It's important that emergency vehicles have ways to warn people about their presence on the road. Some emergency vehicles will use sirens. All emergency vehicles are required to have warning lights. The type and color of the warning lights will vary depending on the state. State statutes outline the specific requirements for emergency vehicles inside each state. These are the rules and regulations for Delaware, as outlined in state statute 4106.
In Delaware, emergency vehicle light laws are denoted under the Lights subchapter of Title 21 Chapter 43. According to state statute 21:4348, a police officer or police car is allowed to use flashing lights. However, the flashing headlights can only be used if the vehicle is responding to an emergency.
If a police car is being used as a command post at the site of a disaster, revolving green strobe lights can be placed on top of the car. Police are also required to use red emergency lights. This includes every police vehicle in the state, including cruisers and rigs. If the car is responding to an emergency or flagging a person down, it must be equipped with red emergency lights.
According to state statute 21:4348(d)(3), any motor vehicle currently being used by a firefighter might have flashing headlights installed. These flashing headlights must only be used if the vehicle is en route to an emergency as a first responder.
State statute 21:4356(a) outlines the guidelines for vehicles used by fire officials. A white light may be installed in the normal headlamps and used to create the flashing signals.
Statute 21:4356(b) states that a firetruck or other vehicle owned by a fire company is permitted to have blue and red strobe lights as a warning. Alternatively, they may have a combination of flashing white, red, or blue lights. The statute is not specific about whether any of these colors must be used, but at least one warning light must be placed on a vehicle that a fire company owns.
Similarly to police vehicles, if a firetruck is being used as the command center for a disaster or emergency scene, a flashing green light might be mounted on top.
Volunteer Firefighter Lights
If a volunteer firefighter has been designated as a first responder, they may have flashing headlights installed in their privately-owned vehicle. These white lights should only be activated when the firefighter is en route to the scene of an emergency. This permission is outlined in the "Additional Lighting Equipment" section of statute 21:4348(d)(3).
The statute does not make provisions for volunteer firefighters to use blue or red emergency lights. Similarly, privately-owned vehicles are not eligible to have their warning signals mounted on top of the vehicle. Instead, the white flashing headlamps must suffice.
If an emergency response technician privately owns a vehicle, but they are authorized as a first responder, they can have flashing white headlights installed in their vehicle. This is governed by state statute 21:4348(d)(3), the same statute that covers the vehicles of volunteer firefighters.
Ambulances are required to have flashing red LED lights equipped according to state statute 21:4134(b). They may also use flashing blue and white colors. An ambulance is permitted to use some combination of red, blue, and white colors; they are only required by law to have flashing red lights.
Tow Truck Lights
According to state statute 21:4338(6), tow trucks must have two reflectors. One reflector should be placed on either side of the truck. If the vehicle being loaded obscures the tow truck's brake lights, then an additional stoplight can be installed.
According to state statute 21:4134(b), tow trucks are authorized to use flashing amber and white lights to warn people about their presence. They may also use either flashing amber or white lights.
Construction Vehicle Lights
The lights permitted depend on the type of vehicle being driven and the potential load it carries. If the vehicle's load extends at least four feet beyond the vehicle's body, then red lanterns must be mounted on the sides and rear of the load, according to state statute 21:4343(a).
Otherwise, construction vehicles are required to follow the same rules as normal motor vehicles. They must have at least one white headlamp that can be seen from at least 500 feet. Additionally, two lamps that display red lights must be visible from at least 500 feet to the vehicle's rear.
Utility Vehicle Lights
State statute 21:4134(b) states that public utilities may use flashing white, amber, or a combination of white and amber lights to warn drivers about their presence. Utility vehicles follow the same rules as tow trucks.
Pilot Vehicle Lights
The Delaware Department of Transportation has issued a PDF with thirty-nine pages outlining the rules and regulations for pilot vehicles. Pilot vehicles must carry loads that have been marked well during the day and lighted during the night.
During daylight hours, pilot vehicles must use warning flags on their loads and vehicles. These flags must be orange or red, and at least eighteen square inches. Additionally, when a pilot vehicle escorts a load, it must always keep its headlights on.
Delaware does not require pilot vehicles to mount lights, but a pilot vehicle can mount a flashing amber light on the front and rear of the vehicle. This light should be visible in at least 1,000 feet during sunny daylight hours. If a vehicle opts to use warning lights, these must be mounted on the vehicle's roof.
A vehicle might use a warning light bar, which has at least four lights. All of the lights must be visible from a distance of at least 1,000 feet.
Security Vehicle Lights
Security vehicles are not considered to be emergency vehicles under Delaware state laws. There are no statutes permitting security vehicles to have special emergency signals. Instead, these vehicles must abide by the headlight requirements for all motor vehicles. They must have at least one white headlamp and at least two red brake lights.
For more information about what lights may be available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 302-739-5901
*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.