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Tennessee Statutes

Tennessee Vehicles Permitted to Use Emergency Vehicle Lights

55-8-101(3)

(3) (A)  "Authorized emergency vehicle" means vehicles of the fire department, fire patrol, police vehicles or bicycles and emergency vehicles that are designated or authorized by the commissioner or the chief of police of an incorporated city, and vehicles operated by commissioned members of the Tennessee bureau of investigation when on official business

(B)  "Authorized emergency vehicle in certain counties" means vehicles owned by regular or volunteer firefighters in any county with a population of not less than thirty-two thousand seven hundred fifty (32,750) nor more than thirty-two thousand eight hundred (32,800), according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census, when the vehicles are used in responding to a fire alarm or other emergency call;

(C) (i)  "Authorized emergency vehicle" automatically includes every ambulance and emergency medical vehicle operated by any emergency medical service licensed by the department of health pursuant to title 68, chapter 140, part 3; and, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, regulation of these ambulances and emergency medical vehicles shall be exclusively performed by the department of health, except as provided in § 68-140-326, and no special authorization, approval or filing shall be required pursuant to this chapter by the commissioner of safety;

(ii)  "Authorized emergency vehicle" automatically includes every rescue vehicle or emergency response vehicle owned and operated by a state-chartered rescue squad, emergency lifesaving crew or active member unit of the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads and no special authorization, approval or filing shall be required for the vehicle pursuant to this chapter by the commissioner of safety;

 

55-9-414(a)(1)

(a) (1)  Except as provided in subsections (b)-(f), it is an offense for anyone to install, maintain or exhibit blue flashing emergency lights or blue flashing emergency lights in combination with red flashing emergency lights, except full-time, salaried, uniformed law enforcement officers of the state, county, or city and municipal governments of the state, and commissioned members of the Tennessee bureau of investigation when their official duties so require as defined by §§ 38-8-106 and 38-8-107.

 

55-9-402(d)

(d) (1) No vehicle operated in this state shall be equipped with any flashing lights in any color or combination of colors that display to the front of the vehicle, other than factory installed emergency flashers, except as provided in this section and for the following vehicles:

(A)  Motorcycle escorts of properly identified funeral processions authorized by § 55-8-183 to display green strobe flashing lights

(B)  Vehicles owned by or leased to licensed public or private security services but not personally owned vehicles of security guards may display flashing lights in any color other than red, white, or blue, or in any combination of colors other than red, white, or blue; provided, that the flashing lights authorized by this subdivision (d)(1)(B) for security services vehicles shall not be operated or illuminated while the vehicle is on a public road, in motion or stationary, and shall only be illuminated when patrolling a shopping center or mall parking lot or other private premises or if stopped in a hazardous location for the purposes of warning;

(C)  A highway maintenance or utility vehicle or recovery vehicle may display flashing white or amber lights or any combination of flashing white and amber lights pursuant to subsection (e);

(D)  A motor vehicle operated for purposes of an emergency equipment company pursuant to subsection (g) may display flashing red, white, blue, or amber lights or any combination of flashing red, white, blue, and amber lights; provided, that emergency equipment company vehicles shall not display or illuminate the lights authorized by this section while the vehicle is on a public road, whether in motion or stationary;

(E)  A passenger motor vehicle operated by an organ procurement organization or a person under an agreement with an organ procurement organization may display flashing white or amber lights or flashing white and amber lights in combination when transporting an organ for human transplantation;

(F)  A school bus, a passenger motor vehicle operated by a rural mail carrier of the United States postal service while performing the duties of a rural mail carrier, or an emergency vehicle used in firefighting, including ambulances, emergency vehicles used in firefighting that are owned or operated by the division of forestry, firefighting vehicles, rescue vehicles, privately owned vehicles of regular or volunteer firefighters certified in § 55-9-201(c), or other emergency vehicles used in firefighting owned, operated, or subsidized by the governing body of any county or municipality, may display flashing red or white lights or flashing red and white lights in combination; and

(G)  Authorized law enforcement vehicles and other vehicles authorized by § 55-9-414 to display flashing red, white, and blue lights in combination.

