Massachusetts Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

Many vehicles are required to display emergency lights in the State of Massachusetts. State laws describe the different colored lights that certain vehicles are required to use, based on their positions. There are also guidelines on where to place the warning light on the car, and when the lights are permitted to be switched on and used. It is necessary for the vehicles listed below to conform to the following Massachusetts State statutes.

Police Lights

Massachusetts State Statute 90-7E () provides for the display of blue and red emergency lights by police cars. Police cars and trucks are allowed to mount a red light which flashes or rotates in the reverse direction the police vehicle is traveling from.

Inside the police department there are many vehicles that are allowed to display blue police lights that oscillate or flash. Any city or state police vehicle that is used exclusively within the state for law enforcement purposes, including transporting those arrested or in custody, can mount blue lights. This section of the law also includes departments of the railroad police or college and university police departments in cases where the officers have been appointed as special state police officers.

In addition, a police officer from any city or agency within the state may request that their registered vehicle be equipped with blue lights and used in an official capacity. The police chief of the officer or the agency head must authorize the use of the lights, and the permit must be issued by the town registrar. Police commissioners, police chaplains, and medical examiners and doctors who meet the same stipulations may also apply for a permit to display blue lights on their cars. The permit must be carried at all times and easily accessed during vehicle operation. Only when responding to an emergency can the lights be activated, and permission to have and use the lights can be revoked if the duties change or the rules for use are not observed.

Fire Truck Lights

By statute 90-7E of Massachusetts, any fire apparatus may display an oscillating or flashing red light, as well as a blue light turning in the reverse direction the fire truck is traveling. In addition, a vehicle owned by fire department staff may be equipped with red lights and used for fire and emergency response. This includes vehicles owned by the chief or deputy chief, a fire chaplain, or any other fire department member of a city. These lights are only allowed to show when the vehicle’s driver is authorized to respond to a fire or an alarm.

To mount red lights on these vehicles, the fire chief has to submit the proper application to the town registrar. The vehicle operator will then be issued a licence. If the firefighter driving the vehicle is not the person to whom the vehicle is registered, the owner must send a written notice to the registrar stating their knowledge that the emergency light will be appended to their vehicle prior to issuance of the permit.

At times when a person is operating the vehicle with the engaged red fire truck lights, they must have on hand the aforementioned permit in an easily accessible location to produce when requested. When the vehicle’s driver no longer fulfills the requirements to own the red lights on their vehicle, the fire chief will notify the registrar and the permit will be revoked. In addition, the registrar may revoke the permit at any time when either the police or the fire chief submits a written request for the town in which the permit was valid. In an unauthorized situation, the registrar can also nullify the permit if the operator activates the lights, and a fine could be levied on the driver.

Volunteer Fire Fighter Lights

Volunteer firefighters can apply for Massachusetts State Statute 90-7E equipping their vehicles with emergency lights. These firefighters can apply to mount red lights flashing or oscillating onto their vehicles. The town’s fire chief must give authorization to the municipal registrar to issue the permit. If the vehicle is registered with someone other than a volunteer firefighter, the owner must send a written acknowledgement to the registrar that they allow the emergency light to be mounted on top of their vehicle.

Volunteer fire fighter lights are only allowed for use when a fire or other emergency occurs. These drivers must keep the permit handy when their vehicle is being operated with the lights activated. The permission to display the lights may be revoked if the rules for use are not followed, or if the individual’s duties change or cease.

Ambulance Lights

Any Massachusetts state ambulance can display flashing or oscillating red lights per 90-7E statute. Blue lights are not allowed to be displayed at ambulances.

An emergency response call member may also apply for red lights to have their personal car equipped. The head of the department must authorize the need to mount the lights on the vehicle, and must be approved by the town registrar. When the person is operating the vehicle, the permit, once received, must be kept handy. Also, the lights are only allowed when responding to an emergency. Privileges for using the light may be withdrawn if the emergency responder no longer requires the use of.

Ambulance Lights

Any Massachusetts state ambulance can display flashing or oscillating red lights per 90-7E statute. Blue lights are not allowed to be displayed at ambulances.

An emergency response call member may also apply for red lights to have their personal car equipped. The head of the department must authorize the need to mount the lights on the vehicle, and must be approved by the town registrar. When the person is operating the vehicle, the permit, once received, must be kept handy. Also, the lights are only allowed when responding to an emergency. Privileges for using the light can be revoked if the emergency responder no longer requires the use of the lights, or if the rules for using the light are breached.

Tow Truck Lights

According to state statute 540 CMR 22.00, a person or garage that provides motorist assistance is allowed to display emergency vehicle lights. A tow truck with an oscillating, rotating, or flashing amber light can be fitted out. When the truck is actively engaged in a tow the lights should be in use. The trucks require permission to display the amber lights which should always be carried with the driver.

Construction Vehicle Lights

Building vehicles are permitted to display amber lights that rotate, flash, or oscillate when in use according to state statute 540 CMR 22.00. The lights should be displayed in the best interests of public safety, when the vehicle is moving slowly or parked on a road or highway. A permit is required to display the amber lights, and the permit should always be kept at hand with the vehicle’s operator.

Utility Vehicle Lights

Massachusetts state statute 540 CMR 22.00 allows flashing or rotating amber light to be displayed by utility vehicles. This applies to both city or state owned public utility vehicles, or private company owned vehicles. When the vehicle responds to an emergency, or provides service or repair, the lights should be activated. A permit is required to display the amber lights, and should be carried with the operator whenever the vehicle is driven.

Pilot Vehicle Light

Pursuant to Statute 700 CMR 7.07(4)(d), pilot vehicles for oversized loads must display two flashing amber lights visible from the front and rear. The pilot car should also be equipped with 2 red flags measuring 24 inches square, mounted at the car’s left and right rear. A sign reading “over-sized load” must be mounted onto the pilot vehicle as well.

Security Vehicle Lights

Vehicles providing security services are allowed to display oscillating or flashing amber lights per state statute 540 CMR 22.00. That includes vehicles for private home security as well as private detective and security agencies. Only when the vehicle is on its way to respond to a safety emergency should the lights be engaged. The display of amber lights requires a permit and should be kept on hand and easily accessible whenever the vehicle is driving.

Permits

Allows All personal vehicles that apply for a red, blue or amber light permit must do so through the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Registry. The application is not on the website, and must be completed and submitted in person. Additionally, when visiting the RMV, applicants should be sure to bring any necessary documentation or permissions that they may require to obtain the permit.

There are strict laws in the State of Massachusetts regarding the use of emergency vehicle lights. Depending on their role, vehicles may only display specifically colored lights. Additionally, the use of rotating, oscillating, or strobe lights on personal vehicles must be expressly allowed. Almost all lights require permits to be granted and transported with the operator, so it is important to know the laws surrounding emergency lights.

For more information on what lights are available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 508-820-2300

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