Official Location based warning law discussion thread

Newberry13

Senior Member
Not that I've seen based on legal requirement. The only place I know of that used it, outside of California, was Multnomah County sheriff's department back when they ran twinsonics. Others may be able to chime in with more.
 

Marc M

Member
Are volunteer firefighters allowed lights and sirens in New Mexico? I found through Google that red is the official emergency color for Leo, FD, and EMS. But nothing about POVs.
 

firebuff17

Member
My city PD uses steady red. One in the bar and one on the PB (same side of car). Not a state statue just city preference
 

HILO

Forum Guru
California is the only State that has the steady burn red requirement.


The Dallas Police Department uses steady burn red and blue, but only on vehicles with Liberties. No law or rule, just lazy programing.
 

JazzDad

Just Another Faceless Member
Silver Supporter
In the newly created country of Jazzland, everything and anything goes.  The only law on the books regarding emergency warning devices is in the Transportation Judicial Code, Chapter IV, subtitle A, §2.11: "Any person who wilfully utilizes any lighting with a split-fail pattern on a personally owned vehicle, whether in motion or not, is in violation of the above stated code and shall be forcibly removed from his or her vehicle and summarily executed, and their vehicle destroyed to prevent further offense to the general public's well-being."
 

Skip Goulet

Passed Away
In Texas it is basically anything you want. Just don't look like a dang fool :suicide: . And also, in most places if you run blue and red you must have a siren. I hope these laws never change! Anyone pipe in :thumbsup:
Where in TX are you?  I've mentioned in this and a couple of other threads about DPS giving some vollies a bad time about having blue in conjunction with their reds, claiming that blue is reserved for law enforcement, which it isn't.   It was settled when my chief friend got a letter from DPS' public information office saying that there is no restriction on blue, other than blue alone not being allowed for running hot (although I've seen it done here and there).

Midland County for a while only allowed lights only until they found out that sirens are now required for Code 3 runs.
 

Phoenix_Rising

Resident Ghost
Gold Supporter
am i missin somethin, didnt this used to be pinned? how'd it get un-pinned?
 

HILO

Forum Guru
Where in TX are you?  I've mentioned in this and a couple of other threads about DPS giving some vollies a bad time about having blue in conjunction with their reds, claiming that blue is reserved for law enforcement, which it isn't.   It was settled when my chief friend got a letter from DPS' public information office saying that there is no restriction on blue, other than blue alone not being allowed for running hot (although I've seen it done here and there).

Midland County for a while only allowed lights only until they found out that sirens are now required for Code 3 runs.
Texas Transportation Code does not specify blue for LE only.  Red, blue, and clear are restricted lights, for use only by emergency vehicles (police, fire, EMS, including FD Volly POV' and LEO POV with department approval), and blue for TX-Dot and their sub contractors. All emergency vehicles must have a forward facing red light and siren to run code 3.  Any fire vehicle, paid or VFD POV can run red, blue, and clear, as well as sirens. As long as the vehicle has a forward facing red light, sire, and is operated by an authorized person, all colors are legal in Texas.  All over Texas. 
 
Texas Transportation Code does not specify blue for LE only.  Red, blue, and clear are restricted lights, for use only by emergency vehicles (police, fire, EMS, including FD Volly POV' and LEO POV with department approval), and blue for TX-Dot and their sub contractors. All emergency vehicles must have a forward facing red light and siren to run code 3.  Any fire vehicle, paid or VFD POV can run red, blue, and clear, as well as sirens. As long as the vehicle has a forward facing red light, sire, and is operated by an authorized person, all colors are legal in Texas.  All over Texas. 

Ive been with a couple of departments and blue was up to the discretion of the Chief. One said absolutely no blue, red and white only, one said he didnt care as long as you had 360 coverage. 
 