(2)  Any emergency rescue vehicle owned, titled and operated by a state chartered rescue squad, a member of the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads, privately owned vehicles of regular or volunteer firefighters certified in § 55-9-201(c), and marked with lettering at least three inches (3") in size and displayed on the left and right sides of the vehicle designating it an "Emergency Rescue Vehicle," any authorized civil defense emergency vehicle displaying the appropriate civil defense agency markings of at least three inches (3"), any ambulance or vehicle equipped to provide emergency medical services properly licensed as required in the state and displaying the proper markings, and any motor vehicle operated for purposes of an emergency equipment company pursuant to subsection (g); provided, that lights authorized by this subdivision (d)(2) for such emergency equipment company vehicle shall not be operated or illuminated while the vehicle is on a public road, whether in motion or stationary, shall also be authorized to be lighted in one (1) or more of the following manners:

(A)  A red or red/white visibar type with public address system;

(B)  A red or red/white oscillating type light; and

(C)  Blinking red or red/white lights, front and rear.

(3)  No vehicle operated in this state shall be equipped with any steady-burning lights that display to the front of the vehicle in any color other than white or amber or in any combination of colors other than white and amber, except for the following vehicles:

(A)  A vehicle equipped with headlamps, daytime running lamps, or other similar devices in any color or combination of colors between white and amber authorized by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, as adopted by the national highway traffic safety administration and compiled in 49 CFR 571.108;

(B)  A motor vehicle operated for purposes of an emergency equipment company may display steady-burning red, white, blue, or amber lights, or any combination of steady-burning red, white, blue, and amber lights pursuant to subsection (g); provided, that emergency equipment company vehicles shall not display or illuminate the lights authorized by this section while the vehicle is on a public road, whether in motion or stationary;

(C)  A school bus, a passenger motor vehicle operated by a rural mail carrier of the United States postal service while performing the duties of a rural mail carrier, or an emergency vehicle used in firefighting, including ambulances, emergency vehicles used in firefighting that are owned or operated by the division of forestry, firefighting vehicles, rescue vehicles, privately owned vehicles of regular or volunteer firefighters certified in § 55-9-201(c), or other emergency vehicles used in firefighting owned, operated, or subsidized by the governing body of any county or municipality, may display steady-burning red lights; and

(D)  Authorized law enforcement vehicles and other vehicles listed in § 55-9-414 may display steady-burning red, white, and blue lights in combination.

 

55-9-402(e)(1)

(e) (1)  (A) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, nothing in this section shall prohibit a highway maintenance or utility vehicle, or any other type vehicle or equipment participating, in any fashion, with highway or utility construction, maintenance, or inspection, from operating a white, amber, or white and amber light system on any location on the vehicle or equipment while the vehicle or equipment is parked upon, entering or leaving any highway or utility construction, maintenance, repair or inspection site.

(B)  Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a recovery vehicle designed for towing a disabled vehicle, as defined in § 55-8-132, while in the performance of duties involved with towing an abandoned, immobile, disabled or unattended motor vehicle is authorized to display an amber light that is a strobe, flashing, oscillating or revolving system or any combination of white and amber lights. Such authorized light or lights may be displayed on any location on the vehicle or equipment, other than within the headlight assembly or grill area of the vehicle, in the tail light lamp or stoplight area, or factory installed emergency flasher and backup light area.

(C)  Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, an implement of husbandry, as defined in § 55-1-108, and a vehicle used to escort an implement of husbandry is authorized to display a white, amber, or white and amber light system on any location on the implement of husbandry or escort vehicle while the implement or vehicle is on a public road, whether in motion or stationary.

(2)  As used in this subsection (e), "utility" means any person, municipality, county, metropolitan government, cooperative, board, commission, district, or any entity created or authorized by public act, private act, or general law to provide electricity, natural gas, water, waste water services, telephone service, or any combination thereof, for sale to consumers in any particular service area.

(3)  As used in subdivision (e)(2), "cooperative" means any cooperative providing utility services including, but not limited to, electric or telephone services, or both.

(4)  Nothing in this subsection (e) imposes any duty or obligation to install or utilize the lighting systems allowed in this sectio

 

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