This article was written by a contributing author, and is not meant to be taken as legal advice, nor is it intended to replace the state statutes. Do your due diligence, cross-check the statutes linked, and communicate with your local municipalities, registrar, or commissioner to ensure that you remain compliant and avoid costly fees.
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Nebraska State Statutes surrounding LED warning lights, and emergency lights are fairly straightforward and standard for most states. There are some slight deviations so pay extra attention to your industry’s rules and regulations to avoid costly fees and fines.
Note: Nebraska State Statute 60-610 explicitly defines an authorized emergency vehicle as:
- Police Vehicles
- Fire Department Vehicles
- Rescue Vehicles
- Publicly Own Ambulance
- Publicly or Privately Owned Vehicles as Designated by the Director of Motor Vehicles
- Publicly or Privately Own Military Vehicles of the National Guard
No other vehicle qualifies as an authorized emergency vehicle and cannot display or use LED lights in the same manner.
Law Enforcement Statutes
Police, Marshall, and Sheriff Vehicles
A police vehicle or law enforcement vehicle may display a rotating or flashing red light or red and white alternately flashing emergency light. A blue flashing or rotating light may also be displayed with the flashing or rotating red light or red and white lights per Nebraska State Statute 60-6,231. Nebraska law does not go into light placement and the distance the light needs to be visible.
Volunteer Peace officers must obtain a written permit endorsed by their superior to utilize their vehicle as an authorized emergency vehicle and use the red lights or red and white flashing lights. They must be on the way to an emergency scene to be permitted to use their emergency lights.
A police vehicle is permitted to disregard the posted speed limit and any other traffic law for the sake of reaching the scene of an emergency swiftly, according to Nebraska State Statute 60-6,114. They must do so with due regard to the safety of every other motorist on the road or highway to prevent an accident from occurring. When disregarding traffic laws, the police vehicle or law enforcement vehicle must utilize its flashing lights to alert traffic of the hazard created. A siren is not necessary.
Traffic must yield to a police vehicle when it is displaying its emergency flashing lights. This is typically an indicator that they are actively on their way to an emergency. This is done by either changing lanes, slowing down, or pulling off the motorway completely to allow for the safe operation and passage of the law enforcement vehicle.
Fire and EMS Statues
Fire Trucks and Fire Chief SUVs
A fire truck or fire vehicle may display a flashing or rotating red light or red and white flashing lights when operated as an emergency vehicle. They may also implement a blue light within the red and white flashing lights. This is unique as most states only allow the blue lights to be exclusively used by police vehicles. This is all covered and addressed under Nebraska State Statute 60-6,231. These LED emergency lights may only be used while traveling to an emergency, according to Nebraska State Statute 60-6,233.
When utilizing their emergency lights, they must also use an audible signal that is either a bell, siren, or exhaust whistle when reasonably necessary with a red light visible to the front of the fire truck or fire vehicle at 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions.
Nebraska State Statute 60-6,114 allows a fire truck and other fire vehicles to disregard the posted speed limit or any other traffic law for the sake of arriving quickly at the scene of an emergency. They must do so with due regard to the safety of all other motorists on the roadway to prevent a car accident.
All traffic and motorists on the roadway must yield to a fire vehicle displaying their emergency lights. This is done by either changing lanes, slowing down significantly, or pulling off the roadway completely to allow safe operation and passage for the authorized emergency vehicle and emergency personnel.
Volunteer Fire Fighter Vehicles
Volunteer fire vehicles operate identically to publicly owned and operated fire trucks or vehicles where they are to use a rotating red light or red and white flashing lights. They may also implement a blue light in conjunction with the red and white emergency lights. This is addressed under Nebraska State Statute 60-6,231. The only difference between public fire vehicles and volunteer fire vehicles is that the volunteer must obtain permission from the county sheriff in writing, and it must be endorsed by their superior and kept on their person at all times when responding to an emergency. They must also be on the way to the scene of an emergency to use their emergency lights Nebraska State Statute 60-6,233
When utilizing their emergency lights and operating as an authorized emergency vehicle, they must also use an audible signal such as a bell, siren, or exhaust whistle. They must also display a red light to the front of the volunteer fire vehicle visible at 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions and sunlight.
Just like public fire trucks and vehicles, a volunteer fire vehicle may disregard the posted speed limit and any other traffic law to arrive quickly at the scene of an emergency. They are required to do so with due regard to the safety of all other motorists on the roadway so that they do not cause an accident requiring more emergency aid.
All other motorists on the roadway are required by law to yield to a volunteer fire vehicle when displaying their LED emergency lights. This is done by changing lanes to allow the safe operation of emergency personnel on the side of the roadway, slowing down, or pulling off the roadway completely to provide the volunteer fire vehicle with safe passage.
