as authorized in this section is lawful, but any speed in excess of the limits specified in this subsection or established as authorized in this section is unlawful. The following speed limits apply:

(1) Fifteen miles per hour in a school zone during school recess or while children are going to or leaving school during opening or closing hours. A school zone is all school property, including school grounds and any street or highway abutting the school grounds and extending one hundred twenty-five feet along the street or highway from the school grounds. The speed restriction does not apply to vehicles traveling on a controlled-access highway which is separated from the school or school grounds by a fence or barrier approved by the division of highways;

(2) Twenty-five miles per hour in any business or residence district; and

(3) Fifty-five miles per hour on open country highways, except as otherwise provided by this chapter.

The speeds set forth in this section may be altered as authorized in sections two and three of this article.

(c) The driver of every vehicle shall, consistent with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, drive at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway and when a special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.

(d) The speed limit on controlled access highways and interstate highways, where no special hazard exists that requires a lower speed, shall be not less than fifty-five miles per hour and the speed limits specified in subsection (b) of this section do not apply.

(e) Unless otherwise provided in this section, any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars; upon a second conviction within one year thereafter, shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars; and, upon a third or subsequent conviction within two years thereafter, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars: Provided, That if the third or subsequent conviction is based upon a violation of the provisions of this section where the offender exceeded the speed limit by fifteen miles per hour or more, then upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or confined in the county or regional jail for not more than six months, or both.

(f) Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision (1), subsection (b) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars: Provided, That if the conviction is based upon a violation of the provisions of subdivision (1), subsection (b) of this section where the offender exceeded the speed limit by fifteen miles per hour or more in the presence of one or more children, then upon conviction, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or confined in the regional or county jail for not more than six months, or both.

(g) If an owner or driver is arrested under the provisions of this section for the offense of driving above the posted speed limit on a controlled access highway or interstate highway and if the evidence shows that the motor vehicle was being operated at ten miles per hour or less above the speed limit, then, upon conviction thereof, that person shall be fined not more than five dollars, plus court costs.

(h) Any person operating a commercial motor vehicle engaged in the transportation of coal on the coal resource transportation road system who violates subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section shall, upon conviction, be subject to fines in triple the amount otherwise provided in subsection (e) of this section.

(i) If an owner or driver is convicted under the provisions of this section for the offense of driving above the speed limit on a controlled-access highway or interstate highway of this state and if the evidence shows that the motor vehicle was being operated at ten miles per hour or less above the speed limit, then notwithstanding the provisions of section four, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code, a certified abstract of the judgment on the conviction shall not be transmitted to the division of motor vehicles: Provided, That the provisions of this subsection do not apply to conviction of owners or drivers who have been issued a commercial driver's license as defined in chapter seventeen-e of this code, if the offense was committed while operating a commercial vehicle.

(j) If an owner or driver is convicted in another state for the offense of driving above the maximum speed limit on a controlled-access highway or interstate highway and if the maximum speed limit in the other state is less than the maximum speed limit for a comparable controlled-access highway or interstate highway in this state, and if the evidence shows that the motor vehicle was being operated at ten miles per hour or less above what would be the maximum speed limit for a comparable controlled-access highway or interstate highway in this state, then notwithstanding the provisions of section four, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code, a certified abstract of the judgment on the conviction shall not be transmitted to the division of motor vehicles or, if transmitted, shall not be recorded by the division, unless within a reasonable time after conviction, the person convicted has failed to pay all fines and costs imposed by the other state: Provided, That the provisions of this subsection do not apply to conviction of owners or drivers who have been issued a commercial driver's license as defined in chapter seventeen-e of this code, if the offense was committed while operating a commercial vehicle.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 2 §17C-6-2. Establishment of state speed zones.
Whenever the state road commissioner shall determine upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that any speed limit set forth in this article is greater or less than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at any intersection or other place or upon any part of a highway, said commissioner may determine and declare a reasonable and safe speed limit thereat which shall be effective at all times or during hours of daylight or darkness or at such other times as may be determined when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected at such intersection or other place or part of the highway.

