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4 Situations Where Passing Other Vehicles Is Reckless Driving in Virginia


There are many forms of reckless driving in the Virginia Criminal Code. There is a general rule against this type of conduct on the roads, prohibiting harmful and dangerous operation of vehicles. In addition, Virginia reckless driving charges can apply to the passing or overtaking of other vehicles.

As a reminder, any person who commits reckless driving in Virginia can face Class 1 misdemeanor or Class 6 felony charges. Although the exact nature of punishment can vary based on the circumstances of the offense, reckless driving offenders can face jail or prison time, criminal fines, and driver’s license suspension or revocation.

Having covered the potential consequences for a violation, the following sections will explore four situations where passing another vehicle in Virginia can result in criminal charges for reckless driving.

  1. Passing a Stopped School Bus

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-859 makes it illegal to pass or overtake any school bus that is picking up or dropping off:

  • Children;
  • Elderly individuals; or
  • Disabled individuals.

Section 46.2-859 does allow passing a stopped school bus on certain divided highways, access roads, and driveways. But this exception only applies if the driver and school bus are separated by a physical barrier or unpaved area.

It is important to note that Section 46.2-859 only applies to school buses that satisfy official regulations, including but not limited to:

  • Yellow paint;
  • Warning devices; and
  • The words “School Bus” in black letters of at least eight inches high on the front and rear.
  1. Passing at a Railroad Crossing

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-858 makes it unlawful to pass or overtake any other vehicle traveling in the same direction at any:

  • Railroad grade crossings; or
  • Intersection of highways.

But Section 46.2-854 does permit a driver to pass or overtake in these situations on:

  • Highways with multiple lanes for each direction of travel;
  • Intersections designated as passing zones; or
  • Designated one-way roads or highways.
  1. Passing Several Vehicles at Once

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-856 makes it illegal to pass or overtake several vehicles at the same time. But Section 46.2-856 does contain exceptions that include:

  • Traveling on a highway with three or more lanes for each direction of travel;
  • Driving on designated one-way roads or highways; or
  • Passing multiple bicycles, electric mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, or mopeds.
  1. Passing at Crest or Curve

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-854 makes it unlawful to pass or overtake other vehicles when a driver’s view is obstructed while on or approaching:

  • The crest of a grade; or
  • A curve in the highway.

But Section 46.2-854 does permit a driver to pass on or approaching crests and curves  if traveling on a:

  • Highway with multiple lanes for each direction of travel; or
  • Designated one-way roads or highways.

Do You Need Legal Help?

The Leesburg reckless driving lawyers at Simms Showers LLP are prepared to assist you with your case. Reach out to us today for help.

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Contact the Leesburg, Winchester & Loudoun County Attorneys of Simms Showers LLP today

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