The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 23: Motor Vehicles

Chapter 13: OPERATION OF VEHICLES

 

Sub-Chapter 1: General Provisions

§ 1001. Regulations

(a) The commissioner may make regulations:

(1) Relating to motor vehicle equipment in all cases where its use is not defined in this title and whenever the use or nonuse, contrary to the regulation, in the judgment of the commissioner, may render the operation of the motor vehicle hazardous or unlawful;

(2) Restricting or prohibiting the use of pictures, advertising matter or other thing placed on or over any transparent part of a motor vehicle;

(3) Relating to any other matter or thing which, in his or her judgment, may hinder or impede the operator in the safe and careful operation of a motor vehicle;

(4) In explanation of and in addition to, but not inconsistent with, the provisions of this title concerning any matter or thing which, in his or her judgment, may render the operation of motor vehicles safer and lessen motor vehicle accidents and resulting injuries or fatalities.

(b) The commissioner may make the safety regulations uniform with the regulations of the federal agency having jurisdiction over motor vehicles subject to federal law so far as the regulations are applicable to the vehicles or to vehicles of the same type not subject to federal law, or to both.

(c) The commissioner shall make regulations under this section only in accordance with chapter 25 of Title 3. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1975, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 10.)

§ 1002. Repealed. 1981, No. 82, § 7(7)

§ 1003. State speed zones

(a) When the Traffic Committee constituted under 19 V.S.A. § 1(24) determines, on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that shall take into account, if applicable, safe speeds within school zones (or safe speeds within 200 feet of school district-operated prekindergarten program facilities owned or leased by a school district) when children are traveling to or from such schools or facilities, that a maximum speed limit established by this chapter is greater or less than is reasonable or safe under conditions found to exist at any place or upon any part of a State highway, including the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, it may determine and declare a reasonable and safe limit which is effective when appropriate signs stating the limit are erected. This limit may be declared to be effective at all times or at times indicated upon the signs; and differing limits may be established for different times of day, different types of vehicles, varying weather conditions, or based on other factors, bearing on safe speeds which are effective when posted upon appropriate fixed or alterable signs.

(b) When establishing a maximum speed limit on a State highway contiguous to a school, the traffic committee shall consider, along with the engineering and traffic investigation, data collected for the purpose of promulgating a school travel plan under the Vermont Safe Routes to School program. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 2003, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2009, No. 50, § 100; 2009, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 40, eff. May 26, 2010.)

§ 1004. Interstate highway rules

(a) The Traffic Committee has exclusive authority to make and publish, and from time to time may alter, amend, or repeal, rules pertaining to vehicular, pedestrian, and animal traffic, and the public safety on the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways and other limited access and controlled access highways within this State. The rules and any amendments or revisions may be made by the Committee only in accordance with 3 V.S.A. chapter 25. The rules shall be consistent with accepted motor vehicle codes or standards, shall be consistent with law, and shall not be unreasonable or discriminatory in respect to persons engaged in like, similar, or competitive activities. The rules are applicable only to the extent that they are not in conflict with regulations or orders issued by any agency of the United States having jurisdiction and shall be drawn with due consideration for the desirability of uniformity of law of the several states of the United States.

(b) Rules authorized by this section are effective on interstate and other limited access and controlled access highways only, taking precedence over those then in force and future highway laws and rules applicable to highways generally; however, the general highway laws and rules are effective on interstate highways until properly authorized rules providing otherwise are adopted.

(c) Rules, together with alterations and amendments of rules, made under this section have the force of law, and violations shall be traffic violations under section 2302 of this title. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1973, No. 16, § 2, eff. March 1, 1973; 2003, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2009, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 41, eff. May 26, 2010.)

