Oklahoma Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes
“Red is one of the best colours; it’s blood, it has an eye strength,” artist Keith Haring said. It is not shocking then that one of the strongest signs on roadways is a flashing red light, which is one reason why Oklahoma state law specifically regulates how red lights and other color emergency vehicle lights are used. The following is a review of the State’s use of lighting on different types of vehicles.
State Statutes Emergency Vehicle Lights
Oklahoma laws require all registered emergency vehicles to have blue or red lights and that flash. Alternatively, these systems may also use a light system that uses all colours. The lights must be visible to motorists approaching at least 500 feet away. (Oklahoma Statute § 47 12-218)
Police lights All authorized Oklahoma law enforcement vehicles are required to have red or blue lights flashing. Law enforcement agencies are also required to use a combination light setup which includes both flashing red and blue lights. Such police lights must be seen under daytime conditions at a minimum distance of 500 feet. For an unmarked law enforcement vehicle, there are a few exceptions to that rule. An unmarked car has to have a specific set of colored lights on the vehicle at exact locations. A brief description of these specific rules is as follows:
Front – It must have three lights flashing. The lights have to be red or blue in colour. The device may also use lighting equipment which flashes using both blue and red light. From the vehicle, those lights must shine forward. State regulations also require the vehicle to have two flashing white lights which shine from the unit forward.
Corner –The vehicle must have special emergency lighting at its corners as well. These corner lights must have a red, blue, or white colour. In the corners can also be used lighting equipment that incorporates all three of these colours. The vehicle has to be so fitted that in a 360 degree field of vision it will be visible from any angle.
Rear –The vehicle must have at least one red, blue, and amber light flashing at the rear of the unit that shines to the rear. It is also permitted a light configuration combining these three colours.
(Oklahoma Statute § 47 12-218) Fire truck lights Oklahoma State Statute 47-12-218(a) requires fire trucks, together with other emergency vehicles, to have red or blue lights and flash lights. These vehicles may also use an illumination set-up combining these two colors. When these fire truck lights are flashing, motorists must be able to see them from at least 500 feet away.
Fire Truck Lights
(Oklahoma Statute § 47 12-218) Volunteer Firefighter Lights In 2013, Oklahoma Statutes were amended to allow a volunteer firefighter to operate a private vehicle fitted with a red or white emergency light that flashes. An illumination system which combines both colors is also permitted. The only requirement to use such lighting is that the local fire chief has to have the permission of the individual. State legislation authorizes the local chief to decide whether volunteers can equip their vehicles as such.
Volunteer Firefighter lights
The volunteer firefighter must have a letter of written permission, signed by the local chief and carried in the vehicle at the time of use. Like for most emergency vehicles, the daytime lights have to be clear from 500 feet away.
(Oklahoma Statute § 47 12-218.3)
State ambulances must have a blue or red light that flashes. During the daytime these lights must also be seen at least 500 feet away. As long as they have the same visibility, they may also have the option of having any combination of red and blue flashing lights.
(Oklahoma Statute, Sections 47, 12-218[a ])
Tow Trucks Lights
All licensed wreckers must have at least one rotating or flashing amber light, which is visible from any 360 degree angle to approach motorists. The light can be mounted on a light bar. The amber light is to be used when the wrecker works at a roadside emergency location, or to warn other motorists of a hazard to traffic. Although there is no need for additional lighting, a wrecker may have a blue or red light that flashes too. The wrecker may also use an illumination system that includes flashing blue and red lights.
The color a tow truck may use of strobe lights depends on the vehicle’s location. The vehicle may use blue or red lights which flash at the emergency scene. It can also use a light system that instead flashes the two colours. The vehicle may use a flashing amber light that is visible from a vehicle at least 500 feet away when leaving the location of a place of service. The vehicle may also use the amber light to warn approaching vehicles to proceed with caution while passing the wrecker or overtaking it. The wrecker is never to use the blue or red lights that flash to transport a damaged vehicle once it pulls out onto the road.
(Oklahoma Statute § 595:25-5-2)
(Oklahoma Statute § 47:12-218.1)
Construction vehicle lights
Construction vehicle lighting Lights permitted on construction vehicles shall be governed by the vehicle operating entity. The following is a brief description for each category: State, county or city-owned vehicles/machinery These vehicles may have only amber colored lights that flash. These lights must meet the standards and specifications for state officials overseeing highways set by the national professional organization.
Vehicles owned/operated by the Transportation Department of Oklahoma or Oklahoma Turnpike Authority These vehicles or pieces of machinery may be equipped with blue or red lights and that flash. It is necessary to mount the lighting system so that it shines to the unit read. County vehicles or equipment engaged in emergency work or highway construction/maintenance may also have blue or red lights at the back of the vehicle that flash and shine.
(Oklahoma Statute § 47-12-229)
Utility Vehicle light As a maintenance vehicle, a public utility vehicle owned or operated by a State, county or municipal agency may have a colored amber light that flashes. The light is only permitted when performing emergency work.
(Oklahoma Statute § 47-12-229)
Pilot Vehicle Lights
Pilot Vehicle Lights Commercial vehicles accompanying oversized loads as “pilot” vehicles are required by Oklahoma State Law to have a light which can rotate or flash. For color, it must be amber. It also allows for a light bar with amber colored lights. The light should be visible at 500 feet and should be at least 10 inches in diameter and 8 inches tall. The lights can only be used when a vehicle is actually being escorted.
(Oklahoma Statute § 595:30-3-17)
Safety Vehicle Lights
Safety Vehicle Lights Under Oklahoma law, private security company vehicles may have rotating or strobe overhead lights and rear amber deck lights, and rotating or strobe dashboards.
(Oklahoma Statute §390:35-5-2) “Safety does not come about by accident,” a wise man observed. For that very reason, the laws of the state of Oklahoma govern closely the use of emergency lights on vehicles – to keep the public safe on state roads.
For more information on what lights are available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 405-521-6040
*Please note that these numbers are what we can find now, and the numbers may have changed since this listing.