New Hampshire Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

new-hampshireEach state has different state statutes that govern the use of warning lights on emergency vehicles. Different colors signify different purposes and levels of emergency. To find out important information about each state's lights, it's best to get in contact with that state's DMV or state trooper office. That said, these are the basic rules for New Hampshire.

New Hampshire outlines the definition of emergency vehicles in state statute 259:28. Any vehicle driven by a firefighter, emergency medical service officer, or police officer is considered an emergency vehicle that can use emergency vehicle lights.

Police Lights

State statute 266:78-b says that blue emergency lights are restricted to law enforcement officials. Police cars must use blue lights. Additionally, New Hampshire police lights include red lighting and light bars that have directional arrows in yellow or amber. It's not required for a police car to use red or amber lighting as long as blue police lights have already been employed. Strobe lights are used only by police cars in the state of New Hampshire, and in many cases solid colored lights will serve just fine.

Firetruck Lights

Because of state statute 266:78-c, firetrucks must use red lights when en route to an emergency. If a firetruck has been equipped with any kind of light bar, they can use yellow and amber lights to create directional arrows.

Volunteer Fire fighter Lights

State statute 266:78-c also defines the vehicles operated by volunteer fire fighters as emergency vehicles. These emergency response vehicles are authorized to use red lights as well. In addition, fire wardens may use red lights upon their privately owned vehicles. For the use of these red lights to be approved, however, the person must receive authorization from their head of department.

Ambulance Lights

Statute 266:78-c also outlines the use of red lights for ambulances. Both public and private ambulances may use red lights. Additionally, if they have received authorization from their current department heads, members of a medical emergency response team may use red lights on their privately owned vehicles.

Tow Trucks Lights

Tow trucks don't have any particular special lighting regulation in the state of New Hampshire. If a tow truck needs to warn people to get out of a lane, it would be considered a warning vehicle. Warning vehicles are allowed to use red lights in the state of New Hampshire. That said, a warning vehicle doesn't have the ability to use yellow or amber lights, or arrow boards with yellow or amber lights.

Construction Vehicle Lights

new-hampshire-state-flagConstruction vehicles must abide by all light restrictions set by the state. This means that they cannot shine spotlights onto the road or mount their headlamps at distances from the ground that haven't been approved by the state. If a construction vehicle needs to drive in the road, it should be paired with an escort vehicle that is authorized to use emergency warning lights.

Utility Vehicle Lights

If a utility vehicle is in the midst of working, they may use red lights to warn other drivers about the potential hazards. However, they also cannot use amber lights or directional arrows. If a directional arrow must be used, another backup police car or emergency vehicle must arrive and mount said arrow.

Pilot Vehicle Lights

When a pilot vehicle is escorting a heavy load, the driver is permitted to use amber lights mounted on the top of the vehicle. One pilot vehicle must drive in front of every heavy haul load in the state. Depending on the size of the load, another pilot vehicle might drive behind. The types of pilot vehicles used depends on the load's size, the amount of distance being traveled, and whether or not the load will be crossing state borders.

Security Vehicle Lights

Security vehicles that drive around mall parking lots are not operated by law enforcement officers. As such, they don't have the jurisdiction to use emergency lights. Each security vehicle should be equipped with headlamps that reflect what a motor vehicle of that type would use.

These are all just basic rules regarding the use of emergency lights in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is unique in letting so many different emergency vehicles use red lighting, but it's unusual that tow trucks and other service vehicles aren't permitted to use amber lights. Because of the differences between this and most other states, it's important that anyone using emergency lights read up on the statutes before they go out.

For more information about what lights may be available to you, we suggest calling your State Highway Patrol office at: 603-271-3575

*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.