§ 1005. Parking regulations

The traffic committee may place signs prohibiting or restricting the stopping, standing or parking of vehicles on any highway under its jurisdiction where, in its opinion, stopping, standing or parking is dangerous to those using the highway or would unduly interfere with the free movement of traffic. The signs shall be official signs, and no person may stop, stand, or park any vehicle in violation of the restrictions stated on such signs. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1006. Stopping at railroad crossings

The traffic committee may designate particularly dangerous railroad grade crossings, and the agency of transportation shall erect stop signs at each. The expense of erecting these stop signs shall be borne by the agency of transportation. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; 1983, No. 25, § 1; amended 1997, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 14.)

§ 1006a. Highways; emergency closure

(a) The traffic committee may close any part or all of any state highway to public travel to protect the health, safety or welfare of the public. In such event the agency of transportation shall properly mark and maintain a detour around the closed section.

(b) The traffic committee may establish a temporary speed limit within that portion of the state highways that is being reconstructed or maintained. The limit shall be effective when appropriate signs stating the limit are erected.

(c) Under chapter 25 of Title 3, the traffic committee shall make and promulgate such rules as are necessary to administer this section and may delegate this authority to the agency of transportation.

(d) Notwithstanding the limit established in subsection 2302(d) of this title, the penalty for violation of speed limits established under subsection (b) of this section shall be twice the penalty for nonworksite speed violations. (Added 1975, No. 4, eff. Feb. 14, 1975; amended 1991, No. 15, § 1; 1997, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 15.)

§ 1006b. Smugglers Notch; winter closure of Vermont Route 108

The Agency of Transportation may close the Smugglers Notch segment of Vermont Route 108 during periods of winter weather. To enforce the winter closure, the Agency shall erect signs conforming to the standards established by section 1025 of this title. (Added 2007, No. 75, § 37; amended 2007, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 52.)

§ 1006c. Trucks and buses; chains and tire requirements

(a) The Traffic Committee may require the use of tire chains or winter tires on specified portions of State highways during periods of winter weather for motor coaches, truck-tractor-semitrailer combinations, and truck-tractor-trailer combinations.

(b) When tire chains or winter tires are required, advance notice shall be given to the traveling public through signage and, whenever possible, through public service announcements. In areas where tire chains or winter tires are required, there shall be an adequate area for vehicles to pull off the traveled way to affix any chains that might be required.

(c) Under 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, the Traffic Committee may adopt such rules as are necessary to administer this section and may delegate this authority to the Secretary. (Added 2009, No. 50, § 71.)

§ 1007. Local speed limits

(a) The legislative body of a municipality may establish, on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation, a speed limit on all or a part of any city, town or village highway within its jurisdiction, which:

(1) is not more than 50 miles per hour; however, after considering neighborhood character, abutting land use, bicycle and pedestrian use, and physical characteristics of the highways, the legislative body of a municipality may vote to set the maximum speed limit, without an engineering and traffic investigation, at not more than 50 miles per hour nor less than 35 miles per hour, on all or a portion of unpaved town highways within its boundaries, unless otherwise posted in accordance with the provisions of this section; or

(2) is not less than 25 miles per hour.

If the legislative body of a municipality votes to set the speed limit on all unpaved town highways in its boundaries at no more than 50 miles per hour nor less than 35 miles per hour as provided for in subdivision (a)(1) of this section, signs shall be located at points of change from one speed limit to another.

(b) The legislative body of a city may establish, on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation, a speed limit on all or a part of any state highway, other than a limited access highway, within its jurisdiction, which:

(1) is not more than 50 miles per hour; or

(2) is not less than 25 miles per hour.

(c) Any altered limit is effective at all times or during hours of darkness or at other times as may be determined when appropriate signs giving notice are erected upon the street or highway.

(d) The special regulations have the full force and effect of law and are in the case of regulations adopted under subsections (a) and (b) of this section subject to review by the traffic committee, whose decision is final.

(e) Lack of evidence of a traffic and engineering study will not invalidate a local speed limit ordinance as adopted or amended under this section after five years following the day on which the speed limit ordinance took effect.

(f) Notwithstanding the procedure outlined in this section for enacting a local speed limit, a town or village may adopt a local speed ordinance on a state highway, other than on limited access highways, provided the ordinance duplicates the speed limit established under section 1003 of this title.

