Emergency Vehicle lights are used as safety devices throughout the United States. Lights are used for more than signaling or as a visual aid. There are many lights used by emergency and service vehilces. Each state has rules and regulations that cover a variety of vehicles that make use of emergency or warning lights.
In the state of Colorado, only designated vehicles are allowed to use warning or emergency lights. This legal status is touched on in Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-238. What follows are the statutes that cover various vehicles used by government and private vehicles.
Note: The Colorado.gov website does not host an online list of Colorado Statutes. Instead, they direct users to advance.lexis.com, a third party company that hosts the state's statutes online.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-213, police vehicles are required to have at least one signal lamp mounted as high as practically possible on the vehicle. This police light must be a flashing, oscillating, or rotating red light that can be seen from the front or rear at 500-feet in the daytime. It should be noted that designated undercover vehicles are exempt from this statute.
In addition, the vehicle may display additional blue, white, or blue and white combination lights. These lights can be of the flashing, oscillating, or rotating variety. Also, a vehicle designated as a command post vehicle can use green flashing lights. These lights are allowed to be used at a single designated command post location that is stationary.
This state statute applies to city, sherriff, and state patrol vehicles.
Fire Truck Lights
As a designated emergency vehicle, statutes covering fire truck emergency lights fall under Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-213. These emergency vehicles are required to have, at a minimum, one signal lamp mounted on the vehicle at the highest practical location possible. This light must be red and can be a flashing, oscillating, or rotating lamp. It must be visible from the front and from the rear at a distance of 500-feet during normal daylight.
Fire emergency vehicles are also allowed to display additional lamps in blue, white, or a combination of blue and white colors. These lamps can flash, oscillate, or rotate during use. Should the vehicle become designated as a command post during a disaster or emergency, it may display green lights that flash. The vehicle must be stationary and only one vehicle may display this color of lights.
This state statute applies to all fire emergency vehicles no matter its jurisdiction.
Volunteer Fire Fighter Lights
Volunteer fire fighters who regularly serve in a fire department organized within towns, counties, cities, or districts within Colorado are permitted to equip signal lamps on their private vehicles. According to Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-222, these personal vehicles may display a single or combination of signal lamps. These lights may may be flashing, oscillating, or rotating in nature.
These lights must be visible in the front and the rear of the vehicle at a distance of 500-feet during the day. These lights must be red in color. If additional lights are displayed besides the primary lamp, the colors must be white or a combination of red and white. At least one lamp must be mounted to the top of the personal vehicle.
These lights can only be displayed upon receiving a permit to do so. This provision permits the use of these lights for funerals, parades, and special occasions that will not lead a person to believe that they are responding to an emergency.
Statutes concerning emergency lights on ambulances are covered in Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-213. There must be at least one lamp mounted on the highest practical location. It can flash, oscillate, or rotate and must be red in color. Additional lights may be mounted that display blue, white, or a combination of blue and white. These lights can flash, oscillate, or rotate during use.
Volunteer ambulance attendants can mount emergency lamps with a permit. The statutes covering volunteer rules are covered in Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-222. Their personal vehicle may have one or more signal lamps that flash, oscillate, or rotate. At least one light must be mounted to the top of the vehicle and display the color red. Additional lights may display white or a combination of red and white.
The main red strobe light on an ambulance or volunteer vehicles must be visible from the front or the rear at a distance of 500-feet in normal daylight.
Tow Truck Lights
Tow trucks are covered as a service vehicle under Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-214. These vehicles may be equipped with one or more lights. These lights must be mounted as high as practically possible. They must be visible from all directions and can flash, oscillate, or rotate. The color of the lights must be yellow. No other color or combination of colors can be used.
The lights may only be used when the vehicle is on the open road and it presents a hazard to traffic. They should be visible during the day up to 500-feet away and in all directions. Only the Colorado Public Commission can authorize a vehicle for tow truck lights, and owners must apply for a permit.
Construction Vehicle Lights
Construction vehicles fall into the service vehicle category and light use is covered under Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-214. The vehicle must display at least a single lamp, but can use multiple lights. These lights must be yellow in color. Other colors, or combinations of colors, are not allowed. The lights must be mounted as high as practically possible and can flash, oscillate, or rotate. They should display in all directions up to 500-feet away in all directions in normal sunlight.
Exceptions For Service Vehicles Used For Plowing Snow
According to Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-214, government designated vehicles used for plowing snow may display two blue lights in addition to the standard yellow lamp. These lights can flash, oscillate, or rotate during operation. These lights must be visible from 500-feet away in the day and be seen from all directions.
Utility Vehicle Lights
Vehicles operated by companies providing power, telephone, and sanitation services fall under service vehicle statutes. According to Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-214, these vehicles may display on yellow colored lights only. They must display at least one lamp, but may use more than one. The strobe lights must be mounted as high as practically possible and can flash, oscillate, or rotate during use.
The lights must show in all directions at a distance of 500-feet in all directions.
Vehicles that escort over-sized loads on roads in the state of Colorado are required to use lights as a service vehicle. According to Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-214, these vehicles must have at least one lamp that displays in all directions. It must be visible from 500-feet during the day and has to be yellow in color. More than one light may be used. All lights must be mounted as high as practically possible.
These lights can flash, oscillate, or rotate when in use. The state of Colorado requires drivers to take certification classes from USPilotCar.com. Operators driving as escorts must complee a certification checklist as well in order to use these lights.
Security Vehicle Lights
Vehicles operated by a company offering security services may use lighting as covered by service vehicles in Colorado Revised Statutes C.R.S. 42-4-214. They may use one or more lights, mounted as high as practically possible on the vehicle. They must be visible from all directions at a distance of 500-feet in normal daylight. Thee lights must be yellow in color and can flash, oscillate, or rotate when in use.
For more information about what lights may be available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 303-273-1616
*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.