Red, White, or Blue Lights

September 11, 2020

Updated: September 1, 2018

Note:   Section 547.305 of the Transportation Code is amended to limit security patrol vehicles to green, amber, or white lights.  See HB 2812 (85th Leg. R.S.).


(a)  A motor vehicle lamp or illuminating device, other than a headlamp, spotlamp, auxiliary lamp, turn signal lamp, or emergency vehicle, tow truck, or school bus warning lamp, that projects a beam with an intensity brighter than 300 candlepower shall be directed so that no part of the high-intensity portion of the beam strikes the roadway at a distance of more than 75 feet from the vehicle.

(b)  Except as expressly authorized by law, a person may not operate or move equipment or a vehicle, other than a police vehicle, with a lamp or device that displays a red light visible from directly in front of the center of the equipment or vehicle.

(c)  A person may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with a red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating light unless the equipment is:

  1. used as specifically authorized by this chapter;  or
  2. a running lamp, headlamp, taillamp, backup lamp, or turn signal lamp that is used as authorized by law.

(d)  A vehicle may be equipped with alternately flashing lighting equipment described by Section 547.701 or 547.702 only if the vehicle is:

  1. a school bus;
  2. an authorized emergency vehicle;
  3. a church bus that has the words "church bus" printed on the front and rear of the bus so as to be clearly discernable to other vehicle operators;
  4. a tow truck while under the direction of a law enforcement officer at the scene of an accident or while hooking up to a disabled vehicle on a roadway; or
  5.  a tow truck with a mounted light bar which has turn signals and stop lamps in addition to those required by Sections 547.322, 547.323 and 547.324, Transportation Code.

(e)  A person may not operate a highway maintenance or service vehicle that is not equipped with lamps or that does not display lighted lamps as required by the standards and specifications adopted by the Texas Department of Transportation.

(e-1)  A security patrol vehicle may only be equipped with green, amber, or white lights.

(e-2)  A motor vehicle is equipped with a lamp or illuminating device under this section regardless of whether the lamp or illuminating device is:

  1. attached to the motor vehicle temporarily or permanently; or
  2. activated.

(f)  In this section:

     (1)  "Security patrol vehicle" means a motor vehicle being used for the purpose of providing security services by:
               (A)  a guard company described by Section 1702.108, Occupations  Code; or
               (B)  a security officer as defined by Section 1702.002, Occupations  Code.
     (2)  "Tow truck" means a motor vehicle or mechanical device that is adapted or used to tow, winch, or move a disabled vehicle.

Further information is available in Section 541.201 of the Transportation Code. In pertinent part, 541.201 states.

In this subtitle: (1)“Authorized emergency vehicle” means:

  1. A fire department or police vehicle.
  2. A public or private ambulance operated by a person who has been issued a license by the Texas Department of Health;
  3. A municipal department of public service corporation emergency vehicle that has been designated or authorized by the governing body of a municipality;
  4. A private vehicle of a volunteer firefighter or a certified emergency medical services employee or volunteer when responding to a fire alarm or medical emergency;
  5. An industrial emergency response vehicle, including an industrial ambulance, when responding to an emergency, but only if the vehicle is operated in compliance with criteria in effect September 1, 1989, and established by the Texas Industrial Fire Training Board of the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshall’s Association of Texas; or
  6. A vehicle of a blood bank or tissue bank, accredited or approved under laws of this State or the United States, when making emergency deliveries of blood, drugs, medicines, or organs.

Check with your local law enforcement agency or the Texas Highway Patrol if you have questions about these sections of the Transportation Code.