Texas Vehicles Permitted to Use Emergency Vehicle Lights


In this subtitle:

(1) “Authorized emergency vehicle” means:

(A) a fire department or police vehicle;

(B) a public or private ambulance operated by a person who has been issued a license by the Department of State Health Services;

(C) an emergency medical services vehicle:

(i) authorized under an emergency medical services provider license issued by the Department of State Health Services under Chapter 773, Health and Safety Code;  and

(ii) operating under a contract with an emergency services district that requires the emergency medical services provider to respond to emergency calls with the vehicle;

(D) a municipal department or public service corporation emergency vehicle that has been designated or authorized by the governing body of a municipality;

(E)  a county-owned or county-leased emergency management vehicle that has been designated or authorized by the commissioners court;

(F) a vehicle that has been designated by the department under Section 546.0065 ;

(G)  a private vehicle of a volunteer firefighter or a certified emergency medical services employee or volunteer when responding to a fire alarm or medical emergency;

(H)  an industrial emergency response vehicle, including an industrial ambulance, when responding to an emergency, but only if the vehicle is operated in compliance with criteria in effect September 1, 1989, and established by the predecessor of the Texas Industrial Emergency Services Board of the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas;

(I)  a vehicle of a blood bank or tissue bank, accredited or approved under the laws of this state or the United States, when making emergency deliveries of blood, drugs, medicines, or organs;

(J)  a vehicle used for law enforcement purposes that is owned or leased by a federal governmental entity;  or

(K)  a private vehicle of an employee or volunteer of a county emergency management division in a county with a population of more than 46,500 and less than 48,000 that is designated as an authorized emergency vehicle by the commissioners court of that county.

(2) “Bicycle” means a device that a person may ride and that is propelled by human power and has two tandem wheels at least one of which is more than 14 inches in diameter.

(3) “Bus” means:

(A) a motor vehicle used to transport persons and designed to accommodate more than 10 passengers, including the operator;  or

(B) a motor vehicle, other than a taxicab, designed and used to transport persons for compensation.



(a) Required brakes shall operate on each wheel of a vehicle except:

(1) special mobile equipment;

(2) a vehicle that is towed as a commodity when at least one set of the towed vehicle's wheels is on the roadway, if the combination of vehicles complies with the performance requirements of this chapter;  and

(3) a trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer with a gross weight heavier than 4,500 pounds but not heavier than 15,000 pounds drawn at a speed of more than 30 miles per hour, if the brakes operate on both wheels of the rear axle.

(b) A truck or truck-tractor that has at least three axles is not required to have brakes on the front wheels, but must have brakes that:

(1) operate on the wheels of one steerable axle if the vehicle is equipped with at least two steerable axles;  and

(2) comply with the performance requirements of this chapter.

(c) A trailer or semitrailer that has a gross weight of 15,000 pounds or less may use surge or inertia brake systems to satisfy the requirements of Subsection (a).

(d) Brakes shall be maintained in good working order and adjusted to operate on wheels on each side of the vehicle as equally as practicable.