Police news

We hope that you enjoyed the information that was provided in past weeks about the “Slow Poke” Law. This week, we inform you about several laws that most people don’t know about.

I am asked almost weekly about these Georgia Traffic Code Section Laws.

The first law was written to clearly, quickly, and easily identify Law Enforcement vehicles as well as reduce the risk of individuals “Impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer”.

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) 40-8-90 reads: Restrictions on use of blue lights on vehicles (a)(1) Except as provided in this paragraph and subsection (b) of this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to operate any motor vehicle equipped with or containing a device capable of producing any blue lights, whether flashing, blinking, revolving, or stationary, except:

(A) Motor vehicles owned or leased by any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency;

(B) Motor vehicles with a permit granted by a state agency to bear such lights; or

(C) Antique, hobby, and special interest vehicles, as defined in paragraph (8) of subsection (l) of Code Section 40-2-86.1, which may display a blue light or lights of up to one inch in diameter as part of any such vehicle's rear stop lamps, rear turning indicator, rear hazard lamps, and rear reflectors.

What does this mean? Basically, it’s illegal to have any type of light that omits a blue color light on the top, front, side, under, on the dash of, or forward facing area of any vehicle including the engine area of a motorcycle.

The next law, OCGA 40-8-92, covers the use of both red, amber, and green colored lights on a vehicle. As well as the permitting, fees and use of amber colored lights. This law was written to help make sure the motoring public can easily, quickly, and clearly identify other Emergency vehicles including Fire Department vehicles, Ambulances, Federal Command Post, Animal Control Vehicles, and other authorized emergency vehicles. Amber warning lights are typically displayed on Towing Service vehicles, utility company vehicles, road construction vehicles, Surveyors, and other vehicles where such users can demonstrate a valid reason and a need for warning lights.

40-8-92. Designation of emergency vehicles; flashing or revolving lights; permits; fee; prohibition against use of flashing or revolving green lights by private persons on public property

(a) All emergency vehicles shall be designated as such by the commissioner of public safety. The commissioner shall so designate each vehicle by issuing to such vehicle a permit to operate flashing or revolving emergency lights of the appropriate color. Such permit shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance; provided, however, that permits for vehicles belonging to federal, state, county, or municipal governmental agencies shall be valid for five years from the date of issuance. Any and all officially marked law enforcement vehicles as specified in Code Section 40-8-91 shall not be required to have a permit for the use of a blue light. Any and all fire department vehicles which are distinctly marked on each side shall not be required to have a permit for the use of a red light. Any and all ambulances, as defined in Code Section 31-11-2, licensed by this state shall not be required to have a permit for the use of a red light.

(b) The commissioner shall authorize the use of red or amber flashing or revolving lights only when the person or governmental agency shall demonstrate to the commissioner a proven need for equipping a vehicle with emergency lights. The fee for such lights shall be $2.00, provided that no federal, state, county, or municipal governmental agency or an ambulance provider, as defined in Code Section 31-11-2, shall be required to pay such fee.

(c) Nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit the commissioner from issuing a single special use permit to cover more than one vehicle, provided each vehicle covered under such special use permit shall pay the fee specified in subsection (b) of this Code section.

(d) Except as provided in this subsection, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to operate any motor vehicle or to park any motor vehicle on public property with flashing or revolving green lights. This subsection shall not apply to any motor vehicle being used by any law enforcement agency, fire department, emergency management agency, or other governmental entity to designate the location of the command post for such agency, department, or entity at the site of an emergency.

What does all this mean? Basically, if you have a private owned vehicle or motorcycle with a red, amber, or green light that rotates or is capable of flashing, you are in violation of this Code Section unless you have been permitted by the commissioner of public safety to do so. Just because the light is steady burn does not mean it’s okay, a Flashing pattern can be made if you can turn the light off and on. There are exceptions for the use of red and amber lights for turn signals, brake lights, and other standard safety signals/lights in other laws.

If you are operating a Tow Truck make sure you have a permit issued by the commissioner of public safety and displayed in the lower passenger side corner of the windshield to be in compliance with the Code Section.

In conclusion, if you do not put blue, red, amber, or green lights on your vehicle then you have no risk of violating these laws. Both laws can be enforced during the daytime or nighttime hours.

If you have a law you’re interested in learning more about call the Aragon Police Department at (770) 684-6563 and leave SGT Hunter a voicemail.