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ANSWERED on Sun 2 Sep 2007 - 11:50 pm UTC by David Sarokin

Question: Virginia Personal Vehicle Emergency Lights

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 2 Sep 2007 22:35 UTCSun 2 Sep 2007 - 10:35 pm UTC 

I am an EMT and an amateur radio emergency responder in the state of Virginia (County of Albemarle). I know several people from my rescue squad who operate emergency lights on their personal vehicle when responding to emergency calls. I would like to know if this is legal, and if so, the color/type and wattage restrictions on the light(s). Please provide links to DMV website if possible.
Thanks, pcbene


David Sarokin 


 2 Sep 2007 23:50 UTCSun 2 Sep 2007 - 11:50 pm UTC 


Emergency lights ARE permitted in Virginia for personal vehicles when used by emergency responders, in response to an emergency. 

Virginia's Motor Vehicles law is title 46.2. 

Section 46.2-1020 of the law is titled "Other permissible lights", and basically forbids emergency style lights in most vehicles:

...Nothing in this section shall permit any vehicle, not otherwise authorized, to be equipped with colored emergency lights, whether blinking or steady-burning.

However, the above section refers to another section where exceptions can be found:

46.2-1024. Flashing or steady-burning red or red and white warning lights.
...Any member of a fire department, volunteer fire company, or volunteer rescue squad, any ambulance driver employed by a privately owned ambulance service, and any police chaplain may equip one vehicle owned by him with no more than two flashing or steady-burning red or red and white combination warning lights..

Actual details of light colors, wattage, and so on is a bit trickier to answer, as it seems to be open to considerable interpretation.  For instance, take a look at this document regarding blue and amber lights, in addition to red and whites:

Fire marshal granted law-enforcement powers by local governing body may equip vehicle with blue lights.

Bottom line seems to be that your colleagues appear to be within the law, as long as their lights are fairly conventional, and are used only for emergency situations.

Let me know if there's anything more you need on this.





 3 Sep 2007 03:26 UTCMon 3 Sep 2007 - 3:26 am UTC 

Exactly what I needed to know. Thanks!


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