Are Car Strobe Lights Illegal?

Posted by AAC Representative on

If you like to deck out your car with the latest swag, chances are that you’ve wondered at some point, “Are car strobe lights illegal?” The good news is that car strobe lights are not illegal. However, there are certain restrictions about what kinds of vehicles can use strobe lights. These restrictions vary state by state, but in general, civilians can only use car strobe lights on personal vehicles if they are in park and on private property.

Below, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about car strobe lights, such as how their color, your vehicle, and the type of road affect their legality.

Car strobe lights product photo from ORACLE Lighting

Are Car Strobe Lights Illegal for Private Vehicles?

It is legal for anyone to buy car strobe lights for their private vehicles. However, the laws surrounding the usage of strobe lights for your personal vehicle vary greatly state by state. 

By and large, in most states, car strobe lights are not allowed on public roads, but are permitted on private property. 

What does that mean in practical terms? If you’re shopping for car strobe lights for an upcoming car show, then you’re in the clear. Strobe lights will immediately wow the crowds when you’re at an auto show and you won’t have to worry about breaking the law. 

Farmers also can use strobe lights on their vehicles while on their farms. Strobe lights can help farmers patrol their fields for intruders and examine their crowd yield even when it’s dark out.

Security vehicles on private property can get a lot of use out of car strobe lights for surveillance, too. These security vehicles can patrol places ranging from business parking lots to amusement parks. 

Car strobe lights on an emergency vehicle

Car Strobe Lights for Emergency Vehicles

We’ve all seen red and blue car strobe lights on emergency vehicles like police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances. These vehicles often use their strobe lights in combination with sirens so that they can alert their fellow drivers as quickly as possible to their presence. 

Generally speaking, red and blue strobe lights, when a vehicle is on a public road, are only legal on fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. This is because these two colors are associated with emergency situations. Red and blue flashing lights immediately alert pedestrians and commercial drivers to change lanes or pull to the side of the road as needed. In most places, there is a heavy fine for attempting to impersonate a police officer by using red or blue strobe lights.

Are Car Strobe Lights Illegal for Other First Responders?

Car strobe lights are obviously legal for first responders such as those who drive police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances. But if you are another type of first responder, such as a volunteer firefighter or a physician, the answer to the question “Are car strobe lights illegal for your vehicle?” is more complicated. These laws vary greatly state by state, so you should consult with your local law enforcement or state government for further details.

Usually, even though this type of first responder might still be responding to an emergency situation, they are not allowed to use red and blue lights on public roads. However, some states allow these first responders to utilize car strobe lights in different colors. 

Green lights are considered by some states to be courtesy lights, meaning that these vehicles are requesting the right of way, but it is not mandatory that you pull over for them. These lights are often used by volunteer firefighters or volunteer EMS teams.

Car strobe lights under a dark overpass

Are Car Strobe Lights Illegal for Commercial Vehicles?

Some commercial vehicles are permitted to use strobe lights on public roads, too. Again, you will need to consult your particular state’s laws for details, but many states permit construction and utility vehicles to use strobe lights. 

The most common color strobe light nationwide for these types of commercial vehicles is yellow. There will often be certain restrictions on the use or capabilities of these strobe lights, though. Construction and utility vehicles in Ohio, for instance, can only use their amber strobe lights when they are pulled off to the side of the road. 

In some states, commercial vehicles can even use red or blue lights if they meet certain requirements related to the light’s pattern and usage. In Washington State, emergency tow trucks can use red lights so long as the light is either intermittent or revolving, and also has 360 degrees of visibility. 

Car strobe lights from ORACLE Lighting

Looking to Buy Car Strobe Lights?

Whether you’re a first responder, a farmer, or a car show enthusiast, we’ve got the car strobe lights for you. Check out our programmable strobe LED lights or our other excellent products today! 

*Please check with your local law enforcement before using the aforementioned products. ORACLE Lighting assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis at the time of publication with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


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