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New Hampshire Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

New Hampshire Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes


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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State Overview

In the following article, you will discover what the general regulations are when it comes to emergency lights and how to use them in the state of New Hampshire. The regulations differentiate between warning and emergency lights depending on the color of the LED light in Section 266:78-a. Red or blue lights are considered emergency lights, while amber or white lights are considered warning lights. According to Section 259:28, any vehicle driven by an on-duty police officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service officer for official use is considered an authorized emergency vehicle. 

Law Enforcement Statutes

Police and Sheriff Vehicles

According to the New Hampshire emergency vehicle light statutes, law enforcement vehicles are permitted the use of blue lights. This is in accordance with section 266:78b. The statutes don’t explain whether these lights must be flashing or stagnant lights. 

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Fire and EMT

Fire Trucks and Fire Chief SUVs

Fire trucks and fire chief SUVs are considered emergency vehicles and adhere to guidelines as other emergency personnel is allowed to use red- and blue-colored emergency lights. These are only allowed to be used while driving to an emergency or parking in front of it. 

Volunteer Fire Fighter Vehicles

Volunteer Fire Fighter vehicles are considered an authorized emergency vehicle and therefore are allowed to use red-colored and blue-colored emergency lights according to section 266:78-b and section 266:78-c. 

Ambulance and EMT Vehicles

In the State of New Hampshire according to Section 266:78-b, ambulance, and EMT vehicles are permitted to have rear-facing blue colored lights when driving to an emergency. Additionally, ambulances and EMT vehicles are allowed to use red-colored LED lights when driving to an emergency according to Section 266:78-c. Last but not least, these emergency vehicles are also allowed the use of amber-colored lights and light bars. The statute includes the use of one or more amber-colored warning lights, as well as arrow boards. Arrow boards are often seen at emergency sites to direct traffic away from the emergency in question in order to ensure the safety of all emergency personnel, as well as those involved in the emergency itself. This amber LED light regulation is mentioned in Section 266:78-d. 

These lights may be used when driving, parking in front of the emergency site, and/or transporting a patient to the hospital. 

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Commercial and Amber Statutes

Security Vehicles

When operating a private security vehicle, amber and/or green-colored LED lights are permitted according to Section 266:78-l. However, use is restricted and limited to privately or publicly leased vehicles, and not personal-owned vehicles operated by security personnel. These lights may be used when on patrol or when stopped in a location that requires alerting passing and ongoing traffic of the hazard. 

Wreckers and Tow Trucks

Wrecker and tow trucks have very specific lighting requirements as explained by Section 266:109. Wrecker and tow trucks must be equipped with one or more amber-colored LED lights, portable lamps for the vehicle being towed, as well as two stop and directional lamps. 

Utility Vehicles

Utility vehicles are allowed the use of amber light in order to warn drivers about the potential hazard of them either standing there or driving. This is only permitted during times of service, and not outside of those times according to Section 266:78-h. This statute is directed at utility vehicles being used for telephone, electrical, and cable services, as well as tree removal and utility line maintenance. 

Pilot and Escort Vehicles

A lead vehicle and an escort vehicle are expected to use amber warning lights to alert traffic when escorting either a very slow-moving vehicle or a vehicle carrying an oversized load as mentioned in Section 266:78-h. The requirements for these lights are that they must be visible for 1,000 feet in any direction, and they must be mounted on top of the vehicle. 

Construction Vehicles

According to section 266:78-h, construction vehicles must have amber light in order to adhere to local laws and regulations. As mentioned in section 266:78-i, these lights are only allowed to be illuminated when actively engaged in construction. As to the placement or quantity of lights, not much is mentioned in the state laws and regulations. Contact the New Hampshire DOT to learn more here.

Funeral Procession

For funeral processions, vehicles may use purple-colored warning lights to indicate to other drivers that they and the following vehicles are part of a funeral party. These lights may be added to the funeral escort and lead vehicles according to Section 266:78-m.

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