(g) Notwithstanding any requirements of section 1025 of this title, downtown development districts designated under chapter 76A of Title 24 may have posted speed limits of less than 25 miles per hour. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1973, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1975, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. April 7, 1976; 1989, No. 261 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 16, 1990; 1995, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1997, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1999, No. 32, § 1.)

§ 1007a. Neighborhood electric vehicles; speed limit

The maximum speed for a neighborhood electric vehicle shall be 25 miles per hour. (Added 2003, No. 8, § 2.)

§ 1008. Regulations in municipalities

(a) The legislative body of a municipality may make special regulations as to the operation, use, and parking of motor vehicles, including angle parking, as to the location, design, and structure of traffic lights, as to "stop" signs and "yield right of way" signs at intersections, as to "no-passing" zones, and as to streets designated for one way traffic in the thickly settled portions of the municipality and may cause any street or highway of adequate width to be divided by appropriate markings into three or more lanes, and may, by ordinance or regulation, regulate the direction of travel and the turning of vehicles proceeding in those lanes and the passing of vehicles in one lane by overtaking vehicles in another lane, may cause markers, buttons or signs to be placed within or adjacent to intersections and thereby direct the course traveled by vehicles turning at an intersection, and when markers, buttons or signs are so placed no driver may turn a vehicle at an intersection other than as directed by the markers, buttons or signs. However, signs indicating the special regulations must be conspicuously posted in and near all areas affected. Special regulations may not be established on any state highway as defined by section 1 of Title 19. Regulations on all state highways may be made only by the traffic committee under section 1003 of this title, except that the traffic committee may authorize the legislative body of a municipality to regulate parking within a thickly settled area of a municipality, particularly described in the authorization, on state highways. The board of school directors of a union high school district may make special regulations as to the operation, use, and parking of motor vehicles within the boundaries of its school property.

(b) The legislative body of a municipality may make special regulations as to the use of lights at night on motor vehicles at rest or in motion on well lighted streets.

(c) Municipal motor vehicle regulations shall not duplicate or contradict any provision of this title. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 13, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1008a. Regulation of motor vehicles at state airports

The secretary may adopt rules governing the operation, use, and parking of motor vehicles on the grounds of state airports, including the access roads. Signs indicating the special regulations shall be conspicuously posted in and near all areas affected. (Added 1993, No. 61, § 26, eff. June 3, 1993.)

§ 1009. Restrictions of controlled-access roadway

(a) The traffic committee by resolution or order entered in its minutes may regulate or prohibit the use of any controlled-access highway by any class or kind of traffic which is found to be incompatible with the normal and safe movement of traffic.

(b) The traffic committee adopting any such prohibition shall erect and maintain official traffic-control devices on the controlled-access highway on which such prohibitions are applicable and when these are in place, no person shall disobey the restrictions stated on such devices.

(c) The traffic committee may authorize the stopping of a school bus on a controlled-access highway to pick up or discharge passengers, except the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, if after a traffic and engineering study they determine that there is no viable alternative and that adequate safety, both for the passengers, school bus and other highway users, can be maintained. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1981, No. 9.)

§ 1010. Special occasions; town highway maintenance

(a) When it appears that traffic will be congested by reason of a public occasion or when a town highway is being reconstructed or maintained or where utilities are being installed, relocated, or maintained, the legislative body of a municipality may make special regulations as to the speed of motor vehicles, may exclude motor vehicles from town highways and may make such traffic rules and regulations as the public good requires. However, signs indicating the special regulations must be conspicuously posted in and near all affected areas, giving as much notice as possible to the public so that alternative routes of travel could be considered.

(b) Notwithstanding the limit established in subsection 2302(d) of this title, the penalty for violation of speed limits established under the work site provision of this section shall be twice the penalty for nonwork site speed violations. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1991, No. 15, § 2; 1997, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 2009, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 42.)

§ 1011. Applicability of this chapter

(a) The provisions of this chapter relating to the operation of motor vehicles apply to operation upon public highways only, except where a different place is specifically referred to.

