Nebraska Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes
The state laws of Nebraska control the color lights used on emergency vehicles and other non-emergency vehicles when they operate during an emergency. The permissible light colors on approved emergency vehicles are blue, red, white and amber as specified by Legislative Bill 196. State legislature grants emergency response vehicles, as specified in Nebraska state statute 60-610, complete freedom to use their lights at any time during emergencies, statewide impending threat or while in active pursuit. This requires some combination of lighting lights, including combinations of rotating or blinking colors. This also leaves emergency vehicle lighting up to the emergency services or their respective departments whether to use this. Non-emergency vehicles are also required to follow protocols defined by their department.
State Statutes Emergency Vehicle Lights
Nebraska State Legislature Statute 61-6.231 states that when operating in the state at any time, police officers may display flashing and/or a rotation of red, white, or blue lights. This applies to both marked and unmarked Police Department vehicles.
Officers may also use their lights when responding to an active call or incident, without sirens or audible warning. The pattern or choice of lights used by the police is at the official’s discretion. This is a statewide rule enforced by precincts at the local, town, and state level. Police are also authorized to use their lights when conducting a funeral procession as set out in statute 61-6.231 of the State.
Officers, including peace officers, may bypass local speed, stop signs, and traffic lights as defined in Nebraska State Statute 60-6,114.2 Peace officers must obtain a permit to display and use lights legally (Nebraska State Statue 60-6,233). Allowances expire on 31 December of each year and have to be renewed. The chief or superior of the officer usually works out the paperwork required to keep officers legally in their precinct.
A rotating or flashing red light or a combination with a blue light (Nebraska state statue 60-6,233) may be used by officers en route to an active scene or call in their private vehicle if permitted.
Nebraska doesn’t distinguish between police departments in emergency situations and this includes peace officers. All cars are designated vehicles for emergency use.
The state allows fire trucks to use red or a combination of red and white flashing lights when responding to situations or active calls as set out in Statute 61-6.231. It’s not clear that sirens should be used. However, when returning from a call, they are not authorized to use lights (state statute 60-6,114.2), but firefighters are also exempted from most traffic laws while responding to an active call, such as speed limits, traffic lights and stop signals.
First responders employed by the fire department driving a public vehicle are allowed to use rotating or flashing red lights only when responding to calls (state statute 61-6.231).
If allowed by their department(Nebraska State Statue 60-6,233), firefighters en route to an active scene or call in their own vehicle may use a rotating or flashing red light or a combination with a blue light.
Volunteer Fire Trucks
Volunteer fire trucks, according to Nebraska State Statute 60-610, can use the same red or red and white flashing fire truck lights as fire trucks from paid fire departments. As with paid firefighters (state statutes 61-6.231 and 60-6,114.2), the same laws apply to volunteer firefighters and first responders. This includes leniency in emergency situations with the traffic laws.
In Nebraska, volunteer fire truck operators and first responder vehicles get a permit to display and use their lights legally (Nebraska state statue 60-6,232). Allowances expire on 31 December of each year and have to be renewed.
Volunteer firefighters en route to an active scene in their own vehicle may use a rotating or flashing red light or a blue light combination (Nebraska state statue 60-6,232) if permitted by their department.
In emergency situations, Nebraska with its emergency vehicle status does not distinguish between volunteer and paid firefighters or first responders.
Whether a stand-alone private company or a part of a fire department, EMS vehicles may use red, red and white or red, white and blue lights when actively pursuing a call, departing from an active call, or when medically necessary during patient transportation (state statute 60-610). The State shall leave the use of lights and patterns to the ambulance operator’s discretion. There is no ordinance as to whether sirens should be used, too.
Ambulances, like the police and firefighters, may disregard traffic laws as long as there is no harm to others in emergency situations (state statute 60-6,114.2).
Nebraska considers the emergency vehicles to be private, voluntary, and public ambulances.
Tow Truck and Wrecker Service Vehicles
Tow trucks may display and use flashing or rotating amber colored lights during an active call or leave an active call or accident scene (Nebraska State Statue 60-6,233).
Private tow truck operators and wrecker services in Nebraska obtain a permit to legally display and use Nebraska state statue 60-6,233 emergency lights. Licenses expire on the 31st of December each year and operators must renew them in order to remain legal.
Where operated by the Transportation Department or a local authority (Nebraska State Statue 60-6,232), blue and amber lights may be used on construction vehicles. Local authorities are road inspection, repair and maintenance departments, and the construction of new roads. Vehicles owned and operated by public utilities for the construction, maintenance or repair of infrastructures on and near roads.
Utility Vehicles — Public and private
Utility vehicles on active calls or responding to an active call may use amber lights as defined in statue 60-6,232 of the Nebraskan state. It involves parking on the side of a road while constantly idle, and during an intensive overview of the work. The bill applies to public and private utility vehicles.
Railway vehicles are authorized by the State to use amber strobe lights when charging or unloading passengers (state statue 60-6,232).
In addition, certified storm spotters or members of Nebraska Emergency Management (state statute 81-829.39) acting on behalf of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency are authorized to use amber lights on their personal or state-owned vehicles when the Agency’s conditions are met (state statue 60-6,232).
Snow removal vehicles are approved by the State to display rotating or flashing amber and/or blue lights when acting under a local authority or Roads Department (state statue 60-6,232).
Rural mail carriers operating outside city limits must have an amber light that rotates or flashes (state statue 60-6,232).
Pilot Vehicles used for escorting over loads of size must use a flashing amber light (Nebraska state statue 60-6,232). Oversized loads include, but are not limited to, houses, bulky items, unrestrained livestock and other buildings / buildings as defined by state statute 60-6, 288.
Security vehicles on public roads (state statues 60-6,230 and 60-6, 229) are not allowed to use flashing lights of any color. There are no stated color limits in Nebraska’s State private property rules. Violation of this law will result in a Class III misdemeanor under State Statute 60-6,234
Flashing amber lights (Nebraska State Statue 60-6,232) may be used by any military vehicle on a sanctioned State emergency mission. This is frequently seen on convoys.
The Nebraska Adjutant General maintains his or her right to use any of the National Guard’s publicly owned military vehicles; these vehicles may be used for state-approved emergency or mission reasons, but they are only authorized to have and use amber lights, regardless of vehicle type or upgraded status to emergency response vehicle.
Civil Air Patrol
Any aircraft driven by a Civil Air Patrol member can at any time use blinking amber lights (state law 60-6,232).
School buses can use a single, blinking white light to boost their visibility to other motorists during poor weather (state law 60-6,232).
For more information on what lights are available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 402-471-4545
* Please note that these numbers are what we can find now, and the numbers may have changed since this listing.