WVC 17C-6-3 §17C-6-3. When local authorities may alter speed limits.
(a) At intersection. -- Whenever local authorities within their respective jurisdictions determine upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that the speed permitted under this chapter at any intersection is greater than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at such intersection, such local authority subject to subsection (e) of this section shall determine and declare a reasonable and safe speed limit thereat, which shall be effective at all times or during hours of daylight or darkness or at such other times as may be determined when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected at such intersection or upon the approaches thereto.

(b) Authority to increase twenty-five mile limit. -- Local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may in their discretion, but subject to subsection (e) of this section, authorize by ordinance higher speeds than those stated in section one of this article upon through highways or upon highways or portions thereof where there are no intersections or between widely spaced intersections, which higher speed shall be effective at all times or during hours of daylight or at such other times as may be determined when signs are erected giving notice of the authorized speed, but local authorities shall not have authority to modify or alter the basic rule set forth in subsection (a), section one of this article or in any event to authorize by ordinance a speed in excess of fifty-five miles per hour.

(c) Authority to decrease fifty-five mile limit. -- Whenever local authorities within their respective jurisdictions determine upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that the speed under this chapter upon open country highway outside a business or residence district is greater than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist upon such street or highway, the local authority may determine and declare a reasonable and safe limit thereon but in no event less than thirty-five miles per hour and subject to subsection (e) of this section, which reduced limit shall be effective at all times or during hours of darkness or at other times as may be determined when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected upon such street or highway.

(d) Authority to decrease twenty-five mile limit. -- A municipality may in its discretion, but subject to subsection (e) of this section, authorize by ordinance lower speeds than those stated in subdivision (2), subsection (b), section one of this article upon local dedicated rights-of-way in a residential district or portions thereof, which lower speed shall be effective at all times or during hours of daylight or at such other times as may be determined when signs are erected giving notice of the authorized speed.

(e) Alteration of limits on state highways in municipalities. -- Alteration of limits on state highways or extensions thereof in a municipality by local authorities shall not be effective until such alteration has been approved by the commissioner of highways.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 3 A §17C-6-3a. Minimum speed regulations; penalty.
(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

(b) Whenever the commissioner or local authorities within their respective jurisdiction determine on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that slow speeds on any part of the highway consistently impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the commissioner or such local authority may determine and declare a minimum speed limit below which no person shall drive a vehicle except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

(c) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars; upon a second conviction within one year thereafter, shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars; and upon a third or subsequent conviction within two years thereafter, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 4 §17C-6-4. Special speed limitations on vehicles not designed for carrying passengers and equipped with pneumatic tires.
Subject to all other speed restrictions of this chapter no person shall drive a vehicle not designed for carrying passengers and equipped with pneumatic tires at a speed in excess of:

(1) Twenty miles per hour in any business district;

(2) Twenty-five miles per hour in any residence district;

(3) Forty miles per hour on open country highway;

(4) Trucks licensed at eight thousand pounds gross vehicle weight or less shall be permitted the same speed as passenger cars.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 5 §17C-6-5. Special speed limitations; penalty.
(a) No person shall drive any vehicle equipped with other than pneumatic tires at a speed greater than a maximum of ten miles per hour.

(b) No person shall drive a vehicle over any bridge or other elevated structure constituting a part of a highway at a speed which is greater than the maximum speed which can be maintained with safety to such bridge or structure, when such structure is signposted as provided in this section.

(c) The commissioner of highways upon request from any local authority shall, or upon its own initiative may, conduct an investigation of any bridge or other elevated structure constituting a part of a highway, and if it shall thereupon find that such structure cannot with safety to itself withstand vehicles traveling at the speed otherwise permissible under this chapter, the commissioner shall determine and declare the maximum speed of vehicles which such structure can withstand, and shall cause or permit suitable signs stating such maximum speed to be erected and maintained at a distance of one hundred feet before each end of such structure.

(d) Upon the trial of any person charged with a violation of this section, proof of said determination of the maximum speed by said commissioner and the existence of said signs shall constitute conclusive evidence of the maximum speed which can be maintained with safety to such bridge or structure.

(e) Any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars; upon a second conviction within one year thereafter, shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars; and upon a third or subsequent conviction, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 6 §17C-6-6. Charging violations; rule in civil actions.
(a) In every charge of violation of any speed regulations in this chapter the complaint, also the summons or notice to appear, shall specify the speed at which the defendant is alleged to have driven, also the speed applicable within the district or at the location and in the event charge shall also be made of violation of any other provision of this chapter, the complaint and the summons or notice to appear shall also specify such other offense alleged to have been committed.