Skip Goulet

Passed Away
Texas Transportation Code does not specify blue for LE only.  Red, blue, and clear are restricted lights, for use only by emergency vehicles (police, fire, EMS, including FD Volly POV' and LEO POV with department approval), and blue for TX-Dot and their sub contractors. All emergency vehicles must have a forward facing red light and siren to run code 3.  Any fire vehicle, paid or VFD POV can run red, blue, and clear, as well as sirens. As long as the vehicle has a forward facing red light, sire, and is operated by an authorized person, all colors are legal in Texas.  All over Texas. 
Thanks, that's basically what I've been trying to say all along.   Once my friend's problem was settled, I haven't heard that much about it.

For several years the chief in West Odessa kept arguing with me that vollies couldn't run blue along with existing red.  I simply quit arguing the point. As long as they had red on their units, they were fine.  So when my friend got the letter from DPS saying that blue was o.k.  I gave the other chief a copy and now all his vollies are running blue along with red, but I wonder if that egg ever came off his face! :)
 

894

Site Veteran
Amber- Fair Game


Red- Required on all emergency vehicles, tow trucks and other non-emergency vehicles stationary on the road presenting a hazard to normal traffic


Green- Incident Command only, and only 1 per incident


Blue- Law Enforcement over passenger-side only. May also be used for Incident Command.


White- as secondary lighting on any emergency vehicle.


Siren- all authorized emergency vehicles


Pre-Emption- Opticom type systems are govt emergency vehicles only. Sonem type any emergency vehicle. GPS/Radio systems undefined


Authorized Emergency Vehicle- All govt owned emergency vehicles and volunteers. Volunteers require no permit or individual authorization, but departments need to get blanket ok from municipality


I'll try and dig the statutory references later
Amber is NOT fair game. NO vehicles are allowed any type of flashing warning lamps of any color unless that vehicle is specified by state statute as being required to flash a warning lamp. S/S Ch.347.07(2)©

Are warning lamps mis/over-used in WI? All the time!
 
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vonirkinshtine

Site Regular
A question to all you pro installers/upfitters with demo cars: how do you deal with the legality of red/blue lights?  Most demos I've seen are clearly marked to distinguish them as non-emergency vehicles, but is that enough?  Do you have an understanding or agreement with local law enforcement so that they know who you are and that you're not trying to impersonate?  Is it enough to trust your employees to not activate the stuff when on a public road?
 

Jamey@NNE

Silver Supporter
I have kill switches on mine. And I've only had 2 problems one was a deputy that stopped me as I was sitting in a parking lot at night about to head home. He said they had a black cvpi try to pull someone over and what color my lights where and pointed at my dash light (guess he missed the pb lights, Interior bar, mirror lights, runners, etc.) I told him r/b and told him my business and handed him a card. He told me to light the dash light up and I asked if he was sure and he told me yes do it. Well about .5 of a second he was yelling to turn them off it obviously wasent me.

The second I got pulled over for tint at night in my neighborhood but he just asked what color the lights where and I told him same as his and told him my business and pointed at the "demo unit" on the side of the car. He gave me a tint ticket.
 

jph2

Senior Member
The Michigan Vehicle Code includes an exemption from restrictions on light colors for sellers/manufacturers/repairers:

(k) A person engaged in the manufacture, sale, or repair of flashing, rotating, or oscillating lights governed by this subsection may possess the lights for the purpose of employment, but shall not activate the lights upon the highway unless authorized to do so under subsection (6).
 

Sparky_911

Member
Gold Supporter
In my rig I set up things using only the colors I'm allowed to use for running calls, eliminates any confusion or legality issues.  The only new stuff I deal in is Feniex so if someone wants to see the different colors/types of lights I built a 'demo board'.  Granted I can't demo a full color interior bar but most folks see how bright a single head is and purchase on that alone.

