A. Upon presentation of a toll pass issued pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Board, the following persons may use all toll bridges, toll ferries, toll tunnels, and toll roads in the Commonwealth without the payment of toll while in the performance of their official duties:
17. Operators of (i) commuter buses having a capacity of 20 or more passengers, including the driver, and used to regularly transport workers to and from their places of employment and (ii) public transit buses;
B. Notwithstanding the provision of subsection A requiring presentation of a toll pass for toll-free use of such facilities, in cases of emergency and circumstances of concern for public safety on the highways of the Commonwealth, the Department of Transportation shall, in order to alleviate an actual or potential threat or risk to the public’s safety, facilitate the flow of traffic on or within the vicinity of the toll facility by permitting the temporary suspension of toll collection operations on its facilities.
2. Major incidents that may require the temporary suspension of toll collection operations shall include (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) other incidents deemed to present a risk to public safety.
3. In any judicial proceeding in which a person is found to be criminally responsible or civilly liable for any incident resulting in the suspension of toll collections as provided in this subsection, the court may assess against the person an amount equal to lost toll revenue as a part of the costs of the proceeding and order that such amount, not to exceed $ 2,000 for any individual incident, be paid to the Department of Transportation for deposit into the toll road fund.
C. Any tollgate keeper who refuses to permit the persons listed in subsection A to use any toll bridge, toll ferry, toll tunnel, or toll road upon presentation of such a toll pass is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $ 50 and not less than $ 2.50. Any person other than those listed in subsection A who exhibits any such toll pass for the purpose of using any toll bridge, toll ferry, toll tunnel, or toll road is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
D. Any vehicle operated by the holder of a valid driver’s license issued by the Commonwealth or any other state shall be allowed free use of all toll bridges, toll roads, and other toll facilities in the Commonwealth if:
2. The driver of the vehicle has been certified, either by a physician licensed by the Commonwealth or any other state or by the Adjudication Office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as being severely physically disabled and having permanent upper limb mobility or dexterity impairments that substantially impair his ability to deposit coins in toll baskets;
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 the Commonwealth. The Department of Transportation shall provide envelopes for payments of tolls by those persons exempted from tolls pursuant to this subsection and shall accept any payments made by such persons.
F. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections A, B, and C, only the following persons may use the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, facilities of the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or facilities of an operator authorized to operate a toll facility pursuant to the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.) without the payment of toll when necessary and incidental to the conduct of official business:
G. Any vehicle operated by a quadriplegic driver shall be allowed free use of all toll facilities in Virginia controlled by the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority, pursuant to the requirements of subdivisions D 1 through 4.
H. Vehicles transporting two or more persons, including the driver, may be permitted toll-free use of the Dulles Toll Road during rush hours by the Board; however, notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision B 1 of § 56-543, said vehicles shall not be permitted toll-free use of a roadway as defined pursuant to the Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988 (§ 56-535 et seq.).
Code 1950, § 33-11; 1952, c. 572; 1970, cc. 322, 415, § 33.1-252; 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; 2014, cc. 469, 805; 2015, cc. 256, 502, 503.