North Dakota

North Dakota Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

Title 39 of the North Dakota Century Code enshrines the laws regulating the use of most emergency vehicle lights in the state of North Dakota. Divided into three classes as defined in Section 39-01-01 of the Century Code, approved emergency vehicles are required to display flashing lights in colors or color combinations stated in Section 39-10-03 and its subsections for each type of emergency vehicles. If seeking exceptions from North Dakota traffic and highway law during the execution of emergency duty, the use of flashing lights, visible up to five hundred feet, is mandated by approved emergency vehicles. Such exceptions are defined as stated in Section 39-10-03 in the provisions provided for each class of permitted emergency vehicle. What follows is a detailed breakdown of common emergency vehicle categories which require or recognize Emergency Vehicle Light colors under North Dakota state law.

Emergency Vehicle Lights for Police Vehicles

Pursuant to Section 39-01-01 of the Century Code of North Dakota, vehicles operated by or under the control of law enforcement officers (whether municipal, sheriff, or Title 39 enforcement authority) are defined as emergency vehicles authorized by Class A. As such, red flashing lights or a combination of red and white flashing lights and light bars as outlined in Section 39-10-03 are required to display them. In addition, a law enforcement vehicle that is “otherwise an emergency vehicle approved by Class A” may display a flashing Blue police light. While engaged in a highway traffic stop, law enforcement vehicles are also allowed to use amber lights to direct traffic in the vicinity of the incident.

Emergency Vehicle Lights for Government-Operated Fire Vehicles

Also defined as Class A authorized emergency vehicles under Section 39-01-01, are those owned by fire departments operated by a government entity. Like police vehicles, red flashing lights or a blend of red and white flashing lights are required to display them. A fire vehicle owned by the government may also feature a flashing blue light, as provided for in Section 39-10-03.

Emergency Vehicle Lights for Volunteer-Operated Fire Vehicles

Fire vehicles operated by a volunteer fire department are defined as Class C authorized emergency vehicles under Section 39-01-01 of North Dakota’s Century code. Section 39-10-03 requires such vehicles to display flashing blue and white lights when responding to an emergency during which they may be required to disregard speed limits or regulations governing travel and turn direction.

Emergency vehicle lighting for ambulances

Listed as Class A authorized emergency vehicles in Section 39-01-01, ambulances are required by the provisions of Section 39-10-03 to display either a red flashing light or a combination of red and white flashing light. Unlike fire services by police and government, an ambulance will display a flashing blue light, too.

Emergency Vehicle Lights for Tow Trucks

Described as “wreckers” in Section 39-01-01, tow trucks are defined as emergency vehicles authorized under the Century Code of North Dakota by Class B. Class B authorized emergency vehicles must display an amber and white light during the performance of emergency duties, particularly in section 39-10-03 when seeking the exceptions granted to them.

Emergency Vehicle Lights for Construction Vehicles

Construction vehicles have the distinction, in the North Dakota Century Code, not to be defined in Section 39-01-01 within the definitions of the authorized class of emergency vehicles. Instead, they are described as part of a category of “slow moving vehicles required to display the identification emblem” in Section 39-21-50 but an allowance is made for the use of a rotating amber light, as authorized for emergency vehicles of Class B in Section 39-10-03, instead of the emblem.

Emergency Vehicle Lights for Utility Vehicles

Utility vehicles are not specifically described in the North Dakota Code of the Century or Administrative Code language. The Temporary Traffic Control Guidelines for Utility Work of the North Dakota Department of Transportation states that high-intensity and rotating lights may be used temporarily by utility vehicles to direct traffic around a work zone, but the guidelines do not specify colouring. Within the guidelines, it is advisable to contact local authorities for information concerning local ordinances relating to the operation of utility vehicles in traffic. In the definition of emergency vehicles authorized by Class B under Section 39-01-01 of the Century Code, it is stated that Class B includes “such other emergency vehicles as are authorized by local authorities.” Such vehicles would be required to display amber and white lights, if authorized by those authorities.

Emergency Vehicle Lights for Pilot Vehicles

Unlike most emergency vehicles, pilot vehicles are not described in the North Dakota Code of the Century but are regulated by Title 38 of the North Dakota Administrative Code. Section 38-05-02-01 states that when pilot vehicles are required they must show a rotating amber light mounted at the pilot vehicle’s highest possible point.

Emergency Vehicle Lights for Security Vehicles

Inside the North Dakota Century Code, motor vehicles operated by private security firms are not listed or defined among the authorized emergency vehicles. They are mentioned only briefly in the North Dakota Administrative Code, in Chapter 93-02-02.1, where the law prohibits close emulation of images associated with law enforcement vehicles, but does not mention a color or emergency light configuration. Pursuant to Section 39-01-01 of the North Dakota Century Code, where approved by local authorities,

For more information about what lights may be available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 701-28-2621

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