Pennsylvania Vehicles Permitted to Use Emergency Vehicle Lights


Emergency vehicle—A fire, police or sheriff department vehicle, ambulance, blood-delivery vehicle, hazardous material response vehicle, armed forces emergency vehicle, one vehicle operated by a coroner or chief deputy coroner or deputy chief county medical examiner used for answering emergency calls. The term includes motor vehicles under 75 Pa.C.S. §  6106 (relating to designation of emergency vehicles by Pennsylvania State Police), or a privately-owned vehicle specified in 75 Pa.C.S. §  102 (relating to definitions) which is used in answering an emergency call by any of the following:

     (i)   A police chief and assistant chief.

     (ii)   A fire chief, assistant chief and, when a fire company has three or more fire vehicles, a second or third assistant chief.

     (iii)   A fire police captain and fire police lieutenant.

     (iv)   An ambulance corps commander and assistant commander.

     (v)   A river rescue commander and assistant commander.

     (vi)   A county emergency management coordinator.

     (vii)   A fire marshall.

     (viii)   A rescue service chief and assistant chief.



(a)  Color. White, clear, red, blue, amber or yellow are the only colors permitted for use in flashing or revolving lights.

   (1)  Chromaticity coordinates. A flashing, revolving or oscillating light must meet or exceed the Chromaticity Coordinates, CIE 1931, Standard Colorimetric System as provided in SAE Standard J578d, Color Specification for Electrical Signal Lighting Devices, September 1978 or subsequent SAE Standards. This requirement does not apply to flashing headlamp systems.

   (2)  Red lights. A vehicle may display red lights as provided by 75 Pa.C.S. §  4571 (relating to visual and audible signals on emergency vehicles).

   (3)  Blue lights. A vehicle may display blue lights as provided for by 75 Pa.C.S. §  4572(a) (relating to visual signals on authorized vehicles). Vehicles described in 75 Pa.C.S. §  4572(a) may be equipped with a light-bar assembly using only blue lights. See Figure 3.1.

   (4)  Combination red-and-blue lights. Vehicles listed under 75 Pa.C.S. §  4571(b) may display combination red-and-blue lights. The privately-owned vehicles defined as an emergency vehicle under 75 Pa.C.S. §  102 (relating to definitions) must be equipped under 75 Pa.C.S. §  4571(a).

   (5)  Yellow or amber lights. A vehicle may display yellow or amber lights as follows:

     (i)   Under 75 Pa.C.S. §  4572(b), an authorized vehicle as defined in 75 Pa.C.S. §  102 and designated in Chapter 15 (relating to authorized vehicles and special operating privileges) may be equipped with flashing or revolving yellow or amber lights or one or more light-bar assemblies containing only yellow or amber lights. See Figure 3.1.



The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Authorized vehicle—The term as defined in 75 Pa.C.S. §  102 (relating to definitions).

   Emergency vehicle—The term as defined in 75 Pa.C.S. §  102.

   Flash—An intermittent burst of light.

   Flash rate—The rate of flash, revolution or oscillation per minute of a single light, when that light is observed from a fixed position.

   Flashing headlamp system—A system designed to automatically flash the high intensity—high beam—portion of the headlamps of a vehicle in either an alternate or simultaneous flash. The system shall be designed so that activation of the high intensity—high beam—portion of the standard headlamp system overrides the flashing headlamp system.

   Flashing light—A light designed to flash by current interruption, or by other means providing an intermittent change in intensity when the light is observed from a fixed position.

   Hazard warning system—Driver-controlled flashing front and rear lights used to warn approaching motorists when a vehicle is broken down or is traveling at a slow speed.

   Intersection light—A flashing red, blue, white, or clear light used as part of a flashing, oscillating, or revolving light system to enhance the visibility of an emergency vehicle from the front and side as it approaches or travels through an intersection.

   Light activation indicator—An audible signal or an illuminated switch or pilot light which provides the driver of an emergency or authorized vehicle with a clearly audible or visible and continual indicator that a flashing or revolving light, flashing headlamp system, traffic control emergency directional light or authorized nonflashing or nonrevolving light is activated.

   Light-bar assembly—A device or devices designed and constructed to provide and display more than one steady burning, flashing, oscillating or revolving light.

   Oscillating light—A light designed to flash by movement back and forth between two or more points, including the alternation between the maximum and minimum voltage.

   Revolving light—A light designed to give the appearance of flashing by its rotation around a fixed axis through a 360° arc, on a horizontal plane.

   Single light—A device containing one or more lenses, lamps or bulbs which are designed to produce, when viewed from a fixed position or point, the appearance of one flashing or revolving beam of light.

   Traffic control emergency directional light assembly—A device electronically designed to display amber or yellow warning signal lights in a distinctive motion-lighting pattern—arrow left, arrow right, center out or alternately flashing—to warn motorists that they are approaching a hazard or to direct them around an impending hazard.

   Unmarked police vehicle—A police vehicle not equipped with a roof-mounted light-bar assembly. The vehicle may display graphics, markings or decals, identifying the agency or department.



(ii)   An authorized vehicle which is used in the construction, repair or maintenance of a bridge or highway maybe equipped with traffic control emergency directional light assemblies.