(b) The provision of this chapter declaring speed limitations shall not be construed to relieve the plaintiff in any civil action from the burden of proving negligence on the part of the defendant as the proximate cause of an accident.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 7 §17C-6-7. Prima facie evidence of speed by devices employing microwaves or reflected light; placing of signs relative to radar or laser.
The speed of a motor vehicle may be proved by evidence obtained by use of any device designed to measure and indicate or record the speed of a moving object by means of microwaves or reflected light, when such evidence is obtained by members of the State Police, by police officers of incorporated municipalities in classes one, two and three, as defined in chapter eight-a of this code, by police officers of incorporated class four municipalities except upon controlled access or partially controlled access highways, and by the sheriff and his or her deputies. The evidence so obtained shall be accepted as prima facie evidence of the speed of the vehicle: Provided, That the evidence of speed is obtained and detected by a certified law enforcement officer who has completed training for speed measuring devices used to obtain the speed of the motor vehicle: Provided, however, That the Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction shall, on or before January 1, 2012, establish or certify an eight-hour training and certification program and standards for speed measuring device training that certified law enforcement officers who utilize speed measuring devices must complete or otherwise satisfy in order for any evidence of speed detected by a speed measuring device put forward by the officer to be accepted of prima facie evidence. All certified law enforcement officers must have completed or otherwise satisfied the requirements of this section prior to January 1, 2013.

In order to inform and educate the public generally that speed of motor vehicles operating within the state is being tested by radar or laser mechanisms, the Division of Highways shall locate and place suitable and informative stationary and movable signs at strategic points on and along highways in each county of the state giving notice to the public that such radar or laser mechanisms are in use.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 7 A §17C-6-7a. Prohibition of the use of traffic law photo-monitoring devices to detect or prove traffic law violations.
(a) As used in this section "traffic law photo-monitoring device" means an electronic system consisting of a photographic, video, or electronic camera and a means of sensing the presence of a motor vehicle that automatically produces photographs, videotape, or digital images of the vehicle, its operator, or its license plate.

(b) No police officer may utilize a traffic law photo-monitoring device to determine compliance with, or to detect a violation of, a municipal or county ordinance or any provision of this code that governs or regulates the operation of motor vehicles.

(c) A violation of a municipal or county ordinance or any provision of this code that governs or regulates the operation of motor vehicles may not be proved by evidence obtained by the use of a traffic law photo-monitoring device.

(d) The provisions of this section do not prohibit the use of any device designed to measure and indicate the speed of a moving object by means of microwaves or reflected light to obtain evidence to prove the speed of a motor vehicle pursuant to section seven of this article.

(e) The provisions of this section do not prohibit use of a traffic law photo-monitoring device for any other lawful purposes other than to obtain evidence to prove violations of municipal or county ordinances or any provision of this code governing or regulating the operation of motor vehicles.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 8 §17C-6-8. Racing on streets and highways prohibited; legislative findings; penalties; mandatory revocation of licenses.
The Legislature hereby determines and finds that the racing of motor vehicles on the public streets and highways of this state, whether within or in excess of the lawful speed limit (much of which racing is commonly referred to as "drag racing"), is extremely dangerous to life, limb and property, and that such racing is an ever increasing problem. It is, therefore, hereby declared to be the public policy of this state to prohibit all forms of such racing on the public streets and highways, and to provide criminal penalties for, and require the revocation of the operator's or chauffeur's license or nonresident privilege to drive, of those persons who are convicted of engaging in or aiding or abetting such racing.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in, or aid or abet by serving as lookout or timer or in any other capacity whatever, any speed race, as defined herein, on any public street or highway in this state. For the purposes of this subdivision, "speed race" means:

(1) The operation of a motor vehicle in speed acceleration competition with another motor vehicle or motor vehicles; or

(2) The operation of a motor vehicle in speed acceleration competition against time; or

(3) The operation of a motor vehicle in speed competition with another motor vehicle or motor vehicles where speed exceeds the lawful speed limit.

