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California Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

california California emergency vehicle light state statutes clearly designate who can and cannot use warning and emergency lights. These statutes govern first responder departments and extend to some publicly and privately owned vehicles. According to California emergency vehicle light state statute V C Sect 165, defines an emergency vehicle as any publicly or privately owned ambulance or lifesaving vehicle. These vehicles can be used by local, state, and federal police; as well as peace officers, fire departments, forestry departments, service vehicles, and tow trucks.

California Police Vehicles Must Use Red Emergency Lighting

California state statute 25252  requires police department vehicles to use red emergency lighting. Specifically, this state statute requires California police to use at least one steady burning red light. The light must be visible for at least 1,000 feet to be compliant with the statute. Additionally, this state statute allows police to use red flashing, steady, or revolving police lights on the rear or sides of their vehicles. Police in California can also use blue warning lights on their police vehicles, if needed.

California Fire Trucks and Ambulances are Allowed to Use Red Emergency Lighting


In California, fire trucks and ambulances are allowed to use red emergency lighting. Like police, fire department vehicles in California are allowed to use a steady burning red light, as long as the light is visible for at least 1,000 feet. Additionally, firefighters can install red lights on the side, rear, and front of fire department vehicles.

 Warning Vehicles in California are Required to Use Amber Lighting

California state statutes allow some additional vehicles to use warning lights or beacons. However, state statutes in California require that lighting used by warning vehicles be amber in color. Tow trucks in California are also required to use amber lights.

Pilot cars operating in California are required to use an amber light that provides 360-degree coverage. If a light bar is not installed on the vehicles rooftop, 360-degree coverage must be created with other light types.

For more information about what lights may be available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 1-800-835-5247

*Please note that these numbers are what we are currently able to find and the numbers may have changed since this listing.


Disclaimer: The emergency vehicle light state statute guide was created by Extreme Tactical Dynamics as a guide and reference. We make no claim to the accuracy or validity of this guide. This guide was written to the best of our knowledge and has been provided to our customers as a courtesy ONLY! The information in this guide is our interpretation of the law as we have read it. We cannot be held responsible for any errors as this is only our interpretation of the law and the laws are constantly changing. We cannot be held liable or responsible for any errors and recommend that our customers refer to their local authorities to confirm the particular statue that governs their use of emergency vehicle lights.

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