Rhode Island Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

Vehicles driving through Rhode Island have the ability to mark themselves with flashing lights to respond to emergencies or conduct roadside services. Such flashing lights, depending on the vehicle, can allow other vehicles to move over, or just help warn and caution vehicles around. All Rhode Island emergency vehicle lights requirements are clearly set out in the state statutes under Rhode Island Title 31 legislation. Rhode Island has many secondary lighting colours, including red, green, blue and amber. Through reading this article, you will discover the colours, positioning and shapes needed by different departments.

State Statutes Emergency Vehicle Lights

Police lights

Rhode Island police lights regulate the state’s police lights with statute 31-24-31 and say police cars are the only vehicles allowed to use blue lights. All the police units can use blinking or rotary lights, both state and local. They have the option to use a center rotating beam in either blue or red, and they can also mount lights in either blue or red along their outboard. Any flashing lights must flash at the same time, instead of alternating. During the sunlight all police lights for Rhode Island police vehicles have to be visible from at least 500 feet away. These laws are applicable both to marked police cars and to unmarked police cars. A car must be a registered vehicle for a police department, in order to use lights associated with the police department.

Fire truck lights

The Statute 31-24-31 also provides details on what kind of lights on fire truck vehicles are allowed. An emergency response vehicle for a fire truck is any vehicle used by the fire department and rescue department, or any vehicle used by the fire chief, fire chief assistant, deputy chief or fire department captain. These vehicles should use lighting only when they respond to an emergency. The lighting they are allowed to use includes red flashing lights, white flashing lights and lights that alternate whilst flashing between red and white.

Volunteer firefighter lights

Volunteer firefighter lights As explained in Statute 31-1-3, any volunteer firefighter shall be considered an authorized emergency vehicle as long as it is authorized by one of the Rhode Island fire departments. Hence they have the opportunity to use the lighting on their own private vehicle for a standard Rhode Island fire truck. The lighting is made of alternating red and white lights. Volunteer firefighters can choose to use only red flashing lights, white flashing lights, a blend of red and white flashing lights, or a light that alternates between red and white.

Ambulance light

Ambulance light The ambulances fall under the category of emergency response vehicles according to Statute 31-24-31. This category includes ambulance vehicles, medical examiners, forensic pathologists, American Red Cross disaster vehicles and emergency response vehicles for the hospital. All of these different types of ambulances use blinking red and white lights. They can use any desired combination of red flashing lights, white flashing lights, and lights which alternate as they flash between red and white.

Tow trucks lights

Tow truck lights Rhode Island Law Statute 31-24-31 allows all types of roadside assistance vehicles to use flashing lights to alert other drivers to their vehicle. The flashing lights must be an amber color, and can be mounted on both the vehicle’s front and rear. These lights can only be activated while providing assistance or a disabled vehicle is being transported. In order to get a permit to equip their vehicles, the tow truck driver will need to fill out a flashing tow truck light permit application at the motor vehicle division, and they will have to pay a $25 charge.

Construction vehicle lights

Building vehicle lights Roadside construction vehicles, snowplows, and tractors all fall under the 31-24-31 statute. That means they are allowed to install on their vehicle a set of flashing amber lights to make themselves more visible. The lights can be positioned as desired on the front, back, or both ends of the vehicle. As explained by Statute 31-24-31, construction vehicles have to visit the Motor Vehicles Division, pay a fee, and fill out a form to obtain their licence. Once they have the permit and the lights, they will switch them on whenever the vehicle in its construction phase is working.

Utility vehicle lights

Utility vehicle lights Lights can all use the same lights for light enterprises, telephone companies, water companies, oil companies and any other utility. The lighting system which utility vehicles can use is amber lights on their vehicle’s front and back. These lights may be flashing lights but they can’t be lights with strobes. Utility vehicles will need to get a permit from the Motor Vehicles Division according to Rhode Island Statute 31-24-31. If the utility vehicle is a maintenance vehicle for the city or fire district, they do not have to pay the $25 fee that other utility vehicles are required to pay.

Pilot vehicle light

Pilot vehicle light Rhode Island has no specific laws in place concerning escort vehicles that help alert the public to excessive loads. However, for oversized and overweight loads, the Rhode Island Secretary of State manual specifies that escort vehicles should use flashing yellow lights which are not strobe lights. These lights should be placed above the vehicle’s highest part, and should be visible from both the front and rear.

Security Vehicle Lights

Rhode Island safety car laws may vary depending on where the vehicle is going and what kind of vehicle offers the protection. The lighting specified in Statute 31-24-31 is approved for use by any town or state safety vehicle. This is flashing yellow lights at the vehicle’s front or back. If the vehicle is private owned and driven on a public road, however, it may not use any flashing lights. The act does not apply to automobiles operating in a private area. This means that any kind of lighting system a security vehicle patrolling a mall parking lot or other privately owned area can have. Most companies might prefer using top mounted amber lights or blinking green lights.

For more information on what lights are available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 401-444-1000

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