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CA laws: light bars

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  • CA laws: light bars

    the security director at the mall is having plans for new patrol mobiles. he was just grouping ideas on new changes such as a PA system and running different colored lightbars on the roof. we previously had white/green strobes front and back with flashing ambers. i have heard from my co-workers that he is looking to run red and/or blue with other colors. we patrol on private property but i would like to know (hopefully a source) if it is legal in the state of CA to run any of those colors?
    i have looked on the dmv website and still a little confused. last i checked, it mentioned about red could be exceptional.


    edit: i forgot to mention that we only use the strobes for emergency situations and run ambers or nothing when patrolling.
    Last edited by Valor Eastbay; 02-28-2007, 03:17 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Valor Eastbay
    the security director at the mall is having plans for new patrol mobiles. he was just grouping ideas on new changes such as a PA system and running different colored lightbars on the roof. we previously had white/green strobes front and back with flashing ambers. i have heard from my co-workers that he is looking to run red and/or blue with other colors. we patrol on private property but i would like to know (hopefully a source) if it is legal in the state of CA to run any of those colors?
    i have looked on the dmv website and still a little confused. last i checked, it mentioned about red could be exceptional.


    edit: i forgot to mention that we only use the strobes for emergency situations and run ambers or nothing when patrolling.
    Unless you're an authorized emergency vehicle under CVC, you can't run lights for "emergency situations," there's no difference under law between leaving your lights on 24/7 and only turning them on a few times a month on private property.

    You do NOT need blue light in California, as it will be trivial to trump up an impersonating law enforcement charge. Even on private property, even if the light itself is legal, a reasonable person would believe the operator of the vehicle is a law enforcement officer, by virtue that cops are the only ones with blue lights.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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    • #3
      OK I took the time to look it up:

      As it pertains to vehicle light bars; the only colors that are regulated are Red, Blue, Clear, and Amber. The colors Green and Purple are not regulated by California law. (Although tradition states that purple is reserved for funerals.)

      A solid red light is reserved for emergency vehicles and is a requirement for any vehicle to go code three in this state. The red light must be visible 1000 feet from the front of the vehicle. There are two exceptions to this; one is that you may have flashing red lights on a school bus, and you may have flashing red “hold-up” lights on an armored car.

      Blue lights are reserved only for public law enforcement in California. A peace officer may have flashing blue lights to the front, rear, and sides of his vehicle. A peace officer may also have two steady blue lights to the rear of his motorcycle if on duty.

      Amber is also regulated, but there are a lot of provisions. Basically if you are of the public road you may have amber, on the road is highly regulated. Again, just like the firearms laws, security gets screwed on this one as we are also regulated with amber off the road. I will only address the law as it pertains to security.

      Vehicles owned and operated by private security agencies and utilized exclusively on privately owned and maintained roads to which the CA Vehicle Code is made applicable, may display flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides, or rear, while being operated in response to emergency calls for the immediate preservation of life or property.

      Vehicles owned by a private security agency and operated by personnel who are registered with the Department of Consumer Affairs may be equipped with a flashing amber warning light system while the vehicle is operated on a highway, if the vehicle is distinctively marked with the words "PRIVATE SECURITY" or "SECURITY PATROL" on the rear and both sides of the vehicle in a size that is legible from a distance of not less than 50 feet.

      The flashing amber warning light system shall not be activated while the vehicle is on the highway, unless otherwise directed by a peace officer.

      This is correct as of 2006 and I hope all this helps,

      -Red

      California Security Blog
      Domain Registration Services

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      • #4
        CVC 25279.

        I've used it before to make a security company remove their ambers from a vehicle; one of their guards thought he could run code with ambers on, blowing lights and all. He decided to interject (on the driver's behalf no less) while I was out on a traffic stop; he thought it would be a good idea to turn on all his pretty amber lights.

        They were off an hour later.

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