Kansas Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

Emergency response officers are an essential part of public safety. There are a variety of officials trained to respond when an emergency arises. A registered emergency vehicle is the primary method of transport. Various services are designed for responding to various types of emergencies. Often, the different emergencies require different warnings. In Kansas, state statutes specify the warning lights and sounds that various emergency vehicles must use.

Police Lights

The police vehicle codes are outlined in statute 8-1720(a) and 8-172-(b) of the Kansas state. Police vehicles can be used as an authorized vehicle for emergency response but this is not always the case. Police vehicles are required to use the following emergency vehicle lighting when responding to an emergency:

  • headlights that flash from low to high beams or from high to low beams to attract the attention of other motorists Signal lamps that flash red, each mounted on the vehicle’s roof or highest point, spaced far enough to provide 360 degree visibility
  • Alternatively, signal red. Regardless of the color of the light the signal must be apparent in all directions from at least 500 feet.

Firetruck Lights

Fire trucks qualify as an emergency vehicle approved. The vehicle must display flashing red lights when a fire truck is en route to or stationed at an emergency scene. The lamps have to be mounted to the highest point possible. To ensure 360 degree visibility one should be positioned on either side of the vehicle.

The lights have to be mounted to the same height. In the absence of flashing lights, a firetruck must have at least one rotating light mounted on its roof or at the highest possible point. This light has to flash red at both the front and back of the vehicle; if one side of the vehicle obscures the light, multiple lights have to be applied.

In normally sunlit conditions, any light emitted by a fire truck must be visible within 500 metres. The red warning lights on fire trucks are required by law. As per state statute 8-1720(a), it is optional for a firetruck to have headlights which can flash between high and low beam.

Volunteer Firefighter Lights

A private vehicle belonging to a volunteer firefighter may be designated as an authorized emergency vehicle according to state statute 8-2010a(4),. However, the owner of the vehicle must file a request with the county commissioner to do so.

According to state statute 8-2010, this vehicle may respond to applicable emergencies once the application has been submitted.

A volunteer firefighter’s vehicle must be registered to be used as an emergency vehicle, and the county clerk’s office must determine that use of the vehicle is necessary to preserve property or life. Designations are done in written form. Once the firefighter has received this designation, the identification papers should be placed in the car.

While a private vehicle is used as a vehicle for an emergency response, it is subject to the same light laws as other emergency vehicles. This means the driver has to mount a red light that flashes or rotates on their roof. It must be clear from a total of 500 feet to 360 degrees.

Ambulance Lights

Ambulances are subject to the same laws of light as those outlined in Statute 8-1720. These specifications are essentially the same as those applicable to fire trucks.

Tow Truck Lights

Under the Kansas state statute HB 378, tow trucks are covered by the “move over” law of the State. This law requires motorists passing over one lane for the safety of public service employees.

Statute 547.305> describes the requirement that a vehicle should be equipped with flashing lights. Section (d)(4) refers to tow trucks currently managed by law enforcement officials, either while hooking into a disabled vehicle or clearing an accident.

Tow trucks that have mounted light bars are also included, with both turn signals and stop lamps. The driver must be equipped with flashing lights although these lights should not be used unless they respond to a potential emergency.

Construction Vehicle Lights

No emergency vehicles are considered at construction sites. However, construction sites are subject to “move over” law by the state. The “move over” law requires passing vehicles to vacate a lane directly next to a construction site according to state statute 378.

Building vehicles must use both regular yellow and white headlights. They must also comply with all the requirements of headlights, including the stipulation that lights mounted above 42 inches cannot be pointed at a highway. If a construction vehicle needs to move along an in-use roadway, flashing headlights should either be displayed or an escort vehicle should have appropriate warnings.

Utility Vehicle Lights

Statute 8-2010a(b)(3) explains the possibility of designating utility vehicles as an authorized emergency vehicle. In order to be granted this designation, the utility company must submit an application with the office of their county commissioner. For volunteer firefighters it is the same procedure required.

Once the application has been approved, the designation paperwork must always be kept in the vehicle. Utility vehicles can use their emergency vehicle status only when responding to emergency situations. At this point they have to adhere to the protocol for emergency vehicles by displaying flashing or rotating red strobe lights. This is particularly important when the vehicle works in or very near the road with power lines.

Pilot Vehicle Lights

Pilot vehicles, also referred to as escort vehicles, are used to warn motorists of excessive load. If an oversized load is piloted, the state of Kansas requires two escort vehicles traveling on roads with less than 4 lanes for any width greater than 14 feet. Only one frontal escort vehicle is required for oversized loads greater than 14 feet and traveling on roads with 4 or more lanes. The exception would be if a supercharge were to be transported, in which case a rear escort is also needed.

All escorts must have the sign “Oversize Load.” The widest area of the load must have fluorescent flags in either red or or orange, with a minimum of 18 square inches of fabric. No special lights are needed as long as the flags are displayed correctly, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Security Vehicle Lights

The state of Kansas has no statutes that authorize emergency vehicle mall security. Legally, non-emergency safety vehicles must comply with the same rules an average motorist uses. The drivers must comply with all road rules, including the headlight regulations and the laws on “moving over.” Headlights should only be used with their high beams when there are no other vehicles within sight of the vehicle. They are not allowed to use emergency warning colors because these vehicles are not designated as emergency vehicles. Instead they will have standard beams of yellow or white headlight.

For more information on what lights are available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 785-296-3102

* Please note that these numbers are what we can currently find and may have changed since this listing.