In Georgia, there are very specific and strict laws about how what color emergency vehicle lights are displayed on emergency vehicles and how they are used. According to state statutes, Department of Transportation, police department, fire department, and public utility corporation vehicles can use emergency lighting when deemed appropriate by agencies at all levels. The state statutes for each type of vehicle are explained below.
Vehicles belonging to the police department have the widest array of lighting afforded to them by Georgia motor vehicle laws. According to statute 40-8-90, motor vehicles owned by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies can use blue emergency lights.
This law also provides that a sheriff can utilize blue lights on their own personal car in a law enforcement activity. Statute 40-80-92 explains that any marked law enforcement cars do not require a permit to display a blue light. This statute also states that police vehicles are also allowed to have amber, red and white police lights. Law enforcement vehicles not owned by the government must apply for a permit to display lights of these colors, but that the fee is waived.
Georgia state police patrol vehicles have additional regulations. State statute 40-8-91 states that the colored emergency light must be visible from 500 feet in front of and behind the vehicle. These vehicles must also be clearly marked as state patrol cars on both sides and the rear of the vehicle.
According to state statute 40-6-6, when responding to an emergent call or pursuing a suspect, police vehicles are allowed to disregard speed laws, stop signs, and general movement laws so long as their red lights are in use.
Fire Truck Lights
Federal, state and locally owned fire vehicles in Georgia have similar regulations to police vehicles. Fire trucks and vehicles can display red, white and amber emergency lights per state statute 40-80-92. These vehicles do not require a permit to display red lights when both sides of the fire vehicle are clearly marked. They do require a permit to display amber lights, however would not be required to pay the permit fee.
State statute 40-6-6 also provides leniency on traffic laws for fire department vehicles during emergent situations. Fire trucks are allowed to speed and go through red lights and stop signs as long as they are displaying their red lights. They are not allowed to display lights or disregard traffic laws when returning from a fire call.
Volunteer Fire Fighter Lights
Similar to government fire vehicles, those used by volunteer fire fighters are permitted to use red emergency lights. Under the provisions of Georgia State Statute 40-8-92, though, a permit must be filed and a fee paid in order for these privately owned vehicles to use the lights.
As these vehicles would be authorized fire emergency vehicles, similar rules apply for disregarding traffic laws in an emergency as for government owned fire vehicles, per state statute 40-6-6.
According to the Georgia state statute 40-8-92, ambulances can display red, white or amber lights. It also states that in addition to utilizing these colors in their emergency flashing lights, any ambulance meeting the definitions set forth in statute 31-11-2 do not need to apply for a permit to display a red light.
Similar to fire trucks, ambulances cannot display blue lights according to statute 40-8-90, as they are not law enforcement vehicles.
State statute 40-6-6 allows for ambulances to disregard red lights, stop signs and speed laws in addition to using their colored lights when emergent conditions require it.
Tow Truck Lights
Tow truck vehicles can use amber emergency lights per Georgia state statute 40-8-92. As these vehicles are privately owned and not used for law enforcement or emergent fire or medical services, an application must be filed for use of the amber lights, and the $2.00 fee must be paid. The permit must be renewed on an annual basis.
Construction Vehicle Lights
Georgia state statute 40-8-92 allows for construction vehicles to apply for an amber light permit. They will be subject to the $2.00 permit fee and must renew every 12 months.
For those carrying logs, poles, posts or pulpwood longer than four feet in length, the vehicle should have an amber strobe light according to statute 40-8-27. The light should be multidirectional and visible up to 500 feet in any direction. It should also be on whether the vehicle is traveling during the day or at night. These vehicles do not require a permit to display the amber lights.
Utility Vehicle Lights
Similar to construction vehicles, utility vehicles can apply for use of amber lights under statute 40-8-92. Utility vehicles will be subject to the $2.00 permit fee, as well as an annual renewal.
Pilot Vehicle Lights
Any vehicle traveling at low speeds in order to transport another vehicle must be equipped with flashing lights to signal other drivers. The state statute 40-8-35 explains that all slow moving vehicles on the roadway must display amber lighting. Furthermore, the lights are required to be displayed so that they can be seen 500 feet in front of or behind the vehicle in any weather conditions.
Per statute 40-8-92, a permit application must be submitted in order for this vehicle to obtain proper authorization to display the amber lights. A $2.00 permit fee is also required, as is renewal of the permit on a yearly basis.
Security Vehicle Lights
Security vehicles are permitted to use amber lights under the Georgia state statute 40-8-92. They must complete the appropriate application and submit the $2.00 permit fee. They also require an permit renewal every year.
Georgia State Statute 40-8-92 instructs that all vehicles utilizing emergency lights must apply for and be granted a permit. As specified above, some vehicles are exempt, particularly those owned and operated by government entities. For the remaining vehicles, a special permit will need to be applied for in order to be authorized to use the flashing colored lights. An application is completed and submitted based on the color of lights, and provides information about the type of vehicle and intended use. There is a nominal processing fee and the permit is valid for 12 months from issuance, or five years in cases of government vehicles. The application paperwork can be found here: https://dps.georgia.gov/vehicle-light-permit-amber-red-blue.
For more information about what lights may be available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 404-699-4368
*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.