IL has a provision in the IVC for the same as jph2 posted above.  The one company in my county that sells quantities of lights (among other fire/ems stuff)  has a demo Expedition with full bar, grilles, and interior (front/side/rear).  Its got the company logo on both front doors, rear side glass and rear gate/glass.  Plus "DEMO VEHICLE" in 4 inch letters on the back and both front fenders.  Its also maroon/gold so there's no mistaking it for an imposter/whacker.
 

buddek09

Premium Member
Our demo car is a Dodge Dart that's marked and has a disconnect switch with a removable key and the controller is stored under the passenger seat. We have Feniex lights so when off you can't tell they are red/blue, it looks more like a road side assistance car. Only the employees we trust have access to the car, the keys are kept in a lock box, and they know the consequences of what will happen if they get caught with the lights on going down the road.
 

jswwjw

Member
A friend of mine who owns a very large (look them up on line) emergency vehicle installation company in Florida has several demo vehicles; he keeps a copy of his business license and the copy of the FL state statue in his vehicles.  It's better now that most of his lights are clear lenses.  It was hell when they were obviously red/blue bars.  Just a thought.  StrobesRUs.com BTW.  Huge installation facility in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. 
 

ffjwhite

Registered Member
Visiting a friend in Pittsburg and I got pulled over while taking the family to the zoo. The trooper pulled me over because he stated only police are allowed to have interior lights. I have a full visor light and 2 dual lights in the rear. I am also in a 2009 red chevy impala and with nys volunteer fireman's plates. Now the trooper stated that only police can have then because of of impersonators. Trooper was a dick from the time he pulled me over till he let me go. Also stated that he would even impound my car until a judge released the car. Now I used to have an all blue liberty on the car. I took it off for the winter and put in the interior lights thinking I would be safe. Any help understanding this would be greatly appreciated.
 

MtnMan

Senior Member
Although enforcement varies widely, the trooper is correct. 

67 Pa. Code § 173. FLASHING OR REVOLVING LIGHTS ON EMERGENCY AND AUTHORIZED VEHICLES

173.3 (b) Mounting location. The following applies to mounting locations for flashing or revolving lights:

(3) Authorized vehicles.
(i) Flashing or revolving lights may be permanently mounted on the vehicle or attached to a mounting device, in the following locations only:
(A) On a cab, cab protector or roof of the vehicle.
(B) No more than 18 inches above the highest fixed point of the vehicle.
(C) On the front or rear of the bed or body of an authorized vehicle.
(D) On the tailgate of an authorized vehicle.
(E) In a location other than as set forth in clauses (A)—(D) as needed to comply with the 360° requirement in subsection (b).
(ii) The installation or use of additional flashing or strobe lights in existing vehicular lighting modules/assemblies, such as headlights, parking lights, taillights, is expressly prohibited.

http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/067/chapter173/chap173toc.html
 

Stampeed Valkyrie

Senior Member
Silver Supporter
I find this interesting..

I don't actively run anymore so I have NO lighting on my ride.. however..  

There are 2 to 3 vol companies within a stones throw of me that have essentially given the order to stop using exterior or roof mounted lighting or started instructing its membership to begin transitioning to interior lights.. either dash or visor mounted.

If I was in your shoes I would have gotten the officers information, name, Troop etc. etc thanked him and followed up on this at  a later time.

This seems to directly contradict with the law as I am reading it.     :undecided:
 
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NPS Ranger

Veteran Member
There's a load of old posts on here regarding the updated PA lighting regs.  About 80% of the vollies in this area would be considered illegal under the current rules, but nobody seems to care much.  For "authorized vehicles" i.e. blue lighters, any and all interior mounted lights are illegal, as well as any aftermarket lighting in headlights, tail lights, turn signals etc.  If you meet the definition of an "emergency vehicle" i.e. chiefs etc, you get more latitude with red/white as well as HLF, but still no interior lights.

In any given area the local responders & LE usually work together enough that people learn who is who, and if you're acting professionally in your volunteer role and driving safely, then a few extra-legal blue lights are generally ignored.  If you drive through red traffic signals or look like a blinding blue Christmas tree, then you're probably going to get jacked up.  Remember, blue lighters are limited to TWO blue lights on the vehicle (or one lightbar), and one of those lights must be visible from 360 degrees.

