NY.gov Portal State Agency Listing
SafeNY   Emergency Vehicles and EMS

NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law Excerpts

Emergency Light
Emergency Vehicle Safety & EMS
Index & Overview

Warning PLEASE READ THIS FIRST!
These excerpts are provided for information only and NOT as the basis for legal or judicial determinations.  ALWAYS verify them against the most recent available copy of the law.  The entire Vehicle and Traffic Law, sorted by section number, is available from the New York State Legislative Bill Drafting Commission. external link

Contents

(These sections of the V&T Law are at the New York State Legislative Bill Drafting Commission.)

Article 9 Equipment of motor vehicles and motorcycles
Section 375 (41). Colored and flashing lights.
(This section is on the SafeNY website since it is part of a large section of law and would be difficult to locate.)
Article 26 Right of way
Section 1144. Operation of vehicles on approach of authorized emergency vehicles.
Section 1144-a. Operation of vehicles when approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle.
Article 33 Miscellaneous rules
Section 1217. Following emergency fire vehicles prohibited.
Section 1218. Crossing fire hose.

 


§ 375 (41). Colored and flashing lights.

41. Colored and flashing lights. The provisions of this subdivision shall govern the affixing and display of lights on vehicles, other than those lights required by law. 1. No light, other than a white light, and no revolving, rotating, flashing, oscillating or constantly moving white light shall be affixed to, or displayed on any vehicle except as prescribed herein.

2. Red lights and certain white lights. One or more red or combination red and white lights, or one white light which must be a revolving, rotating, flashing, oscillating or constantly moving light, may be affixed to an authorized emergency vehicle, and such lights may be displayed on an authorized emergency vehicle when such vehicle is engaged in an emergency operation, and upon a fire vehicle while returning from an alarm of fire or other emergency.

3. Amber lights. a. One or more amber lights may be affixed to a hazard vehicle, and such a light or lights which display an amber light visible to all approaching traffic under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of five hundred feet from such vehicle shall be displayed on a hazard vehicle when such vehicle is engaged in a hazardous operation. Such light or lights shall not be required to be displayed during daylight hours provided at least two red flags visible from a distance of five hundred feet are placed both in or on the front of, and to or on the rear of the vehicle and two such flags are placed to each side of the vehicle open to traffic. Such lights or flags need not be displayed on the vehicle when the vehicle is operating, or parked, within a barricaded work area and said lights or flags are displayed on the barricade. The provisions of this subdivision shall not prohibit the temporary affixing and display of an amber light to be used as a warning on a disabled motor vehicle or on a motor vehicle while it is stopped on a highway while engaged in an operation which would restrict, impede or interfere with the normal flow of traffic.

b. In any city in this state having a population of one million or more, one amber light may be affixed to any motor vehicle owned or operated by a volunteer member of a civilian or crime patrol provided such volunteer civilian or crime patrol member has been authorized in writing to so affix an amber light by the police commissioner of the municipality in which he patrols, which authorization shall be subject to revocation at any time by the police commissioner who issued the same or his successor in office. Such amber light may be operated by such volunteer civilian or crime patrol member in such a vehicle only when engaged in a patrol operation as defined and authorized by rules and regulations promulgated by the police commissioner and only in such a manner and at such times as may be authorized by the police commissioner pursuant to said rules and regulations.

4. Blue light.  a. One blue light may be affixed to any motor vehicle owned by a volunteer member of a fire department or on a motor vehicle owned by a member of such person's family residing in the same household or by a business enterprise in which such person has a proprietary interest or by which he or she is employed, provided such volunteer firefighter has been authorized in writing to so affix a blue light by the chief of the fire department or company of which he or she is a member, which authorization shall be subject to revocation at any time by the chief who issued the same or his or her successor in office. Such blue light may be displayed exclusively by such volunteer firefighter on such a vehicle only when engaged in an emergency operation. The use of blue lights on vehicles shall be restricted for use only by a volunteer firefighter except as otherwise provided for in subparagraph b of this paragraph.

b. In addition to the red and white lights authorized to be displayed pursuant to paragraph two of this subdivision, one or more blue lights or combination blue and red lights or combination blue, red and white lights may be affixed to a police vehicle, fire vehicle, ambulance, emergency ambulance service vehicle, and county emergency medical services vehicle provided that such blue light or lights shall be displayed on a police vehicle, fire vehicle, ambulance, emergency ambulance service vehicle, and county emergency medical services vehicle for rear projection only. In the event that the trunk or rear gate of a police vehicle, fire vehicle, ambulance, emergency ambulance service vehicle, and county emergency medical services vehicle obstructs or diminishes the visibility of other emergency lighting on such vehicles, a blue light may be affixed to and displayed from the trunk, rear gate or interior of such vehicles. Such lights may be displayed on a police vehicle, fire vehicle, ambulance, emergency ambulance service vehicle, and county emergency medical services vehicle when such vehicles are engaged in an emergency operation. Nothing contained in this subparagraph shall be deemed to authorize the use of blue lights on police vehicles, fire vehicles, ambulances, emergency ambulance service vehicles, and county emergency medical services vehicles unless such vehicles also display one or more red or combination red and white lights as otherwise authorized in this subdivision.

c. The commissioner is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations relating to the use, placement, power and display of blue lights on a police vehicle and fire vehicle.

5. Green light. One green light may be affixed to any motor vehicle owned by a member of a volunteer ambulance service, or on a motor vehicle owned by a member of such person's family, or by a business enterprise in which such person has a proprietary interest or by which he is employed, provided such member has been authorized in writing to so affix a green light by the chief officer of such service as designated by the members thereof. Such green light may be displayed by such member of a volunteer ambulance service only when engaged in an emergency operation.

As used in this paragraph volunteer ambulance service means: a. a non-profit membership corporation (other than a fire corporation) incorporated under or subject to the provisions of the membership corporations law, or any other law, operating its ambulance or ambulances on a non-profit basis for the convenience of the members thereof and their families or of the community or under a contract with a county, city, town or village pursuant to section one hundred twenty-two-b of the general municipal law; or

b. an unincorporated association of persons operating its ambulance or ambulances on a non-profit basis for the convenience of the members and their families or of the community.

6. The commissioner is authorized to promulgate regulations with respect to the affixing and display of colored lights and to promulgate specifications with respect to such lights.

7. The provisions of this subdivision forty-one shall not be applicable to vehicles from other states or from the Dominion of Canada which have entered this state to render police, fire or civil defense aid, or ambulance service, while such vehicles are here or are returning to their home stations if the lights on such vehicles comply with the laws of their home states or the Dominion of Canada and are displayed in this state in the same manner permitted by their home states or the Dominion of Canada, nor shall the provisions of this subdivision forty-one be deemed to amend, supersede or in any manner affect the provisions of the New York state defense emergency act as now in force or as it may be amended from time to time.

8. The provisions of this subdivision shall not be applicable to the driver of a vehicle from another state or foreign jurisdiction which vehicle has colored lights affixed but not revolving, rotating, flashing, oscillating or constantly moving if the lights on such vehicle comply with the laws of the state or home foreign jurisdiction in which the vehicle is registered.

 

Emergency Vehicle Safety & EMS Index & Overview