Red and Blue Police Lights — Am I Allowed to Use Them?

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I Am a Civilian — Can I Use Red and Blue Police Lights?

You probably think emergency light laws are simple — they’re a must for all first-responder vehicles, law enforcement, farm and construction vehicles, and so on. Still, civilians can’t use them on a whim because they’d be disrupting the traffic, causing panic, and just being all-around obnoxious on the road. If you’re thinking along those lines, you’re mostly correct. However, there’s more to those red and blue police lights.

Before we start, you ought to remember that laws and regulations depend on your area of residence. That alone means there isn’t one universal answer that addresses all the nuances and minutia some of you might be wondering about. However, some things are set in stone and apply on a federal level, so we’ll focus on those. If you’re looking to get into specifics, we’d advise you to get in touch with your local authorities and see what they have to say.

Flashing Lights on Civilian Vehicles

We mentioned rules and regulations and how they differ from place to place. That’s always a good starting point for one simple reason: you are usually not allowed to play pretend and try and make your vehicle resemble that of a police officer. In other words, if law enforcement vehicles in your state use a specific flashing light, you won’t be allowed to use it, too, because you’re not an officer, and pretending to be one would be a felony.

Of course, we have to clarify that that doesn’t mean you can’t use any flashing light. Restricting all kinds of emergency or flashing lights for civilian vehicles would be ridiculous for obvious reasons (hint: they save lives!). The fact that you can buy virtually all kinds of LED off road light bars at SpeedTech Lights should tell you that there’s always some room to wiggle if you want to mount something on the roof of your car.

But to get back to the topic: what if you don’t care about LED off-road lights and just want those red and blue lights you see on police cars? Is there any way you can make it work and avoid trouble with the law? Who can mount them up, and where do you even buy them?

Private Police Force

Yup, privatized police forces are a thing in many states, but the thing is, people in this line of work are still technically civilians. However, due to the nature of their work and the fact that they are often commissioned and regulated by the state, they are often allowed to use the same flashing lights as regular police.

You can most commonly see these kinds of special forces in areas such as schools, hospitals, railroad stations, etc. If you’re looking to join their ranks, you will likely be free to acquire and use the same kind of red and blue warning lights as regular police.


Volunteering is one of the most unselfish things you can do to help those in need and keep your community safe. Depending on the situation, your volunteer work might very well resemble police work, for example, if someone is missing or a natural disaster needs dealing with.

In such situations, although civilians, volunteers usually have the green light to use the same flashing lights as police. Actually, in some areas, they might be obligated to put up at least some kind of warning light or sirens on their vehicles while they’re actively on duty.


Red and Blue Police Lights for Use on Private Property

Many rules and regulations regarding flashing lights only fly on public roads. If you plan on driving on your private property, you will most likely be free to use any kind of warning lights on your vehicle. However, as soon as you hit a public road, you will be subject to the same rules as everyone else. And that doesn’t mean you’ll have to worry about lights only — there are brightness, flash pattern, and placement restrictions, too, so you won’t be able to mount those lights wherever and however, you want.

Specially Permitted Civilians

Depending on your background, you might look into getting a permit for flashing lights, for example, if you’re a doctor. You have to remember, though, that not even police officers are allowed to use sirens and flashing lights whenever they want. There are strict traffic rules at play, both when it comes to the actual law and road etiquette. In other words, even if you get a permit for them, you will only be allowed to use your lights in an emergency. Otherwise, you’ll only be disrupting public order, and you might get your permit and license revoked.

Buying Flashing Lights

Now that you know who and when can use police lights, you’re probably wondering whether you can buy them and where. The short answer is yes — you can buy any kind of flashing light for your car. As with everything else, you need to make sure you find a reputable retailer if you want to get your money’s worth, which is why we recommend SpeedTech Lights.

SpeedTech boasts a vast catalogue of high-quality, affordable, and sleek off-road LED light bars, dash lights, flush mounts, and warning spotlights by some of the world’s leading manufacturers, so you won’t have any trouble finding something that fits your budget and meets your needs and taste.

The highly knowledgeable and professional SpeedTech team is at your service if you have questions about lighting types or installation.

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