The risk is that you'll eventually meet up with a newly graduated trooper who doesn't know you and has the regs fresh in his or her mind.  Since they're only courtesy lights anyway, in the long run it's easier to just keep it legal.

With all that being said, if your vehicle is registered in NY and you're authorized to have the lights in NY, and you're driving in a neighboring state which allows the exact same color for vollies, and your lights are off, I don't think you'd have too much difficulty in getting a citation dismissed.
 

paff2

Member
Well imho he had no grounds to do any ticketing or anything or he would have. He was very likely either a new trooper or had an axe to grind against vollies.

What amused me about the PA lighting law is that the State Police just a few years ago discovered they themselves were illegal according to the 360 law. Baha what a joke the law is.
 

ffjwhite

Registered Member
Yeah this trooper looked like he has been on the force for a while. He did give me a written warning for the lights though. I mean I have volly plates also. Weird thing was is he even had me turn them in to make sure the lights were blue and asked me is I had a siren. Didn't ask for my department ID either. I just think the whole thing was messed up.
 

kitn1mcc

Veteran Member
Your an out of state vehicle.   and legal in the state you registered i do not see how they can regulate things in that manner for out of state vehicles
 

vonirkinshtine

Site Regular
Here's what the NC vehicle code says about blue lights:

NCGS 20-130.1 said:
(c)        It is unlawful for any person to possess a blue light or to install, activate, or operate a blue light in or on any vehicle in this State, except for a publicly owned vehicle used for law enforcement purposes or any other vehicle when used by law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties. As used in this subsection, unless the context requires otherwise, "blue light" means any forward facing blue light installed on a vehicle after initial manufacture of the vehicle; or an operable blue light which:

(1)        Is not (i) being installed on, held in inventory for the purpose of being installed on, or held in inventory for the purpose of sale for installation on a vehicle on which it may be lawfully operated or (ii) installed on a vehicle which is used solely for the purpose of demonstrating the blue light for sale to law enforcement personnel;

(c1)        The provisions of subsection (c) of this section do not apply to the possession and installation of an inoperable blue light on a vehicle that is inspected by and registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles as a specially constructed vehicle and that is used primarily for participation in shows, exhibitions, parades, or holiday/weekend activities, and not for general daily transportation. For purposes of this subsection, "inoperable blue light" means a blue-colored lamp housing or cover that does not contain a lamp or other mechanism having the ability to produce or emit illumination.
 The same considerations are not explicitly stated for red lights or sirens.
 
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jsfalls1234

Junior Member
Hello all, hopefully I posted this in the right section.  I recently started a job at a repair facility where I occasionally go out to help someone stranded on the road or side of the freeway with things such as flat tires, out of gas, etc etc. (We are an auto repair facility, but we don't have wreckers or service trucks).

I would like to get some sort of warning light to make me more visible, especially on the side of the freeway. Our boss gave us traffic cones to put out but that doesn't seem like a very great option when we have to get next to/on the street to set them up while trying to dodge traffic.

So my question is, if I used something like an amber or amber/white decklight in the rear window, would this be legal in WA state? basically all i've found is that it is legal for warning/construction vehicles, so if i'm doing something like changing somebody's tire on the side of the street, would I be considered a "warning" vehicle? 

Thanks in advance!
 

vpogv

Registered Member
Dig around the WA revised code - WAC 204-21-230 states that flashing white lights are prohibited unless you're a tow truck.  RCW 46.37.215 seems to cover the factory hazards but says it's ok to have lamps.  It seems as though Amber is fine but white isn't in this case.  Any doubt call your local PD and ask them their view.
 

PJD642

Premium Member
Gold Supporter
Your an out of state vehicle.   and legal in the state you registered i do not see how they can regulate things in that manner for out of state vehicles
This.  Ohio requires a front plate, lots of other states do not.  It's an equipment violation.  I can't cite people from Michigan or NY for not having front plates when they drive through Ohio.

