So, you are interested in buying police flashing lights, but will you be able to use them? And if so, where can you use them? In virtually every state, flashing coloured lights on your vehicle is completely illegal - including non-traditional lights like Underglow or RGB whip lights. And the reason why is simple - it’s because you are, in essence, ‘impersonating’ a police officer - or their car, to be more exact. It all depends on the circumstances, however. As we will discuss below, if you are driving on private land you may find you are free to dress up your car as you like it.
You would think that the laws regarding civilian use of police flashing lights or otherwise known as vehicle warning lights would be simple to understand. After all, these are emergency lights and should only be used in accordance with the situation and the authority of whoever is driving the car, right? Well, not quite. The truth is a little murkier. In this guide, we’re going to attempt to define whether or not it is legal for any civilian to drive a car and use the same sort of flashing lights used by the police. Let’s take a closer look.
First of all, when you think of a warning light bar or police lights, what colours comes to mind? Well, your answer I bet was Red & Blue. However, there are actually many colours used on Australian roads based on different applications. The actual use of Red and Blue police lights "may*" actually be legal however extremely rare.
Private & Commercial Use - Amber Warning Lights
Not all warning or emergency lights are Red or Blue. The most common use of warning lights is actually Amber or more commonly called yellow led lights. Amber lights can be used by just about anyone in the course of their work. This is most commonly seen with Security, Trade Utes, Traffic Control, Road Works, even ride-on lawn mowers on the side of the road. Amber is actually a very effective colour for non-emergency vehicles.
Local Councils - Amber & Green Warning Lights
The next colour I want to cover is the use of Green. We have plenty of local council officers such as Park Rangers, Parking Officials, and Fisheries that utilise Green. Of course, some states have privately operated companies that can also operate these colours however, for the most part, the use of Green is restricted to local council vehicles only.
Department Of Transport - Magenta Warning Lights
Now if you are a truck driver you may already be well aware of this next colour. Purple emergency lights or as it's known in the industry "Magenta Warning Lights". Magenta coloured Lightbars and Perimeter lighting is used almost exclusively by the State Traffic Office (QLD Transport as an example).
Volunteer Rural Fire & SES - Red & Blue Emergency Lights
Here's a tricky one, even though in Australia volunteer firefighters and SES personnel are still technically civilians, they can be authorised to use some retricted emergency lighting in course of their official duties. Take volunteer RFS firefighters here in QLD for example. Many of these ‘civilians’ have to respond with both Lights & Sirens as part of their role, but not all of them are 100 per cent sure that they are actually allowed to use their lights. And again, the law can be different in every state and every state organisation. Using QLD again for example SES vehicles are fitted with Red/Blue lights however no siren units and are not authorised to use them while driving at all.
So here is the one you all really wanted to know about. What if you are taking your vehicle off-road? Or maybe you are planning to use your police flashing lights on private land such as car shows, drag races etc? Well funny enough there are plenty of reasons for doing so. In almost every state, it is not technically illegal to use of emergency lights - including police flashing lights - on private land so long as it's not visible from any public road.
For example, if you had a private vehicle that you took to the race track (that allowed flashing lights) as far as what we can tell you couldn't be fined for using them in accordance to the laws of the state. Companies can also use these types of flashing lights - such as a commercial building site, for example, utilizing caution light bar to attract new customers. Similarly, farmers are often fitting police flashing lights on their tractors and ATVs, using them as warning lights. As long as they restrict the use of their lights to when they are on private land, they are not likely to get into trouble.
It's important to note that here at OzLED we try and do our due diligence regarding the sale of restricted colours and I recommend reading the RESTRICTED ITEM POLICY. We regularly request detailed information regarding the intended purpose of restricted items before sale. We reserve the right to cancel any restricted item order should the team feel that there is a reasonable suspicion of illegal intent.
All information provided is for informational purposes and may have changed or be incorrect. OzLED holds no responsibility for anyone's use of any restricted item.
White?By: jason on 28 October 2022do you know the legality of using white flashing? like yellow and white lightbar
Yes and no...By: Chris Shaw on 28 October 2022I agree that there are certain uses for flashing lights. but red and blue shouldn't be allowed by anyone outside of emergency services.
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