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Wisconsin Statutes

Wisconsin Vehicles Permitted to Use Emergency Vehicle Lights

340.01(3)

“Authorized emergency vehicle" means any of the following:

(a) Police vehicles, whether publicly or privately owned, including bicycles being operated by law enforcement officers.

(b) Conservation wardens' vehicles, foresters' trucks, or vehicles used by commission wardens, whether publicly or privately owned.

(c) Vehicles of a fire department or fire patrol.

(d) Privately owned motor vehicles being used by deputy state fire marshals or by personnel of a full-time or part-time fire department or by members of a volunteer fire department while en route to a fire or on an emergency call pursuant to orders of their chief or other commanding officer.

(dg) Privately owned motor vehicles being used by an organ procurement organization, or by any person under an agreement with an organ procurement organization, to transport organs for human transplantation or to transport medical personnel for the purpose of performing human organ harvesting or transplantation immediately after the transportation.

(dh) Privately owned motor vehicles being operated in the course of a business and being used, in response to an emergency call from a treating physician or his or her designee declaring the transportation to be an emergency, to transport medical devices or equipment to a hospital or ambulatory surgery center, or to pick up medical devices or equipment for immediate transportation to a hospital or ambulatory surgery center, if the medical devices or equipment are to be used for human implantation or for urgent medical treatment immediately after the transportation.

(dm) Privately owned motor vehicles that are all of the following:

1. Designated or authorized by an ambulance service or rescue squad chief in writing annually.

2. Used by an emergency medical services practitioner licensed under s. 256.15 or an ambulance driver or emergency medical responder authorized by the chief of an ambulance service or rescue squad.

(e) Emergency vehicles of municipal or county departments or public service corporations that are designated or authorized by the local authorities to be authorized emergency vehicles.

(f) Emergency vehicles of state departments that are designated or authorized by the heads of those departments to be authorized emergency vehicles.

(g) Publicly owned ambulances that are designated or authorized by local authorities to be authorized emergency vehicles.

(h) An emergency vehicle authorized by the county board of supervisors of any county for use by the county coroners or medical examiners for traveling to the scene of a fatal accident or a death and on any other occasions that are authorized under par. (e).

(i) Privately owned ambulances that are operated by their owners or by their owners' agents and that are authorized in writing by the sheriff or others designated by the county board as emergency vehicles. The authorization is effective throughout the state until rescinded. The sheriff or others designated by the county board may designate any owner of ambulances usually kept in the county to operate those ambulances as authorized emergency vehicles. The written authorization shall at all times be carried on each ambulance used for emergency purposes. The sheriff shall keep a file of authorizations made under this paragraph in the sheriff's office for public inspection, and all other persons permitted to issue authorizations under this paragraph shall file a copy of all authorizations issued with the sheriff.

(j) Vehicles operated by federal, state or local authorities for the purpose of bomb and explosive or incendiary ordnance disposal.

 

347.25(1)(a)

A police vehicle under s. 340.01 (3) (a) may be equipped with a blue light and a red light which are flashing, oscillating or rotating.

 

347.26

(1)General restrictions. A vehicle need not be equipped with the lamps specified in this section, but if a vehicle is equipped with any such lamps, no person shall operate such vehicle on a highway during hours of darkness unless such lamps comply with the requirements of this section and no person shall use such lamps in a manner inconsistent with this section.

(2)Spotlamps.

(a) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not more than 2 spotlamps.

(b) No spotlamp shall be used as a substitute for headlamps. No spotlamp shall be used as an auxiliary driving light on any motor vehicle except when such spotlamp is set or adjusted so that the rays of light are projected directly upon the road surface at a distance not exceeding 150 feet directly in front of the vehicle and to the right of the center of the traveled roadway. No spotlamp shall project any glaring light into the eyes of an approaching driver.

(3)Adverse weather lamps.

(a) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not more than 2 adverse weather lamps which shall be mounted on the front of the vehicle below the level of the centers of the headlamps.

(b) Adverse weather lamps shall not be used in lieu of headlamps unless absolutely necessary in case of rain, snow, dust or fog and then only when a vehicle is equipped with 2 adverse weather lamps mounted on opposite sides of the front of the vehicle and when both such adverse weather lamps are lighted. Whenever any vehicle is equipped with only one adverse weather lamp, both headlamps of such vehicle shall be lighted at all times when such adverse weather lamp is lighted.

(4)Back-up lamps.

(a) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not more than 2 back-up lamps which shall be so directed as to project a white or amber light illuminating the roadway to the rear of such vehicle for a distance not to exceed 75 feet.

(b) No lighted back-up lamp shall be displayed on any vehicle upon a highway except when such vehicle is about to be or is being driven backward. Whenever a back-up lamp is lighted during hours of darkness, the tail lamp or tail lamps on the vehicle displaying such lighted back-up lamp also shall be lighted.