(b) On duty enforcement officers are exempt from the speed limits established in accordance with sections 1003 and 1007 of this title, and fixed by section 1081 of this title. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1012. Obedience to enforcement officers

(a) A person, while operating or in charge of a motor vehicle shall, upon request by an enforcement officer who reasonably suspects that the person has committed or is committing a violation of this title, give his or her name and address and the name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle.

(b) The operator shall produce his or her operator's license and the registration certificate for the motor vehicle. If the operator does not have a valid Vermont operator's license or does not have the license on his or her person, the operator shall produce other suitable forms of identification. A person operating a motor vehicle shall promptly and carefully stop when signalled to stop by an enforcement officer wearing insignia which identifies the officer.

(c) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $1,250.00.

(d) A person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $250.00. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1989, No. 109, § 6, eff. July 1, 1990; 1999, No. 58, § 7.)

§ 1013. Authority of enforcement officers

Enforcement officers may make arrests for violation of this title, may direct, control and regulate traffic and make reasonable orders in enforcement of this title or to prevent or alleviate traffic congestion, property damage, or personal injury. No person may knowingly fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any enforcement officer. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1014. Persons riding animals

A person riding an animal or driving any animal-drawn vehicle upon a road is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle by this chapter except those provisions of this chapter which by their very nature can have no application. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1015. Authorized emergency vehicles

(a) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when responding to, but not returning from, a fire alarm and a law enforcement officer operating an authorized emergency vehicle in fresh pursuit of a suspected violator of the law:

(1) may park or stand contrary to the provisions of this chapter;

(2) may proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;

(3) shall come to a full stop when approaching a school bus which is flashing red lights and may proceed only when the flashing red lights are extinguished;

(4) may exceed the maximum speed limits;

(5) may disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.

(b) The exemptions granted to an authorized emergency vehicle apply only when the vehicle is making use of audible or visual signals meeting the requirements of this title.

(c) 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 or her reckless disregard for the safety of others.

(d) The operator of a school bus, upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle as described in subsection (a) of this section, shall take action immediately to get school children out of the public highway and to a safe place and shall thereafter extinguish the flashing red lights. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1981, No. 97, §§ 1, 2.)

§ 1016. Reports of arrests

Law enforcement officers who make arrests or issue citations for violations of this title shall forward a written report on forms prescribed and furnished by the Commissioners of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety and approved by the Attorney General with respect to any matter affecting the substantive rights of any person, to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 30 days after the arrest is made or the citation is issued. (Added 1975, No. 72, eff. April 18, 1975; amended 1981, No. 81, § 2, eff. May 5, 1981; 2009, No. 39, § 2.)

 

Sub-Chapter 2: Traffic Signs, Signals And Markings

§ 1021. Obedience to traffic-control devices

(a) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable to him or her placed in accordance with this chapter unless otherwise directed by an enforcement officer, subject to the exceptions granted in this chapter.

(b) No provision of this chapter for which signs are required may be enforced if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official sign is not in approximately proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. Whenever a particular section does not state that signs are required, the section is effective even though no signs are erected or in place.

(c) Whenever official traffic-control devices are placed in positions approximately conforming to this chapter the devices are presumed to have been placed by the official act or direction of lawful authority, unless the contrary is established by competent evidence.

(d) An official traffic-control device placed pursuant to this chapter and purporting to conform to the lawful requirements pertaining to the device is presumed to comply with this act, unless the contrary is established by competent evidence. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1022. Traffic-control signals

(a) Whenever traffic is controlled by traffic-control signals exhibiting different colored lights, or colored lighted arrows, successively one at a time or in combination, only the colors green, red, and yellow may be used, except for special pedestrian signals carrying a word legend, and the signals shall indicate and apply to drivers and pedestrians as follows:

(1) Green signal:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing a circular green signal may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a sign prohibits either turn. Vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right of way to other vehicles or to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or on an adjacent crosswalk at the time the signal is exhibited.

