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Red Lights or Blue ?


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  • Red Lights or Blue ?

    Ive noticed here on this forum that alot of people are running red lights. Here in Arkansas only the Fire Depts. and Ambulances run red lights. Is this a state mandated thing ? Or do the high population centers do their own thing ?

    Any opinions on which color appears to be more effective ?

    I've seen a few states that run one red/one blue also. Just wondered.

    [ 02-23-2002: Message edited by: Watchman ]

  • #2
    Texas runs Red/Blue combination on marked units, but unmarked can run a ref front-facing light (and usually has red/blue in the rear deck). It is mandated by the State (here) as to who can run what.

    LE runs Red/Blue as do ambulances, who also have a white light facing front; Fire trucks run Reds, as do volunteer firemen.

    I beleive this was the case the last time I checked.


    • #3
      Under California law, to be exempted from the rules of the road (and thus be protected from liability in case of a crash), the driver of an "authorized emergency vehicle" must display a continuously lighted red light to the front, among other things.

      Here in California, only law enforcement vehicles may display blue lights in addition to the steady burning red light. However, any authorized emergency vehicle may display additional red or amber lighting.


      • #4
        I don't know when the blue lights came into being for emergency vehicles. I know that when I was growing up here in Colorado, the only things with blue lights on them were snow plows. Not so any more.

        I understand that for some type of color blindness, the blue lights stand out better then the red ones do. However I still think the "wig-wag" head lights, in combination with the other emergency lights moves traffic out of the way a little better.


        • #5
          Here in Maryland most departments run a red blue combination. One notable exception is Anne Arundel County which uses only blue. State law states that police can use red,blue or both. fire and medics can use only red.


          • #6
            My area-

            Blue. Period. I do know of one agency that is "public safety" (fire and police) and runs 1 red and 1 blue.

            I know it's a regional thing, and you guys who have always lived in areas with red lights will feel the same about them, but I can't imagine thinking "police" when I see a red light come over the hill behind me at night.

            All fire runs red here, and all DOT/Highway Contractors/etc. run amber.


            • #7
              Here it's blue, and thats on the books. Fire and EMS all run red.

              I read a study once about emergency lighting, it basically said that red was most visible during daylight hours, and blue was most visible at night, and they surmised that the red/blue combo was the most effective form of emergency lighting.


              • #8
                We, as with most PD's in this area, run the red/blue combination. There are a few cruisers using the red/blue/orange combo.


                • #9
                  In Saskatchewan, the regulations under the Highway Traffic Act (a Provincial (state) law) states that only the following vehicles may, and must, use the following lights:
                  - Police: red and blue;
                  - Fire vehicles and apparatus: red;
                  - Ambulance and other "designated emergency vehicles": red and white.

                  "Designated Emergency Vehicles" are any that a municipality gets written permission for, but does NOT include full-time or volunteer firefighter's personal vehicles.

                  An operator of such a vehicle, when using the lights and siren equipment, does have the right of way and is allowed to disregard MOST traffic laws EXCEPT they MUST still drive with due caution when entering intersections and/or travelling against traffic lights, as well as have due regard for road, weather and traffic conditions.

                  Provincial legislation is a Summary Conviction (I guess that would relate to midemeanour) but NOT a Criminal offence. Criminal legislation is any law passed by the Federal Government, and the main Federal legislation is the Criminal Code, which has no regulations regarding equipment to be used by emergency vehicles, but does legislate Dangerous Driving, Criminal Negligence and Obstruction of a Peace Officer, amongst many other sections, any or all of which could apply in a police pursuit situation against the LEO/PO and/or civilians involved.


                  • #10
                    In TX, only authorized emergency vehicles can display a red or blue light to the front.


                    • #11
                      There are several agencies in NC that run a red/blue combination. Originally LE had red lights in the south. For some reason, what I dont know someone came up with the color blue for LE.

                      Now many agencies are going to combinations red/blue/clear and amber to the rear. Studies have shown red is seen easier in the day and blue better at night. The clear lights are to break up those colors and add additional visibility. Amber to the rear realy increased visibility of lights and I understand OSHA may soon require it.


                      • #12
                        I'd welcome a new testing of the light colors with modern day lighting equipment. With these new super bright halogen or strobe lights, blue is much easier to see in day or night time.

                        Unfortunately here in Kansas any emergency vehicle or tow truck can have red and blue lights.


                        • #13
                          Our agency uses strictly blue. The Parish/County and the State also uses all blue.

                          Our fire use all red, and our EMS uses red/white.

                          Amber is used by tow trucks, and other public vehicles.

                          [ 02-24-2002: Message edited by: cajuncop ]


                          • #14
                            "Unfortunately here in Kansas any emergency vehicle or tow truck can have red and blue lights."

                            WOW...Ive never heard of that before. A TOW truck with red or blue lights ? Seems like it could get confusing. I've never seen anything but amber on tow trucks or highway vehicles.


                            • #15
                              BTW...does anybody in here ever get a headache when they are working a wreck and several cars have their lights operating ? Short term isnt bad, but after a half hour or so it starts messing with my eyes or something.

                              Those lights popping all over the place seem to get on my nerves after awhile. Anybody else ever experience that ?


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