Ask 2: Are flashing red, blue lights reserved just for law enforcement officers?

HOUSTONQuestion: Are flashing red, blue lights reserved just for law enforcement officers?

Answer: Sergeant Stephen Woodard with the Texas Department of Public Safety says red, white and blue lights warn drivers of a medical, criminal, or another type of emergency.

Restrictions on who can use red and blue lights are in place to protect the public from criminals posing as law enforcement, rescue, or security workers.

The following are authorized emergency vehicles:

  • Police vehicles
  • Fire/EMS
  • Volunteer fire/ EMS
  • Sheriff/constables
  • Highway patrol trooper

Tow trucks can turn on their red and blue flashing lights if they are directed by a Texas Ranger, highway patrol trooper, police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or other law enforcement officer to help tow a stall or clear a crash along a highway or roadway.

Construction vehicles can only display amber lights to alert drivers and keep them safe during active work zones. Security patrol vehicles aren’t cleared for red and blue— they must display flashing amber lights. In Harris County, tow trucks must have red and blue lights in the back. The amber lights are to be displayed in the front.


About the Author:

Traffic expert and What’s Driving Houston reporter, proud Latina, lover of animals, food and our beautiful planet.