(B) Vehicular traffic facing a green arrow signal, shown alone or in combination with another signal, may cautiously enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by the arrow, or such other movement as is permitted by other signals shown at the same time. Vehicular traffic shall yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk or to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.

(C) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal, as provided in section 1023 of this title, pedestrians facing a green signal may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk, but not when the sole green signal is a turn arrow.

(2) Steady yellow signal:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing a steady yellow signal is thereby warned that the related green signal is being terminated or that a red signal will be exhibited immediately thereafter, when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection.

(B) Pedestrians facing a steady yellow signal, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in section 1023 of this title, are advised that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway before a red signal is shown, and no pedestrian shall then start to cross the roadway.

(3) Steady red signal:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.

(B) Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, vehicular traffic facing any steady red signal may cautiously enter the intersection to turn right, or to turn left from a one way street into a one way street, after stopping as required by subdivision (A) of this subdivision. This traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection. No motorist shall turn right when facing a red arrow signal indication unless a regulatory sign is present which permits this movement.

(C) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in section 1023 of this title, pedestrians facing a steady red signal alone shall not enter the roadway.

(b) If an official traffic-control signal is erected and maintained at a place other than an intersection, this section is applicable except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application. Any stop required shall be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating where the stop is to be made, but in the absence of any sign or marking the stop shall be made at the signal. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1975, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), eff. Feb. 25, 1976; 1977, No. 8; 2007, No. 75, § 28.)

§ 1023. Pedestrian-control signals

Whenever special pedestrian-control signals exhibiting the words "Walk" or "Don't Walk" are in place the signals indicate as follows:

(1) "Walk": pedestrians facing the signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right of way by all drivers.

(2) "Don't Walk": no pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has begun his or her crossing on the "Walk" signal shall proceed to a sidewalk or a safety island while the "Don't Walk" signal is showing. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1024. Flashing signals

(a) Whenever a flashing red or yellow signal is used in a traffic sign or signal it requires obedience by vehicular traffic as follows:

(1) Flashing red: When a red lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes, drivers shall stop before entering the nearest crosswalk at an intersection or at a limit line when marked, or, if there are none, before entering the intersection, and the right to proceed is subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign.

(2) Flashing yellow: When a yellow lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes, drivers of vehicles may proceed through the intersection or past the signal only with caution.

(b) This section does not apply to railroad grade crossings. Conduct of drivers approaching railroad grade crossings is governed by sections 1071, 1072, and 1073 of this title.

(c) This section does not apply to operators of vehicles encountering school buses. Conduct of drivers encountering school buses is governed by section 1075 of this title. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1025. Standards

(a) The United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for streets and highways as amended shall be the standards for all traffic control signs, signals, and markings within the State. The latest revision of the MUTCD shall be adopted upon its effective date except in the case of projects beyond a preliminary state of design that are anticipated to be constructed within two years of the otherwise applicable effective date; such projects may be constructed according to the MUTCD standards applicable at the design stage. Existing signs, signals, and markings shall be valid until such time as they are replaced or reconstructed. When new traffic control devices are erected or placed or existing traffic control devices are replaced or repaired the equipment, design, method of installation, placement, or repair shall conform with the MUTCD.

(b) The standards of the MUTCD shall apply for both State and local authorities as to traffic control devices under their respective jurisdiction.

(c) Traffic and control signals at intersections with exclusive pedestrian walk cycles shall be of sufficient duration to allow a pedestrian to leave the curb and travel across the roadway before opposing vehicles receive a green light. Determination of the length of the signal shall take into account the circumstances of persons with ambulatory handicaps. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1975, No. 26; 1985, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2009, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 33.)

§ 1026. Lane control signals

When lane direction control signals are placed over the individual lanes of a street or highway, vehicular traffic shall travel in any lane over which there is a green signal, but may not enter or travel in any lane over which there is a red signal. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1027. Unauthorized signs, signals or markings

(a) No person shall place, maintain or display upon or in view of any highway any unauthorized sign, signal, marking, or device which is an imitation of or resembles an official traffic-control device or railroad sign or signal, or which attempts to direct the movement of traffic, or which obscures or interferes with the effectiveness of an official traffic-control device or any railroad sign or signal.