I'd say get some Apollo dual color heads & when asked, turn on the Amber instead of the emergency color but I'm pretty sure PA has stupid laws regulating Amber also.  It seems like a competition between PA, NY & NJ to see who can have the most f*ed up lighting laws, and the troopers get bonus points for citing people for stuff like that.
 

LANDJET

Registered Member
Massachusetts has pretty much the same laws as NC. The laws were not created when there was such a thing as Demo cars. 

We are a working Tow Company that sells Feniex and more over custom set ups. So were covered for Demo Feniex Warning Lights in Mostly Amber, few green here and there rarely white. I have mentioned it before how much trouble you could get in no matter your light color is dependent on how you engage traffic. Dont know if this answer is off subject, but if a Wrecker truck displays Amber mixed with white, well amber aint going to get you nothing, but white will get traffic to move over for you. Now a slow moving wrecker truck doesnt really engage traffic, but having the white alternating or doing whatever lights will get 80% of vehicles to react to moving over even at slow speeds in Mass. You dont see cops raising hell with towers because they are not engaging traffic like an emergency vehicle does in aggression, but there are a few hat get unwanted yet warranted attention! 

There as been no law that i know of passed here for white alternating lights, but im told the bill is before the judiciary because of a decade of wackers in old police cars and wannabe cops using them to pull people over and commit crimes. I believe this law is on the federal level, as is Red lights. Getting back to NC quick, Blue is used by your state and went and created such a law, but in Mass Blue lights are highly the biggest no no, but in fact the law is as the federal law in all states, RED is the top illegal in every state facing forward. Blue is a state only law, the Federal Government has never recognized Blue as an official color. getting back to Red, red can be displayed on wreckers facing the fron by state law choice over federal law in the North West states i think Oregon, Idaho, and maybe Washington im told. 

In Mass if you get caught with a blue facing any direction, your car is IMPOUNDED until removed, plus you get a form of impersonation charge, only a State Level Felony.  The Mass State police Commander for the DOT unit sais that a Demo vehicle engaging traffic would warrant the same fate minus removal of the equipment if it is in fact a legal business in the Commonwealth. The operator themselves would receive the max charges of impersonation and multi felony charges of the "your fucked" kind. But what is funny in Mass, Red lights are Fire Truck colors. If you get caught with Blue and not engaging traffic its just a ticket and impound until removed. But if you display red even parked, you will be executed on the spot lol. 

All Blue lights laws are state level only, in New York their Trash Trucks have Blue Lights! Their Snow Plows have Blue and Amber, their police is all Red. 

We recently built a Dodge Magnum in All Blue and Red lights, it makes the cop cars look silly with what we got on it. BUT we did like the State Police told us, in Bold Large Letters on the sides it sais " POLICE DEMONSTRATOR VEHICLE" Were not a huge sales place, even installing things gets "iffy" lol we love lights and do alot of What if or custom set ups suggestion for Police, Fire, EMS and Utility. We were hoping our new demonstrator car show well to the local agencies. 

Interesting though on this subject. One of the Company longest employees an older wrecker driver knows nothing about lights, he dont even know how to turn them on in his own truck, was driving the Demonstrator car and leaned on the Feniex 4200 in the center console. Drove around a city to post office, down town, running around doing errands, never thought why the center console was all red instead of green. He knew enough the 4200 has bright green lights when he drives it. He was turning the car on and off at every stop, (its wired to the ignition not to activate any power when its off).So hes turning the car on and off at every stop when he gets out theres nothing flashing (side note too, there is no internal flashing lights, we built the car to display everything on the outside and never to interfere with the driver which the cops are liking more and more these days). This guy drove the car around town for ours wondering why people were staring at him a few flipped him off but he said every light he pulled up to (traffic signal) th cars all moved aside but he wouldnt pass them, he was thinking he was not hearing a fire truck or not seeing a police car with no sirens on. He pulled into our parking lot with a crew of guys asking out loud "WTF is he doing?"  with a City police car and a State Trooper in tow with all their lights flashing. Guy had no clue they were behind him, they aid they had just started tailing him. Long story sort he cruising around and the Trooper noticed him, knew him and had an idea he had no clue the lights were flashing. Trooper told us he been all over town with the blue lights flashing and never engaged traffic and never got over 15 mph around town. He said the local PD and him have been having fun with his 1 car parade for at least an hour. They wouldve stopped him if he got on the highway. The trooper said he and the local cop decided to join his parade for the last 1/2 a mile. They said they couldn't stop laughing because they knew he had no idea the lights were on .

