In the state of Alaska, there are strict statutes for emergency lighting on vehicles. These rules pertain to both public and privately owned vehicles that respond to emergencies or could create traffic hazards due to their speed, size or task. Depending on the role of the vehicle, there are restrictions on the colors that are allowed to be used. There are also laws about how the lights must be displayed on the vehicles, and under what circumstances they can be used.
Police Vehicle Lights
In the state of Alaska, police vehicles are permitted to display red flashing lights or rotating red and white lights on their vehicles. Per Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.090, the lights should be mounted as high on the vehicle as reasonably possible, able to be seen from 500 feet in either direction in averge sunlight. A second light may also be mounted at the same height and in accordance with the same visibility requirements.
With permission from the police chief, the additional police light can be blue in color. According to Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.100, in order to display a blue light, the vehicle must be clearly labeled as a police department vehicle and have the municipality or organization listed. This light should only be illuminated when the vehicle is responding to an emergency, and the light must be visible from 300 feet in either direction in normal sunlight. The blue light must also be used simultaneously with the red light.
Also per code 13 AAC 04.100, private vehicles belonging to police department members may be equipped with a blue light if special permission is obtained from the police chief. The driver must be certified to provide lifesaving or medical services, and the star of life symbol must be displayed on the vehicle. Additionally, the driver must have a valid Alaska driver's license, and the motor vehicle record must be free of suspension, revocation and cancellation within the previous 3 years. The same display and illumination rules for blue lights listed above for police vehicles also apply for private vehicles.
Fire Department Lights
The rules for displaying lights and light bars on fire department vehicles are similar to police. The Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.090, allows flashing red lights or rotating red and white lights for fire vehicles owned by a municipality or borough. The lights are required to be mounted as high as is feasible, in order to be seen from 500 feet in normal sunlight. Fire department vehicles are also allowed a second light, which must be displayed at the same height and with the same visibility requirements.
Per the Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.100, fire vehicles can also display a blue light with permission from the fire chief. The vehicle must be marked as a fire department vehicle and with the name of the borough or municipality. The light must be visible from 300 feet in either direction in typical sunlight, and can only be activated when responding to an emergency. The blue light can only be used concurrently with the red light.
Code 13 AAC 04.100 also allows private vehicles belonging to fire department members to be equipped with a blue light if the fire chief gives special permission. The driver must have a valid Alaska driver's license and a clear driving record for the previous 3 years. The star of life symbol must be clearly marked on the vehicle, and the driver must be certified to administer emergency lifesaving procedures. The same display and illumination rules for blue lights apply for private vehicles as official department vehicles.
Volunteer Fire Vehicles
As an authorized emergency vehicle, volunteer fire cars and trucks can be outfitted with red lights per Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.090. They can also have rotating red and white signal lights. All lights must be mounted as high on the vehicle as possible and have visibility from 500 feet in either direction in average sunlight.
Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.100 provides that these private emergency and lifesaving vehicles can be permitted by the fire chief to display a blue signal light in addition to the red. The driver of the vehicle must be certified to provide lifesaving services and have a valid license for the state of Alaska and a clean driving record in the prior 3 years. These lights can only be used in an emergency, and must be mounted high and be visible from 300 feet in normal sunlight.
As an authorized emergency vehicle, an ambulance is able to display flashing red or rotating red and white lights per Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.090. The lights must be visible from 500 feet in either direction, and mounted as high on top of the vehicle as reasonably possible. The ambulance is also allowed to display an additional light, also mounted as high as possible, and with the same visibility requirements.
A blue light is permitted for ambulances according to Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.100. It must be clearly labeled as an emergency medical department vehicle and have the municipality or borough listed. The blue light needs to be visible from 300 feet in any direction. The light can only be activated when the vehicle is responding to an emergency, and must be used simultaneously with the red light.
Tow Truck Lights
According to Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.095, a tow truck is required to display a flashing yellow warning light that is visible at 500 feet in any direction in normal sunlight. The yellow warning light must be activated during preparation at the location from which a disabled vehicle is to be towed, as well as when the tow truck is transporting a vehicle at slower than normal speed for the traffic flow. If the disabled vehicle being towed does not have illuminated rear taillights and it is dark outside, the yellow warning light must also be activated. If the taillights, stop lights or turn signals on the tow truck are blocked by the towed vehicle, the tow truck should also have the yellow light flashing. These are the only cases in which the yellow light may be illuminated on the tow vehicle.
Construction Vehicle Lights
Vehicles used for road construction must be equipped with yellow flashing hazard lights as mandated by Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.095. These lights must be mounted at the same level and should be spaced as far apart laterally as possible. If the construction vehicle is less than 80 inches in overall width, only one warning light needs to be displayed at the rear of the vehicle. The lights must be visible up to 500 feet in any direction in normal sunlight.
For the front of the vehicle, the lights must display concurrently flashing yellow construction vehicle lights. The lights displaying warning to the rear of the vehicle must display simultaneously flashing red or yellow. The lights should be activated in circumstances including highway maintenance, inspection, survey or construction when working on or within eight feet of the roadway. The hazard lights warn other drivers of the potential traffic hazard caused by the slow moving or parked construction vehicle so that they can proceed with caution.
Utility Vehicle Lights
Similar to construction vehicles, utility vehicles must display flashing yellow hazard lights per code 13 AAC 04.095. The lights are required to be seen up to 500 feet in any direction, and to be mounted on the same level as one another.
Lights at the front of the vehicle must be yellow, and lights at the rear should be yellow or red. To warn drivers of potential traffic hazards, the lights should be illuminated when actively performing construction, removal, repair, maintenance or inspection of a public utility location. The hazard lights should also be used when the utility vehicle is parked within eight feet of a roadway or moving slower than the typical pace of traffic.
Pilot Vehicle Lights
According to Alaska Admin Code 13 AAC 04.095, pilot vehicles must display yellow flashing hazard lights when escorting an oversized load. Similar to construction and utility vehicles, the lights are required to be visible up to 500 feet. The hazard lights should only be used when actively ushering the the oversized cargo in order to warn other drivers of potential traffic hazards from the large and slower moving truck.
Security Vehicle Lights
There are no authorizations provided to security vehicles to utilize colored emergency lights under the Alaska State Statutes. Admin code 13 AAC 60.110 (http://www.akleg.gov/basis/aac.asp#13.60.100) states that security vehicles should be clearly marked with the word "security", along with the name of the agency.
Alaska does not require permits for any of their colored lights. For emergency vehicles seeking special permission to use blue lights under code 13 AAC 04.095, the instructions for how to do so can be found at the Alaska Department of Public Safety Fire and Life Safety page.
For more information about what lights may be available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: (907) 465-4308
*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.