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  • Emergency Lights in POV's?

    So I have been offered a few road jobs recently and they require you to have emergency lights while doing so.

    I know plenty of LEO's who do these with red/blue lights and strobes on their personal vehicles.

    I was looking through the transportation code, though, and noticed that it pretty much says unless your vehicle is owned by a government entity, it is not a police vehicle. Therefor, it shouldn't have any red/blue lights.

    Here's an older article on the same subject I found. http://tdcaa.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic...5&m=7741036751

    My question is, what is the legality of having red/blue lights and strobes on your POV for the purpose of escorts, traffic jobs, etc? Also, does anyone know if any union or organization is doing anything to change the definition of police vehicle in Texas?
    Last edited by Trevelyn1015; 10-13-2009, 02:14 PM.

  • #2
    "This bill clarifies that a law enforcement vehicle must be authorized by the appropriate law enforcement authority for use by a person described by Article 2.12 of the Code of Criminal"

    I guess you can have it authorized by whoever that is. Probably the sheriff. Cy-Fair ISD security used to have emergency equipment, they may still do but I don't know. They had to get it approved through the sheriff at the time.

    Deputies who get a car allowance from their agency are covered because the vehicle is leased by the agency from them. This is a screwed up deal if we are really prevented from using povs for side jobs. I wonder if the private security lobbyist had a hand in it, like they did when they helped get legislation passed to stop reserves from working side jobs.
    sigpic

    " 'Blessed are the Peacemakers', is, I suppose, to be understood in the other world, for in this one they are frequently cursed." - Benjamin Franklin

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    • #3
      HB 1831 was passed in the last regular legislative session and became effective on September 1, 2009.

      "Police vehicle" is now defined as "a vehicle used by a peace officer, as defined by Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, for law enforcement purposes that:
      (A) is owned or leased by a governmental entity;
      (B) is owned or leased by the police department of a private institution of higher education that commissions peace officers under Section 51.212, Education Code; or
      (C) is:
      (i) a private vehicle owned or leased by the peace officer; and
      (ii) approved for use for law enforcement purposes by the head of the law enforcement agency that employs the peace officer, or by that person's designee, provided that use of the private vehicle must, if applicable, comply with any rule adopted by the commissioners court of a county under Section 170.001, Local Government Code, and that the private vehicle may not be considered an authorized emergency vehicle for [toll fee] exemption purposes under Section 228.054, 284.070, 366.178, or 370.177, Transportation Code, unless the vehicle is marked."

      Local Government Code Section 170.001 REGULATION OF CERTAIN USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES.
      (a) The commissioners court of a county may adopt rules prohibiting or regulating the use of a privately owned motor vehicle for the performance of county business or law enforcement duties by a sheriff or constable or a deputy of a sheriff or constable.
      (b) This section does not authorize a commissioners court to adopt rules relating to the private use of a privately owned motor vehicle.
      Last edited by Lawfficer; 10-13-2009, 06:19 PM.

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      • #4
        We were told that you can have them ON your vehicle... but you can not USE them... EVER....

        One company I worked for would just use standard white strobes when providing escorts, but be warned that you won't have any legal authority when doing so...
        “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

        "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."

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        • #5
          (C) makes it sound like lights on a pov are ok for an extra job b/c techinically your extra jobs are approved by the chief.

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          • #6
            Zoom, I agree... Read the print.. Its pretty clear...
            "If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JTShooter View Post
              We were told that you can have them ON your vehicle... but you can not USE them... EVER....

              One company I worked for would just use standard white strobes when providing escorts, but be warned that you won't have any legal authority when doing so...
              If it's a private company then they may want to rethink that. The transportation code says a vehicle cannot be equipped with those lights, which means you can't have them ON the vehicle. Nowhere does it say you can have them on the vehicle but not use them. I've written plenty of tickets for this.

              Sec. 547.305. RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF LIGHTS
              c) A person may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with a red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating light unless the equipment is:

              (1) used as specifically authorized by this chapter; or

              d) A vehicle may be equipped with alternately flashing lighting equipment described by Section 547.701 or 547.702 only if the vehicle is:

              (1) a school bus;

              (2) an authorized emergency vehicle;

              (3) a church bus that has the words "church bus" printed on the front and rear of the bus so as to be clearly discernable to other vehicle operators;

              (4) a tow truck while under the direction of a law enforcement officer at the scene of an accident or while hooking up to a disabled vehicle on a roadway; or

              (5) a tow truck with a mounted light bar which has turn signals and stop lamps in addition to those required by Sections 547.322, 547.323, and 547.324, Transportation Code.
              sigpic

              " 'Blessed are the Peacemakers', is, I suppose, to be understood in the other world, for in this one they are frequently cursed." - Benjamin Franklin

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kcso View Post
                If it's a private company then they may want to rethink that. The transportation code says a vehicle cannot be equipped with those lights, which means you can't have them ON the vehicle. Nowhere does it say you can have them on the vehicle but not use them. I've written plenty of tickets for this.