(b) Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished for a first offense by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars, and for a second offense by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not less than six days nor more than sixty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and for a third and each subsequent offense by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for not less than sixty days nor more than four months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. For the purposes of this section, a forfeiture of bail or collateral deposited to secure such person's appearance in court, which forfeiture has not been vacated, shall be equivalent to a final conviction. If at the time of any violation of the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section by any person as an operator of a motor vehicle, such person was not entitled to operate a motor vehicle in this state because his operator's or chauffeur's license, or privilege to drive in this state if such person be a nonresident, had earlier been suspended or revoked, then in addition to the offense, penalties and mandatory revocation provided for in this section, the provisions of section three, article four, chapter seventeen-b of this code shall be applicable.

(c) Whenever a person is convicted for a violation of the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section, which conviction has become final, the commissioner of motor vehicles shall in addition to the penalties hereinbefore provided, forthwith:

(1) For a first offense, revoke the operator's or chauffeur's license of such person, or such person's privilege to drive in this state if he be a nonresident, for a period of six months;

(2) For a second offense occurring within a two-year period, revoke the operator's or chauffeur's license of such person, or such person's privilege to drive in this state if he be a nonresident, for a period of two years; or

(3) For a third or any subsequent offense occurring within a five-year period, revoke the operator's or chauffeur's license of such person, or such person's privilege to drive in this state if he be a nonresident, for a period of five years.

Whenever a person is convicted as aforesaid for a second,third or subsequent offense which occurred while such person's operator's or chauffeur's license, or privilege to drive in this state if he be a nonresident, was revoked pursuant to the provisions of this subdivision, the period or periods of mandatory revocation for such second, third or subsequent offense shall be cumulative and shall run consecutively. If a person's junior or probationary operator's license is revoked in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision, such person may not apply for a regular operator's or chauffeur's license until he reaches eighteen years of age or until the period of revocation has elapsed, whichever event shall last occur. Notwithstanding the provisions of section eight, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code, any person whose operator's or chauffeur's license, or privilege to drive in this state if he be a nonresident, is revoked, under the provisions of this subdivision, may, following the period or periods of revocation, immediately apply for and obtain a new operator's or chauffeur's license or nonresident privilege to drive, as the case may be, if and only if the commissioner of motor vehicles is satisfied, after investigation of the character, habits and driving ability of such person, that it will be safe to permit such person to drive a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways. Any period of revocation imposed under the provisions of this subdivision shall be computed from the date of such revocation.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 9 §17C-6-9. Slow-moving vehicle emblem.
(a) All farm machinery and other machinery including all road construction machinery except when guarded by flagmen or flares, designed to operate at twenty-five miles per hour or less, traveling on a public highway during day or night shall display a triangular slow-moving emblem on the rear of the vehicle.

(b) The commissioner shall adopt standards and specifications for design and the position of mounting the slow- moving vehicle emblem, as well as requirements for certification of conformance. The requirements of such emblem shall be in addition to any lighting devices required by law.

(c) The use of this emblem shall be restricted to the use specified in subsection (a) and its use on any other type of vehicle or as a clearance marker on wide machinery or on stationary objects on the highway is prohibited.

WVC 17 C- 6 - 10 §17C-6-10. Enforcement of article with respect to operations of commercial motor vehicles.
In addition to enforcement by officers and other persons authorized by law, designated employees of the public service commission of West Virginia may enforce the provisions of this article as they relate to the operation of commercial motor vehicles.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV 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.


Recent legislation affecting the Code

Citation Year/Session Short Title
§17 C- 6 - 11 - (New Code)
§17 C- 15 - 26 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 378
PASSED - Regular Session

SB378 SUB2 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/25/2014)
Relating to special speed limitations as to waste service vehicles
§17 C- 5 A- 3 A - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 434
PASSED - Regular Session

SB434 SUB1 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/25/2014)
Eliminating revocation period for certain DUI offenders
§17 C- 15 - 23 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 2477
PASSED - Regular Session

HB2477 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/18/2014)
Permitting certain auxiliary lighting on motorcycles
§17 C- 7 - 3 - (Amended Code)
§17 C- 11 - 5 - (Amended Code)
§17 C- 11 - 7 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4304
PASSED - Regular Session

HB4304 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/25/2014)
Providing rules for motor vehicles passing bicycles on roadways
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV 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.
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