We thought about the set up for a bit and didnt realize ourselves. The lights re programmed on the new Feniex 4200 and although it is on the ignition. When you deactivate power like the ignition, all the push buttons will reset to off but the P slider will not. when he leaned ont eh panel he slid the P button to CODE 3 all the way right, every time he turned ignition off the lights went off, every time he cranked back up, they all came back on! Now we have an master override switch mount on the top of the dash lol.

The State Police told us that the car marked as it is, was perfect and somewhat indemnifies the company overall in the end from wrong doing. There will be no mercy for a person that operates the vehicle erratic and in Code Mode engaging traffic. I would assume, that the same would apply in any state with a properly marked Demo Unit. 
 

kitn1mcc

Veteran Member
Funny thing is there are a few unmarked whelen demo car's that regularly pass thru mass on a daily basis .   I also know a few FF from ct who have drive in mass with blue light bars and do not get arrested. 
 

DEAHEAT

New Member
Running green/amber in Florida for security. Had a case a few years ago and they couldn't ID security from the tow truck people.
 

Jarred J.

Archive Expert
Silver Supporter
this is how i engage traffic...

ai.ytimg.com_vi_T_lgScbZGlA_maxresdefault.jpg
 

Wolfie

Site Regular
To those using colors other than amber/clear on non-government vehicles, I pose questions.

1) Do you ever bring your vehicle to another state does not normally allow your color of lighting?

2) How do you handle it?

I know my state's allowing of blue lights for a wrecker does not fly next door in Arizona. Still, I have family there and there is always the possibility of running over there to grab a deal on a car. I know they make a cover that can go over a light bar and that it usually says "not in service." Still, I imagine on a long highway it would probably tatter like a tarp does in the back of a pickup on a long drive. Today I thought of something different. What if someone were to paint a spare set of domes, effectively blacking them out? You could even paint "NOT IN SERVICE" in a second color after you get the blackout part taken care of. In the case of my Blue MX7000 (see my profile pic), two blacked out domes could cover all the blue up for an occasional out of state trip. They can also be swapped at the state line without any tools, since this model uses clips. Going with a blackened dome instead of a flexible cover should also do better as far as fuel economy goes. Also, the rest of the light bar (ambers and whites) would still be usable if towing something in from a state that does not allow my blues. I could always just run the single center rotator (amber rear, white front), as well as making the arrowstik on the back flash. So I guess the short question to this long hypothetical situation is, is my idea of blacking out a spare set of domes practical? Please do chime in with thoughts and theories. I am particularly curious about former and current LEOs...would you leave an out of state service vehicle alone if they made an obvious and serious effort to conform to your local laws like this?

By the way, there are two big reasons I chose to go blue instead of amber for in-state use.

1) Blue grabs attention, yet is easy on your night vision.

2) By using blue, I am able to salvage about half the colored domes on a standard used police light bar.
 
I'm not sure what your question here is... If you change the domes out on a halogen rotator bar to a color that's legal in the state, then you wouldn't be doing anything illegal or sketchy at all.
If you still plan to run the flashers and center rotator, I'm assuming amber and white are legal for you to run in the state you're going to. If you're going to black out domes, why not just get a set of amber domes? Switch them out before you leave or at the border, and you wouldn't get questioned at all.
 

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