(5)Identification lamps on taxicabs and buses. No person shall operate a motor vehicle regularly used for transporting passengers for hire displaying any lighting device for identification purposes other than a single illuminated sign or lighted lamp mounted above the top line of the windshield, colored white, amber or green. Such illuminated sign or lamp shall be so constructed as to emit a steady or flashing nonglaring light.

(6)Warning lamps on tow trucks and service vehicles.

(a) Any vehicle which by reason of its use upon a highway creates a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing shall be equipped with a flashing or rotating amber lamp of the dome type at the highest practicable point, visible from a distance of 500 feet, or 2 flashing amber lamps, one showing to the front and one showing to the rear, visible from a distance of 500 feet and mounted approximately midway between the extremities of the width of the vehicle and at the highest practicable point. Such amber lamp or lamps shall be lighted when such vehicle is moving a disabled vehicle along or upon a public highway at a speed below the average speed of motor vehicle traffic on such street or highway and may not be lit at other times.

(b) Operators of tow trucks or towing vehicles shall equip each tow truck or towing vehicle with a flashing or rotating red lamp, in addition to flashing type amber lamps. Such lamp shall be placed on the dome of the vehicle at the highest practicable point visible from a distance of 500 feet. This flashing red lamp shall be used only when such vehicle is standing on or near the traveled portion of a highway preparatory to towing or servicing the disabled vehicle.

(7)Warning lamps on certain highway vehicles. Any vehicle of the department or a county or municipal highway department which by reason of its use upon a highway creates a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing may be equipped with a flashing red or amber lamp of the dome-light type or with 2 flashing red or amber lamps, one showing to the front and one showing to the rear. Such lamp or lamps shall be mounted approximately midway between the extremities of the width of the vehicle and at the highest practicable point and shall be used only for the purpose of warning operators of other vehicles of the presence of the traffic hazard.

(8)Warning lamps for mail delivery vehicles. Any vehicle used for mail delivery may be equipped with a flashing amber lamp or strobe light mounted at the highest practicable point and showing to the front and rear that may be used only to warn other motorists of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing when the vehicle is being used to deliver mail.

(9)Warning lamps on public utility and cooperative vehicles. Any vehicle of a public utility as defined in s. 196.01 (5), of a telecommunications carrier, as defined in s. 196.01 (8m), or of a cooperative association organized under ch. 185 for the purpose of producing or furnishing heat, light, power or water to its members, which by reason of its use upon a highway creates a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing may be equipped with a flashing amber lamp of the dome type or with 2 flashing amber lamps, one showing to the front and one showing to the rear. Such lamps shall be mounted approximately midway between the extremities of the width of the vehicle and at the highest practicable point and shall be used only for the purpose of warning operators of other vehicles of the presence of the traffic hazard. Should such vehicle be of a type so as to make impractical the mounting of such lamps midway between the extremities of the width of the vehicle then such mountings shall be made at or near the upper left front and rear corners of such vehicle.

(10)Flashing amber light on oversize vehicle. Any vehicle moving on the highway pursuant to an oversize permit issued under s. 348.25, 348.26 or 348.27 may be equipped with a flashing amber dome light upon the cab of such vehicle or with double faced flashing amber light mounted along the sides of such vehicle mounted and used when the movement is oversize.

(11)Flashing warning lamps.

(a) Any vehicle may be equipped with lamps which may be used for the purpose of warning the operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing, and when so equipped may display such warning in addition to any other warning signals required by this section. The lamps used to display such warning to the front shall be mounted at the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable, and shall display simultaneously flashing white or amber lights, or any shade of color between white and amber. The lamps used to display such warning to the rear shall be mounted at the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable, and shall show simultaneously flashing amber or red lights, or any shade of color between amber and red. These warning lights shall be visible from a distance of not less than 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions at night. Directional signals meeting the requirements of this chapter shall be used or lamps meeting these requirements, mounted so as to comply with turn signal installation.

(am) In addition to any other lamps authorized under this subsection, a motor truck having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds may be equipped with a 360-degree flashing or rotating amber light mounted at the highest practicable point. The flashing or rotating amber lamp may be lighted only when the motor truck is upon a highway having a maximum speed limit of more than 35 miles per hour and the motor truck is traveling 10 or more miles per hour below the maximum speed limit, is stopped, or is backing on such highway. The flashing or rotating amber lamp may not be lit at other times.

(b) Whenever any vehicle other than an automobile, which is equipped as permitted in par. (a), is stopped for more than 10 minutes on the traveled portion of any highway, or shoulder thereof, during hours of darkness, the driver of such vehicle shall display warning signals as required by s. 347.29.

History: 1977 c. 29 s. 1654 (8) (a); 1983 a. 53 s. 114; 1985 a. 204; 1989 a. 134, 336; 1993 a. 496; 2005 a. 38.

Cross-reference: See also ss. Trans 305.075, 305.08, 305.10, and 305.11, Wis. adm. code.

 

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