2006 Code of Virginia § 33.1-252 - Free use of toll facilities by certain state officers and employees; penalties

33.1-252. Free use of toll facilities by certain state officers andemployees; penalties.

A. Vehicles transporting two or more persons, including the driver, may bepermitted toll-free use of the Dulles Toll Road during rush hours by theCommonwealth Transportation Board; however, notwithstanding the provisions ofsubdivision B 1 of 56-543 said vehicles shall not be permitted toll-freeuse of a roadway as defined pursuant to the Virginia Highway Corporation Actof 1988 ( 56-535 et seq.). Upon presentation of a toll pass issued pursuantto regulations promulgated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, thefollowing persons may use all toll bridges, toll ferries, toll tunnels, andtoll roads in this Commonwealth without the payment of toll while in theperformance of their official duties:

1. The Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner;

2. Members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board;

3. Employees of the Virginia Department of Transportation;

4. The Superintendent of the Department of State Police;

5. Officers and employees of the Department of State Police;

6. Members of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board;

7. Employees of the regulatory and hearings divisions of the Department ofAlcoholic Beverage Control and special agents of the Department of AlcoholicBeverage Control;

8. The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles;

9. Employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles;

10. Local police officers;

11. Sheriffs and their deputies;

12. Regional jail officials;

13. Animal wardens;

14. The Director and officers of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries;

15. Persons operating fire-fighting equipment and ambulances owned by apolitical subdivision of the Commonwealth or a nonprofit association orcorporation;

16. Operators of school buses being used to transport pupils to or fromschools;

17. Operators of (i) commuter buses having a capacity of 20 or morepassengers, including the driver, and used to regularly transport workers toand from their places of employment and (ii) public transit buses;

18. Employees of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation;

19. Employees of any transportation facility created pursuant to the VirginiaHighway Corporation Act of 1988; and

20. Law-enforcement officers of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provision of this subsection requiringpresentation of a toll pass for toll-free use of such facilities, in cases ofemergency and circumstances of concern for public safety on the highways ofthe Commonwealth, the Department shall, in order to alleviate an actual orpotential threat or risk to the public's safety, facilitate the flow oftraffic on or within the vicinity of the toll facility by permitting thetemporary suspension of toll collection operations on its facilities.

a. The assessment of the threat to public safety shall be performed and thedecision temporarily to suspend toll collection operations shall be made bythe Commissioner or his designee.

b. Major incidents that may require the temporary suspension of tollcollection operations shall include, but not necessarily be limited to (i)natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and floods; (ii)accidental releases of hazardous materials such as chemical spills; (iii)major traffic accidents such as multivehicle collisions; and (iv) otherincidents deemed to present a risk to public safety.

c. In any judicial proceeding in which a person is found to be criminallyresponsible or civilly liable for any incident resulting in the suspension oftoll collections as provided in this subsection, the court may assess againstthe person an amount equal to lost toll revenue as a part of the costs of theproceeding and order that such amount, not to exceed $2,000 for anyindividual incident, be paid to the Department for deposit into the toll roadfund.

B. Any tollgate keeper who shall refuse to permit the persons listed insubsection A of this section to pass through such tollgate or over such tollbridge or ferry, or toll road or toll tunnel upon presentation of such a tollpass, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not morethan $50, and not less than $2.50. Any person other than those listed insubsection A who shall exhibit any such toll pass for the purpose of usingany toll bridge, toll tunnel or ferry shall be guilty of a Class 1misdemeanor and punished accordingly.

B1. Any vehicle operated by the holder of a valid driver's license issued byVirginia or any other state shall be allowed free use of all toll bridges,toll roads, and other toll facilities in Virginia if:

1. The vehicle is specially equipped to permit its operation by a handicappedperson;

2. The driver of the vehicle has been certified, either by a physicianlicensed by Virginia or any other state or by the Adjudication Office of theUnited States Veterans Administration, as being severely physically disabledand having permanent upper limb mobility or dexterity impairments whichsubstantially impair his ability to deposit coins in toll baskets;

3. The driver has applied for and received from the Department ofTransportation a vehicle window sticker identifying him as eligible for suchfree passage; and

4. Such identifying window sticker is properly displayed on the vehicle.

A copy of this subsection shall be posted at all toll bridges, toll roads,and other toll facilities in Virginia. The Department of Transportation shallprovide envelopes for payments of tolls by those persons exempted from tollspursuant to this subsection and shall accept any payments made by suchpersons.

C. Nothing contained in this section or in 33.1-251 or 33.1-285 shalloperate to affect the provisions of 22.1-187.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections A and B, only the followingpersons may use the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, facilities of the RichmondMetropolitan Authority, or facilities of an operator authorized to operate atoll facility pursuant to the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (56-556 et seq.) without the payment of toll when necessary and incidental tothe conduct of official business:

1. The Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner;

2. Members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board;

3. Employees of the Department of Transportation;

4. The Superintendent of the Department of State Police;

5. Officers and employees of the Department of State Police;

6. The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles;

7. Employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles; and

8. Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs.

E. Any vehicle operated by a quadriplegic driver shall be allowed free use ofall toll facilities in Virginia controlled by the Richmond MetropolitanAuthority, pursuant to the requirements of subsection B1 (1 through 4).

(Code 1950, 33-11; 1952, c. 572; 1970, cc. 322, 415; 1973, c. 215; 1981, c.417; 1983, c. 617; 1984, cc. 508, 543, 778; 1990, cc. 505, 509, 613; 1992, c.266; 1993, c. 866; 1994, cc. 65, 771, 874, 927; 1995, c. 572; 1996, c. 138;1998, c. 565; 2004, c. 655; 2005, c. 298; 2006, c. 859.)

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