                Sec. 547.305. RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF LIGHTS
                c) A person may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with a red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating light unless the equipment is:

                (1) used as specifically authorized by this chapter; or

                d) A vehicle may be equipped with alternately flashing lighting equipment described by Section 547.701 or 547.702 only if the vehicle is:

                (1) a school bus;

                (2) an authorized emergency vehicle;

                (3) a church bus that has the words "church bus" printed on the front and rear of the bus so as to be clearly discernable to other vehicle operators;

                (4) a tow truck while under the direction of a law enforcement officer at the scene of an accident or while hooking up to a disabled vehicle on a roadway; or

                (5) a tow truck with a mounted light bar which has turn signals and stop lamps in addition to those required by Sections 547.322, 547.323, and 547.324, Transportation Code.
                Nit-picking here, but it says cannot operate a vehicle that is equipped. The exception it provided for tow trucks is while the tow truck is hooking up (basically). What about when the tow truck is driving to and from the accident?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by beavo451 View Post
                  Nit-picking here, but it says cannot operate a vehicle that is equipped. The exception it provided for tow trucks is while the tow truck is hooking up (basically). What about when the tow truck is driving to and from the accident?
                  Good question. Because it specifically says "at the scene of an accident or while hooking up", I'm guessing that is the only time it allows them to have them activated. According to that, I'd have to say they cannot use them driving to and from an accident.

                  I've never seen a wrecker in Texas with red, blue or white lights. Again, I'm guessing that the color of lights on a wrecker (yellow) are regulated by whomever issues their license to tow in whatever jurisdiction they're in. As for the equipped part, having them on a vehicle that's not specified in the statute, even if it's not connected to a power source, is also illegal.
                  sigpic

                  " 'Blessed are the Peacemakers', is, I suppose, to be understood in the other world, for in this one they are frequently cursed." - Benjamin Franklin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I got two letters placed in my POV recently. One was by the County Judge authorizing my tags, one by the Constable authorizing my lights and siren. The Legislature (with some prodding by TMPA) finally cleared up this law so we can go back to working our extra jobs. You'll note though that just because we're now a Emergency Vehicle, we still have to pay tolls unless we're in our actual department car with markings and exempt tags.
                    sigpic
                    Let your watchword be duty, and know no other talisman of success than labor. Let honor be your guiding star in your dealing with your superiors, with your fellows, with all. Be as true to a trust reposed as the needle to the pole. Stand by the right even to the sacrifice of life itself, and learn that death is preferable to dishonor. ~ Gov. Richard Coke, October 4, 1876

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kcso View Post
                      Good question. Because it specifically says "at the scene of an accident or while hooking up", I'm guessing that is the only time it allows them to have them activated. According to that, I'd have to say they cannot use them driving to and from an accident.

                      I've never seen a wrecker in Texas with red, blue or white lights. Again, I'm guessing that the color of lights on a wrecker (yellow) are regulated by whomever issues their license to tow in whatever jurisdiction they're in. As for the equipped part, having them on a vehicle that's not specified in the statute, even if it's not connected to a power source, is also illegal.
                      Originally posted by kcso View Post
                      If it's a private company then they may want to rethink that. The transportation code says a vehicle cannot be equipped with those lights, which means you can't have them ON the vehicle. Nowhere does it say you can have them on the vehicle but not use them. I've written plenty of tickets for this.
                      We are talking about "equipped" here. Your interpretation contradicts itself because the only exception for a tow truck is hooking up.

                      Sec. 547.305. RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF LIGHTS


                      d) A vehicle may be equipped with alternately flashing lighting equipment described by Section 547.701 or 547.702 only if the vehicle is:

                      (4) a tow truck while under the direction of a law enforcement officer at the scene of an accident or while hooking up to a disabled vehicle on a roadway;
                      Based on your strict interpretation, a tow truck may only be equipped with flashing lights at the scene of an accident or hooking up. It does not provide a general exception for tow trucks. When he is driving around, he is not hooking up, therefore he cannot be equipped with flashing lights.

                      Originally posted by kcso View Post
                      The transportation code says a vehicle cannot be equipped with those lights, which means you can't have them ON the vehicle. Nowhere does it say you can have them on the vehicle but not use them. I've written plenty of tickets for this.
                      I agree that it is all very confusing. I think in this case, the prudent thing thing is just to "do the right thing".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm glad you pointed that out, I think I confused myself too. My initial response was referring to JTShooter saying his company, I'm assuming a security company, told them that they could have red and blues on their vehicle but to not turn them on. I really wasn't paying attention the rest of it.

                        But since you brought up a valid point, Sec. 547.305 c) refers to red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating lights except for those vehicles that are specifically authorized. Police and fire vehicles are the only vehicles that are specifically authorized in this chapter.

                        d) refers to flashing lights only which says a tow truck can be equipped with flashing lights, anything other than red, blue or white, and can use them, but only on an accident scene or hooking up to a vehicle on the roadway. It also allows a bus and an EV but there are other exceptions for them.

                        If you look further in the section, it describes the exceptions and requirements for a police vehicle, fire vehicle (547.702) and school bus (547.701). There is nothing in the chapter that specifically authorizes their use for wreckers or any other vehicle.

                        The section says c) or d), not c) and d). They are two seperate laws under Restrictions On Use Of Lights, so one doesn't allow exceptions for the other.
                        Last edited by kcso; 10-14-2009, 04:50 PM.
                        sigpic

                        " 'Blessed are the Peacemakers', is, I suppose, to be understood in the other world, for in this one they are frequently cursed." - Benjamin Franklin

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The private company I once worked for was in another state and they used clear strobes in the turn signals... but only used them overseas, I was speaking about what I've been told by my department's motor jocks and A&Is about POV's having red/blue lights...
                          “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

                          "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."

                          Comment

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