Substitute House Bill No. 6976

Public Act No. 99-150

An Act Concerning Flashing Lights for Fire Marshals, School Buses and Local Directors of Emergency Management.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 14-96p of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) No person shall display upon any motor vehicle any light visible from the front thereof other than white, yellow or amber, or any light other than red, yellow, amber or white visible from the rear thereof, except a light used with any school bus, without a written permit from the commissioner. If the Department of Transportation obtains from the commissioner such a permit covering more than one motor vehicle operated by the department, it may display the lights allowed under the permit on each such vehicle without placing a copy of the permit in each vehicle. Any vehicle accommodating fifteen or less handicapped students may use a flashing red light or lights during the time such vehicle is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging such handicapped students, any motor bus may carry a purple light or lights, any interstate public service vehicle may carry a green light or lights, any taxicab may carry a lunar white light or lights, and any interstate commercial motor vehicle may display green identification lights, in front thereof, as the commissioner may permit. A vehicle being operated by the chief executive officer of an emergency medical service organization, as defined in section 19a-175, [or] an ambulance, as defined in section 19a-175, or a vehicle being operated by a local fire marshal or a local director of emergency management may use a flashing red light or lights or flashing white head lamps and a flashing amber light while on the way to the scene of an emergency, except that an ambulance may use flashing lights of other colors specified by federal requirements for the manufacture of such vehicle. The chief executive officer of each such organization shall provide annually during the month of January, on forms provided by the commissioner, [his] such officer's name and address and the registration number on the number plate or plates of the vehicle on which the authorized red light is or white head lamps and amber light are to be used. Flashing or revolving white lights may not be displayed upon a motor vehicle except (1) on fire emergency apparatus, (2) on motor vehicles of paid and volunteer fire chiefs and their first and second deputies or their first and second assistants should there be no deputies, (3) as a means of indicating a right or left turn, [or] (4) in conjunction with flashing red lights on an ambulance responding to an emergency call, or (5) on the top rear of any school bus. For the purpose of this subsection, the term "handicapped students" means mentally retarded, hard of hearing, deaf, speech-impaired, visually handicapped, emotionally disturbed, orthopedically impaired or other health-impaired students, or students with specific learning disabilities, who by reason thereof, require special education and related services; and the term "flashing white lights" shall not include the simultaneous flashing of head lamps.

Sec. 2. Subsection (c) of section 14-96q of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(c) Flashing lights are prohibited on motor vehicles other than school buses, except (1) as a means for indicating a right or left turn, (2) flashing blue lights used by members of volunteer or civil preparedness fire companies, as provided by subsection (b) of section 14-96p, (3) on certain emergency and maintenance vehicles by written permit from the commissioner, (4) flashing or revolving yellow lights on vehicles of carriers in rural mail-delivery service or vehicles transporting or escorting any vehicle or load or combinations of vehicles or vehicles and load which is or are either oversize or overweight, or both, and operated or traveling under a permit issued by the Commissioner of Transportation pursuant to section 14-270, (5) flashing red lights (A) on a motor vehicle accommodating fifteen or [less] fewer handicapped students used only during the time such vehicle is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging such handicapped students, (B) used by members of the fire police on a stationary vehicle as a warning signal during traffic directing operations at the scene of a fire, (C) on rescue vehicles, (D) used by chief executive officers of emergency medical service organizations as provided in subsection (a) of section 14-96p, as amended by this act, [or] (E) on ambulances, as defined in section 19a-175, or (F) used by local fire marshals or directors of emergency management, (6) flashing green lights used by members of volunteer ambulance associations or companies as provided in subsection (c) of section 14-96p, or (7) flashing white lights or flashing lights of other colors specified by federal requirements for the manufacture of an ambulance used in conjunction with flashing red lights or flashing head lamps and a flashing amber light on an ambulance responding to an emergency call. The prohibitions in this section shall not prevent the operator of a motor vehicle who while traveling on a limited access divided highway, because of the grade, is unable to maintain the minimum speed of forty miles per hour, or who while traveling on any other highway is operating such motor vehicle at such slow speed as to obstruct or endanger following traffic, or the operator of a disabled vehicle stopped on a hazardous location on the highway, or in close proximity thereto, from flashing lights, installed on the vehicle primarily for other purposes, in any manner that [he] such operator selects so as to indicate that such vehicle is traveling slowly, obstructing traffic or is disabled and is a hazard to be avoided. The commissioner is authorized, at [his] the commissioner's discretion, to issue special permits for the use of flashing or revolving lights on emergency vehicles, on escort vehicles and on maintenance vehicles, provided any person, firm or corporation other than the state or any metropolitan district, town, city or borough shall pay an annual permit fee of two dollars for each such vehicle, provided vehicles not registered in this state used for transporting or escorting any vehicle or load or combinations of vehicles or vehicles and load which is or are either oversize or overweight, or both, when operating under a permit issued by the Commissioner of Transportation pursuant to section 14-270, shall not require such permit. On and after July 1, 1985, such annual permit fee shall be three dollars, on and after July 1, 1989, four dollars and fifty cents, on and after July 1, 1991, five dollars and seventy-five cents and on and after July 1, 1993, seven dollars.

Approved June 23, 1999

TOP