The average driver usually pays little attention to the height restrictions that are posted while driving on roadways, passing under bridges, or entering parking garages. Many of these height limits or restrictions are vitally important for the safety of all Virginia drivers on our roads and highways. When drivers of high-clearance vehicles fail to abide by height restrictions, tragic accidents can happen. A semi-truck driver’s over-height load caused a horrifying crash near Richmond, VA on Interstate 95 earlier this month, which resulted in one death, as well as serious property damage.
A recently published local news report has discussed the crash. According to the report, a semi truck carrying heavy-duty steel construction beams which were loaded on the truck over the legal height limit passed under a highway overpass on I-95. The beams struck the roadway overpass, damaging the road above, and were pushed off the semi-truck and onto the roadway. A septic tanker truck that was following behind the semi crashed into the beams, causing an explosion and overturning the vehicle. The driver of the septic truck perished in the crash and resulting fire.
Drivers of personal, commercial, industrial, and construction vehicles are required to follow state and federal regulations concerning the height of their vehicles and their loads. The Virginia Motor Vehicle Code Section 46.2-1110 places a limit of 13 feet 6 inches on any vehicle, whether loaded or unloaded, for legal operation on public roads in the state of Virginia. In areas where roads have overhead clearances of less than 14 feet, state or municipal authorities are required to place signage at least 1500 feet before the obstruction to notify drivers of the reduced height clearance. If a driver causes damage to a bridge or road feature by driving a vehicle that is over 13 feet 6 inches or failing to yield to signs denoting a more restrictive clearance limit, they will be held financially responsible for damages caused under the VA Motor Vehicle Code.