Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting has become very popular for a lot of uses due to its environmental friendliness, its economy and its durability. One of the most effective of those uses is the creation of LED light bars for police, emergency and recovery vehicles. The reason they've become so popular is because LED lights are very small, are solid state, are very energy efficient and are long lasting because they're filament-free. Even from a great distance they can be seen very easily which makes them extremely effective for emergency use.
There are other reasons that LED light bars have gained wide acceptance. Because LEDs are very small and very thin they can be configured into a stealth lightbar that has a much smaller and lower wind profile while still giving out a comparable light signal. There are even models that are flush mounted and that offer no wind resistance at all. The lower wind profile of an LED light bar offers fuel savings to any vehicle using one instead of the higher profile old style lighting. Because fuel costs are in an upswing, and municipal and county governments are cost cutting, this is an important feature of LED light bars.
The lack of a filament is also a large benefit, since filament light bulbs can shake loose or burn out easily. LED lights are much less prone to failure. The solid state construction of an LED light makes it much more weatherproof than an incandescent or halogen bulb. The average incandescent light bulb gives approximately 1,200 hours of use, the average quartz halogen bulb gives approximately 2,000 hours of use, while the comparable LED light will give approximately 60,000 hours of use. Comparing cost of use against cost of initial investment the LED lights give a much better return on investment. And because of increased demand the cost of LED lighting has dropped since it was first introduced for use on emergency vehicles.
LED light bars often have multiple programmable flash patterns, additional clear front or side facing static lights for scene illumination, and additional red, blue or amber rear bar lights to better signal approaching motorists. Most modern lightbars do not include the siren, which is now installed separately on the front of the vehicle. The space formerly used to mount a bar siren is now used for more lighting on LED light bars which helps to ensure the safety of the user by offering additional signal light.
Because LED lights have the color integrated into the light itself the LED light bars can have clear lenses which makes them much less noticeable to other motorists when a stealthy approach is needed. The versatility of LED lightbars allow makers to offer specialized lighting for the use of different agencies such as rescue squads, road crews, tow trucks, police cars and others who need distinctive signalling capabilities.
In the US blue is the color designated for use by law enforcement vehicles. Sometimes police vehicles combine blue and red for additional visibility to widen the visibility among those suffering from one of the many types of color blindness.
Red is the color of emergency, so this color shows up on both police LED light bars and those used by other emergency services such as fire trucks, rescue squad vehicles and other first responders.
Amber is used most often by vehicles which may be moving slower than traffic, such as utility and construction vehicles. Amber LED light bars are also used on escort vehicles, security patrol cars and snowplows.
LED light bars are most often permanently mounted, but can also be purchased as magnetic attachments for situations where permanent mounting is undesirable such as part time use on a vehicle used as an escort vehicle.
An additional advantage to using LED lighting is that LED is the most environmentally friendly option for an emergency light bar.