(b) No person shall place or maintain upon any highway, nor may any public authority permit upon any highway, any traffic sign or signal bearing thereon any commercial advertising, except as otherwise provided in chapter 21 of Title 10.

(c) This section shall not be deemed to prohibit the erection upon private property adjacent to highways of signs giving useful directional information and of a type that cannot be mistaken for official signs, nor shall this provision affect any right or obligation created or recognized under chapter 21 of Title 10.

(d) Every prohibited sign, signal or marking is a public nuisance, and the agency of transportation may remove it or cause it to be removed without notice. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1028. Interference with devices or signals

No person shall, without lawful authority, alter or attempt to alter, deface, injure, knock down, or remove any official traffic-control device or any railroad sign or signal or any inscription, shield or insignia thereon, or any part thereof. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1029. Municipal signs

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 1025 and 1027 of this title, municipalities may erect alternative signs of a guidance or informational nature and creative design, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision 494(13) of Title 10, to assist persons in reaching destinations that are transportation centers, geographic districts, historic monuments, and significant or unique educational, recreational or cultural landmarks. (Added 1991, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

 

Sub-Chapter 3: Use Of Roadway

§ 1031. Driving to right

(a) Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:

(1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;

(2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;

(3) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or

(4) Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.

(b) Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(c) Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by official traffic-control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under subdivision (a)(2) of this section. However, this subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting the crossing of the center line in making a left turn into or from an intersecting highway, an alley, private road or driveway when authorized. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1032. Passing vehicles proceeding in opposite directions

Drivers of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right, and upon roadways having width for not more than one line of traffic in each direction, each driver shall give to the other at least one-half of the main-traveled portion of the roadway as nearly as possible. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1033. Passing motor vehicles and vulnerable users

(a) Passing motor vehicles. Motor vehicles proceeding in the same direction may be overtaken and passed only as follows:

(1) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking another motor vehicle proceeding in the same direction may pass to its left at a safe distance, and when so doing shall exercise due care, shall not pass to the left of the center of the highway unless the way ahead is clear of approaching traffic, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken motor vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking motor vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of his or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

(b) Passing vulnerable users. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching or passing a vulnerable user as defined in subdivision 4(81) of this title shall exercise due care, which includes increasing clearance, to pass the vulnerable user safely, and shall cross the center of the highway only as provided in subdivision (a)(1) of this section. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 2009, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

§ 1034. Passing on the right

(a) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only as follows:

(1) When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;

(2) Upon a street or highway of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in one or more directions and with unobstructed pavement not occupied by parked vehicles; or

(3) Upon a one-way street, or upon any roadway on which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement, where the roadway is free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles.

(b) In no event may a vehicle be passed by driving off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the roadway. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1035. Limitations

(a) No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless authorized by the provisions of this chapter and unless the left side is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit overtaking and passing to be completed without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or of any vehicle overtaken. In every event the overtaking vehicle shall return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and, if the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within 200 feet of any approaching vehicle.

(b) A vehicle shall not pass another from the rear under any of the following conditions:

(1) When approaching or upon the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the highway where the driver's view is in any way obstructed;

(2) When approaching within 100 feet of, or traversing, any intersection or railroad grade crossing unless otherwise indicated by official traffic control devices; or

(3) When the view is obstructed upon approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct or tunnel.

(c) The foregoing limitations do not apply upon a one-way roadway, or when subdivision 1031(a)(2) of this title applies, or where a vehicle is turning left into an alley, private road or driveway. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1995, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

§ 1036. No-passing zones

(a) The traffic committee is authorized to determine those portions of any highway under its jurisdiction where overtaking and passing or driving on the left side of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may, by appropriate signs indicate the beginning and end of the zones, and when the signs are in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person, every driver of a vehicle shall obey the directions.