Ambulance and EMT Vehicles
Nebraska State Statute 60-6,231 requires an ambulance to have a flashing or rotating red light or red and white emergency lights to be used when operating as an authorized emergency vehicle. They are also required to use an audible signal such as a bell, siren, or exhaust whistle and must have a red light visible to the front at 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions and sunlight when doing so.
Volunteer medical emergency personnel must obtain permission from their county’s sheriff in writing, and the volunteer’s superior must endorse it. This permission must be kept on the volunteer’s person at all times and can be revoked if misused.
Per Nebraska State Statute 60-6,114, an ambulance or emergency personnel operating an authorized emergency vehicle for EMS may disregard the posted speed limit and any other traffic law while using their LED emergency light to safely and quickly arrive at the scene of an emergency. They must do so while using an audible signal such as a bell, siren, or exhaust whistle. In addition, they are also required to do so with due regard to the safety of traffic and other motorists on the roadway to prevent an accident.
It is compulsory for all traffic and motorists on the roadway to yield to an ambulance or vehicle operated by medical emergency personnel when displaying their emergency lights and using their bell, siren, or whistle. This is done by changing lanes, slowing down, or pulling off the roadway completely to allow for the safe operation and passage of medical emergency personnel.
Commercial and Amber Statutes
Nebraska state law does not allow any security vehicle to operate on the roadway using any form of emergency lighting that is either flashing or rotating per Nebraska State Statute 60-6,230. Please get in touch with your local municipalities for any exceptions or provisions for using any other LED light indicators that your fleet may be able to utilize.
Wreckers and Tow Trucks
Nebraska State Statute 60-6,233 allows for a tow truck or wrecker to have rotating or flashing red lights and may have a blue light when engaged in emergency services at the scene of an accident or when providing service to a disabled vehicle. The tow trucker driver must have obtained a permit from the county sheriff in writing that they must carry on their person at all times. This permit can be revoked at any time for any reason surrounding the misuse of their led emergency lights.
It is not explicitly mentioned in Nebraska law, but it is generally required for traffic to yield to a tow truck or emergency roadside assistance vehicles when servicing a disabled vehicle while displaying their emergency lights. This is done by slowing down or changing lanes to allow for the safe operation of emergency roadside personnel.
Tractors are not explicitly mentioned in Nebraska law when it comes to the use of LED emergency lighting. Generally, an amber beacon or amber light is permitted for use on a tractor to indicate a possible hazard on the roadway. Please contact your local municipalities before using or not using emergency lighting so that you are not violating the restrictions outlined in Nebraska State Statute 60-6,233.
Nebraska State Stature 60-6,232 allows a public or private utility vehicle to use a rotating or flashing amber light or lights when responding to and when operating on or near the roadway. They must be actively responding to a roadside emergency where their services are necessary to display their LED emergency lighting.
Pilot and Escort Vehicles
Pilot vehicles may display a flashing or rotating amber light or amber lights when piloting an oversized load, according to Nebraska State Stature 60-6,232. There are no indicators as to where light placement is required or visibility distance. Oversized loads include but are not limited to the transportation of a mobile home, farm equipment, livestock transportation vehicles, and more.
Nebraska State Stature 60-6,232 allows for a construction vehicle to display an amber beacon or flashing or rotating amber lights when operating on the side of the roadway. This is to indicate to traffic that there may be a potential roadway safety hazard that they need to be aware of to prevent an accident.
Traffic is not required to yield to a moving construction vehicle, but when passing a construction site, they are required to change lanes or slow down to allow for the safe operation of the construction crew on the side of the roadway.
A funeral procession is generally not explicitly mentioned in most state laws when it comes to emergency lighting, but Nebraska allows them to qualify for the same lighting as an authorized emergency vehicle. This means that, per Nebraska State Statute 60-6,231, that they may display a red light or red and white rotating lights along with a blue light mixed in. The use of blue lighting is also unique as that is almost always reserved for police and is rarely permitted to be used on other authorized emergency vehicles such as fire or medical.
Emergency Lights On Personal Vehicles
Outside the use of red and white rotating emergency lights permitted by the sheriff for volunteer emergency personnel when operating their personal car or truck as an authorized emergency vehicle, there are no other permissions granted for LED emergency lights on private vehicles.
Ensure that you are contacting your local municipalities to double-check if any permits are necessary for your fleet. Volunteer fire and medical emergency personnel must obtain permits directly from their county sheriff in writing to display any emergency lights on their personal vehicle.
Nebraska’s unique set of laws surrounding the use of LED emergency lighting is similar to most other states but very unique in some of the permissions it grants non-emergency vehicles such as the funeral procession pilot car. They take the use of LED emergency lights seriously and will revoke your right to use them if necessary.
This article is meant solely to be a point of reference. Refer to all statutes and contact your local municipalities before installing and using LED emergency lights or beacons on your fleet to avoid costly fees and fines.