South Carolina Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes
Every state has adopted strict color and lighting laws that distinguish various emergency vehicles. This lighting helps the general public understand and respond appropriately to the type of vehicle approaching them. The following are some of the emergency vehicle lights on roads in South Carolina that can be requested. If responding to emergency situations, private or unmarked vehicles that are operated by emergency and law enforcement officers may also use the appropriate warning light.
Police vehicles State patrol, local police, and South Carolina municipal sheriff’s vehicles are required to be fitted with oscillating, rotating, or flashing blue lights. They may also display alternately flashing red lights, white lights or both, in addition to the blue lights. Under natural sunlight these vehicle lights have to be visible at a distance of 500 feet in all directions. Blue flashing lights can legally only be used by police vehicles.
Federal or military law enforcement vehicles may also use red flashing police lights when responding to emergencies. Certified correction officers, vehicles from federal natural resources, environmental control and forestry commission vehicles may also use flashing red lights while performing law enforcement duties.
Fire Trucks Lights
Fire Trucks Lights Emergency firefighting and rescue squad vehicles must be equipped with red lights facing both forward and rear, or red lights that oscillate and rotate whilst flashing in all directions. Such fire truck lights will also need to be visible in natural sunlight for a distance of 500 feet. This statute applied both to paid firefighter vehicles and to voluntary ones.
Ambulances and Medical Emergency Vehicles
Ambulances and Medical Emergency Vehicles Defined as emergency vehicles in South Carolina, ambulances are also required to be equipped with red flashing lights facing forward and rear that are visible at daylight for a distance of 500 feet, or with top-mounted oscillating and rotating red lights. This statute applies to ambulances which are private as well as publicly owned. This includes coroner / deputy coroner cars, in addition to ambulances.
Private physicians who respond to medical emergencies may use a flashing green light mounted on the dashboard, which must be visible for a distance of 500 feet.
Flashing forward and rear-facing red lights or top-mounted red flashing, oscillating, and rotating red lights should be equipped with Tow Trucks Wrecker/Tow trucks. Those lights should only be used on an accident scene. At other times tow trucks should be equipped to red lights with flashing amber and tow truck operators should wear suitable reflective clothing for safety purposes.
Road Construction and Utility Vehicles
Road construction and utility vehicles Road construction and utility vehicles in South Carolina fall within the definition of a traffic hazard that requires extraordinary care. These types of vehicles must be equipped with adequate lighting to warn of traffic obstructions and workers that may impede traffic or cause a safety hazard. The warning lights required should be spaced evenly, rear-facing and all at the same height; flashing amber and red, or any shade between the two. White flashing lights may also be used at the same time.
Pilot Vehicles To move over-sized loads special permits are required. Those permits specify the road types to be traveled. Loads greater than 8 feet six inches wide, more than 13 feet six inches wide, or trailers longer than 53 feet are required for permits. Further restrictions apply to two-lane highways. Over-sized loads can travel on Saturdays and holidays only from sunrise to sunset Monday through Friday, and limited hours during daytime.
Pilot vehicles must be equipped with a sign at the front and/or rear indicating either “OVERSIZED LOAD” or “WIDE LOAD.” They should have an amber beacon or strobe light rotating on top of the vehicle.
Security vehicles Only private security vehicles regulated by the State Law Enforcement Division are allowed to use flashing red or blue lights. For safety reasons, any other private security vehicles that might impede traffic may be using a flashing amber light. These types of vehicles may be used to ensure public safety at public malls, campuses, or large sports or entertainment venues.
South Carolina allows a wide variety of vehicles to use warning lights as necessary to give other vehicles and pedestrians adequate warning about potentially dangerous conditions and impediments. Special training is also required in many counties before operating emergency vehicles such as ambulances or firefighting trucks and equipment.
Any car that refuses to follow law enforcement warning lights or other emergency vehicles faces stiff legal consequences. The same goes for any vehicle that displays red or blue lights without the appropriate authority to do so. Any authorized vehicle that displays flashing blue or red lights should be granted the right of way to carry out its assigned duty without delay or interference.
For more information on what lights are available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 803-896-7920
*Please note that these numbers are what we can find at the moment, and the numbers may have changed since this listing.