Oregon Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

It should come as no surprise that when it shows to flashing lights and emergency vehicles, every State has different laws. In fact, without a permit or an approved emergency service lighting, no random driver on the road can get flashing light. Oregon is no exception to this law. Oregon needs different light laws concerning the emergency service vehicles, however. We will discuss the different emergency vehicles and the laws concerning their flashing lights in this article.

As far as emergency vehicles are concerned, the lights are a way to let normal drivers know exactly who is behind them, what they want, and what they are there for. For example, if a police officer comes up with blue light flashing behind the driver, this usually means that the driver has broken the law and has to be pulled over for revenge. No one on the street can have those blue lights without light laws, which could lead to several dangerous situations.

In this article we will look at various types of emergency vehicles as defined by the laws and regulations of Oregon’s Department of Transportation. The article will also explore the different emergency vehicle lights in the state of Oregon that can be used by an emergency vehicle, what colors the lights should be and whether they should be flashing or spinning. The article will also deal with the regulations in this state which classify a vehicle as an emergency vehicle.

State Statutes Emergency Vehicle Lights

Police Lights

Emergency Lights Police vehicles are necessary for the general safety of the public but for emergency situations they need flashing police lights. The police lights in Oregon are much like those in the rest of the country. They use warning lights that flash blue, white, and amber. This is placed under their 816-250 Statute. They are allowed to use their lights like blue, white, or amber anywhere, and can choose between stationary or rotating lights. The lighting used by the Oregon police officers must be visible upon activation for at least 1000 feet. This is to ensure that in an emergency the warning lights are viewed and headed.

Fire truck lights

Fire trucks are common across the country for their use in fire extinguishing or other emergency situations. A fire truck, however, requires some sort of flashing light and siren to alert the other drivers along the emergency road and the presence of the truck. For their warning lights the fire trucks in Oregon must be operated with either plain red lights or a combination of white and red. Under Oregon State Statute 816.285, the statute allows for a flashing system of fire truck lights as well as white lights on the vehicle’s forward-facing portion. The statute also states that when required, fire trucks can use rotating warning lights or green flashing lights in this state.

Volunteer Fire Truck Lights

As part of Oregon’s emergency vehicles, the light laws for volunteer fire trucks fall under the state statute of 816.240, which states that use of white, red, or amber lights is permitted under certain conditions. The amber or white lights have to be facing forward, and the red or amber lights have to be facing rear. Any lights used on these vehicles must be visible at least 500 feet away. Volunteer fire trucks can be any vehicle registered with a volunteer firefighter in the state of Oregon, and registered with the Transportation Department.

Ambulance Lights

An ambulance is an emergency vehicle that transports people to nearest hospital from the scene of an accident or emergency. There are also ambulances across the country. Oregon ambulatory service vehicles, unlike police lights, must use their warning lights and a siren as long as the lights are turned on. However, Oregon does not require the ambulance to have any certain color lights, but the siren must run alongside the warning lights when activated on the rig under their state statute of 820.350. This does not include a rescue squad vehicle which is going to fall under emergency vehicle caution or hazard.

Tow Truck Lights

Tow trucks are used to transport vehicles to the nearest mechanic or junkyard from the scene of an accident or emergency, which also makes them dangerous. Two trucks are allowed to have amber, white, or red light on their vehicles as long as they comply with the state statute of 816 as a hazard vehicle. 240. 240. The vehicles must have front or rear lights with the red lights in the rear and the front white lights. The lights must be visible for at least 500 feet, to ensure that the tow truck can be seen by other drivers on the road as it approaches or drives in traffic. This is important to ensure other drivers in the vicinity of these vehicles can proceed with caution.

Construction vehicle light

weight Construction vehicles are also important. They change traffic to oncoming construction, and when they are in a hurry, the flashing lights help to make them pass through traffic faster to get to the site. They must have amber, red, or white lights on those vehicles, with the white at the front and the red at the back of the vehicle. The warning lights on the truck must be visible from at least 500-feet to comply with the state statute.

Utility Vehicle Lights

Utility vehicles are often fitted with warning lights as well as other safety vehicles, or better known as power trucks. Because this work vehicle needs a warning, they can use red, amber, or white light to alert other drivers about the presence of their vehicle on the road. The red lights should be placed at the vehicle’s back and white lights should be placed at the vehicle’s front. For these strobe lights, the emergency vehicle statute should be visible for at least 500-feet to ensure that the other drivers can see the vehicle from a distance.

Pilot Vehicle Lights

Pilot vehicles, or vehicles that guide drivers along an extensively constructed road, also have specific light laws. Second, the pilot vehicle must have at least two different, blinking amber lights. The lights must be as far apart as possible from each other, and they must have a four-inch diameter lens. Use of flashing lights or even strobe lights can be used as long as output from the lights is 360-degree. At least 500-feet of the lights must also be visible.

Security Vehicle Lights

Security vehicles, or vehicles patroling certain areas, such as plants or malls, also have emergency lights. They may have red, amber, and white lights on their vehicle, but the red lights have to be on the back while the white and amber lights have to be on the vehicle front. The safety vehicle complies with the Oregon state statute of 816.240 as long as the lights are visible for at least 500-feet total.

An Emergency Vehicle

In Oregon, specific regulations need to be met in order for a vehicle to be considered an emergency vehicle and flashing lights to be given. The statute of 801.260 defines an emergency vehicle as a public vehicle, such as police, fire, and security. With this law the state allows the emergency vehicle to have to flash emergency lights. The vehicle has to be registered with the Transportation Department of Oregon before lights can only be granted for emergency use. The law is also applicable to federal vehicles.


Lights are employed on a vehicle for a variety of reasons. For example, headlights are used to see in the dark while the car is driven by the driver. Flashing lights are prohibited on any vehicle in the state of Oregon which is not considered an emergency vehicle. Most states have their own unique light laws that determine what kind of lights an emergency vehicle may or may not have, how they should be operated and whether specific registrations are needed or not.

For each type of emergency vehicle there are even specific laws put in place. For each emergency vehicle Oregon has its own specific legislation. A fire truck, for example, will have different laws on lighting than a volunteer fire truck or ambulance. An ambulance, however, is one vehicle that requires the siren to run as long as the lights on the rig flash.

Each emergency vehicle, like other vehicles, must be registered with the Oregon State Department of Transportation, and once registered, the vehicle can be used with the proper lights, whether red, white or amber lights, or flashing or rotating. Each of the lights is used to get the other drivers on the road and warn them of accidents or other problems. Some of the most important are police, fire trucks, and ambulance vehicles, but safety trucks, tow trucks, and construction trucks all have their place in the emergency vehicle department.

For more information on what lights are available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 503-78-3720

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