Virginia Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes
Some vehicles are allowed inside the state of Virginia to use emergency lights. Such vehicles include ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles, and volunteer fire vehicles. Many other vehicles are also allowed to use a limited number and type of blinking emergency-style lights, such as construction vehicles, tow trucks, wreckers, and more. Below is a list of the most famous statues of vehicle lighting found in the Virginia state law.
Virginia state law allows police vehicles to use blue, red, and white police lights, or any combination of those colors that the department approves. Pursuant to State Statute 46.2-1022, these lights must blink, flash, alternate, or strobe. Besides these lights, law enforcement vehicles may also be equipped with clear auxiliary lights to be used to detect and apprehend breakers of law or any other reasonable function. Only when the vehicle is in motion can these lights be used if the vehicle travels at 15 miles per hour or slower in accordance with state statute 46.2-1029.
It is important to note that these colors are not limited to police vehicles alone, and their use. These combinations of lights may also be used by some military or National Guard vehicles when acting in an official enforcement capacity.
Fire Truck Lights
Under Statute 46.2-1023, Fire Truck Lights Fire trucks are allowed to use red or red and white lights. When used in an official capacity, those lights are required to blink, flash, alternate, or strobe. Amber lights may be used on fire apparatus vehicles in addition to red and white lights per state statute 46.2-1025 as long as the amber lights are visible only from behind. The State statute 46.2-1028 also allows clear auxiliary lights used to highlight emergency scenes. These fire truck lights cannot be lit when the vehicle is in motion nor can they be used in a manner that blinds or reduces the oncoming driver’s vision. In addition to fire trucks, forest wardens, emergency management officials, animal wardens, and even some NASA officials, when acting in an official capacity, can use these light combinations.
Volunteer Firefighter Lights
Virginia state statute 46.2-1024 allows volunteer firefighters to equip no more than two red and white or red flashing emergency lights with one personal vehicle. Only when responding to an emergency situation can those lights be used. Alternatively, volunteer EMTs and police chaplains will provide each with these emergency lights for one personal vehicle. However, police chaplains must pass a training course specific to the operation of a motor vehicle under emergency conditions before fitting out any emergency lights to a personal vehicle. In addition, any time emergency lights are activated, the equipped vehicle must hold a certificate indicating the successful completion of this course.
In the state of Virginia, emergency lights can also be red or red and white. That is in line with Statute 46.2-1023. These lights must blink, flash, strobe, or alternate, just like fire trucks do. In addition to red and white lights per state statute 46.2-1025, amber lights may be used as long as they are only visible from behind the EMT vehicle. An ambulance under Virginia state statute 46.2-1028 may also use clear auxiliary lights to illuminate an emergency scene.
Tow Truck Lights
Pursuant to Statute 46.2-1025, tow trucks may use only flashing, blinking, or alternating amber lights. If the vehicle in question is not classified as a tow truck under Virginia state law but is owned and operated by a towing or recovery business, the amber lights may be lit, but only when the vehicle is used at a towing site. That means when the vehicle is driving on the roadway, the strobe lights may not be lit. Typically these vehicles offer tow truck support or tow truck drivers.
Construction Vehicle Lights
Statute 46.2-1025 also allows vehicles under construction to use amber lights that flash, blink, or alternate. These lights can only be used when the vehicles actively assist in building public roads, managing traffic on public roads or managing road incidents on public highways. The law also applies to vehicles owned and used by construction firms holding permits for Virginia contractors.
Utility Vehicle Lights
Also governed by Virginia State Statute 46.2-1025 are public utility vehicle lights. When repairing or installing public utilities alongside a public highway, these vehicles are allowed to use blinking, flashing, strobing or alternating amber lights. For the purpose of increasing ground visibility under state statute 46.2-1028.2, electric service vehicles weighing more than 15,000 pounds may be fitted with visible auxiliary lights pointing down to the ground. These lights can only be mounted at the vehicle’s bottom and can’t interfere with oncoming drivers’ vision.
Pilot Vehicle Lights
Pilot cars are also to use amber lights, but Virginia state law 46.2-1026 requires these vehicles to use high-intensity flashing, flashing, or spinning lights that are visible for at least 500 feet. These lights are to be used whenever the vehicle escorts or towes over-sized materials requiring a highway permit by law 46.2-1139 of the State. State statute requires these lights to be mounted on top of the escort vehicle as well as on the towing vehicle’s upper rear end. To increase visibility, the towing vehicle is advised to have these lights mounted on both the front and back.
Emergency Vehicle Lights
Police vehicles on public roadways may not use blinking or emergency-style lights. Nonetheless, vehicles owned and operated by security services may use amber lights that flash, blink, or alternate when the vehicle is used on private property to provide those security services. Virginia state statute 46.2-1025 sets out the criteria in Virginia for the use of amber lights by safety vehicles. Neighborhood watch groups or other security groups licensed in their neighbourhood by the chief law enforcement officer may also use amber lights as long as the vehicle in question is clearly marked as a neighborhood watch vehicle and as long as the lights are not used when the vehicle is on a public road.
For more information on what lights are available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 804-674-2000
* Please note that these numbers are what we can find at the moment, and the numbers may have changed since this page.