(b) Where signs are in place to define a no-passing zone as set forth in subsection (a) of this section no driver shall at any time drive to the left of the center of the roadway within the no-passing zone.

(c) Restrictions imposed under this section do not apply when subdivision 1031(a)(2) of this title applies, or where a vehicle is turning left into an alley, private road or driveway. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1037. One-way roadways and rotaries

(a) The traffic committee may designate any highway or any separate roadway under its jurisdiction for one-way traffic and shall erect appropriate signs giving notice thereof.

(b) Upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic, a vehicle shall be driven only in the direction designated.

(c) A vehicle passing around a rotary traffic island shall be driven only to the right of the island. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1038. Driving on roadways laned for traffic

Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic, the following rules shall apply in addition to all others consistent therewith:

(1) A vehicle shall only be driven, as nearly as practicable, entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety.

(2) Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic, a vehicle may be driven in the center lane only when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction when the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for making a left turn or where the center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction that the vehicle is proceeding and the allocation is designated by official traffic-control devices.

(3) Official traffic-control devices may be erected directing specified traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of the signs.

(4) Official traffic-control devices may be installed prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of these devices. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1039. Following too closely, crowding, and harassment

(a) The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon, and the conditions of, the highway. The operator of a vehicle shall not, in a careless or imprudent manner, approach, pass, or maintain speed unnecessarily close to a vulnerable user as defined in subdivision 4(81) of this title, and an occupant of a vehicle shall not throw any object or substance at a vulnerable user.

(b) The driver of any vehicle, when traveling upon a roadway outside a business or residential district and which is following another vehicle shall, whenever conditions permit, leave sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy the space without danger, except that this shall not prevent a vehicle from overtaking and passing any other vehicle.

(c) Vehicles being driven upon any roadway in a caravan or motorcade, other than a funeral procession, shall be so operated as to allow sufficient space between each vehicle or combination of vehicles so as to enable any other vehicle to enter and occupy the space without danger. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 2009, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)

§ 1040. Driving on divided highways

Whenever any highway is divided into two or more roadways by leaving an intervening space or by a physical barrier or clearly indicated dividing section so constructed as to impede vehicular traffic, every vehicle may be driven only upon the right-hand roadway unless directed or permitted to use another roadway by official traffic-control devices or police officers. No vehicle shall be driven over, across or within any dividing space, barrier or section. A vehicle may be driven through an opening in a physical barrier or dividing section or space or at a crossover or intersection as established, unless specifically prohibited by public authority. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1041. Restricted access roadways

No person may drive a vehicle onto or from any controlled-access roadway except at entrances and exits established by public authority. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973.)

§ 1042. Restricting the use of town highways

(a) The legislative body of a municipality may, with the approval of the Secretary of Transportation, designate highways and bridges under their control, except for class 1 town highways, for use by specified types of motor vehicles based on volume and type of traffic and character of the neighborhood. However, when the legislative body of a municipality requests in writing, the Secretary of Transportation may set the weight limit on a class 1 town highway at less than the State highway limit under section 1392 of this title, if a reasonable alternative route is available for those vehicles traveling at the State highway limit. When a highway or bridge has been so restricted, signs shall be placed in accordance with the provisions of section 1397 of this title.

(b) In making the determination as to whether a reasonable alternative route is available, the Secretary of Transportation shall, at a minimum, consider the following factors:

(1) Whether the alternative routing will reduce or relieve traffic congestion in a downtown area.

(2) Whether the alternative routing will enhance safety.

(3) The length of the alternative route, and any increase in time made necessary by use of the alternative route.

(4) Whether an adverse effect has been created relative to the quiet enjoyment and property values of people living along the alternative route.

(c) Any decision of the Secretary made under this section may be appealed, in writing, to the Transportation Board within 30 days of the Secretary's decision. The Transportation Board shall decide the question within 45 days of receipt of the appeal, and may take evidence or testimony.

(d) [Repealed.]  (Added 1989, No. 121, § 20b, eff. June 22, 1989; amended 1995, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1999, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 2007, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 63.)