2005 California Vehicle Code Sections 25250-25282 Article 7. Flashing and Colored Lights

VEHICLE CODE
SECTION 25250-25282

25250.  Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except as
otherwise permitted.
25251.  (a) Flashing lights are permitted on vehicles as follows:
   (1) To indicate an intention to turn or move to the right or left
upon a roadway, turn signal lamps and turn signal exterior pilot
indicator lamps and side lamps permitted under Section 25106 may be
flashed on the side of a vehicle toward which the turn or movement is
to be made.
   (2) When disabled or parked off the roadway but within 10 feet of
the roadway, or when approaching, stopped at, or departing from, a
railroad grade crossing, turn signal lamps may be flashed as warning
lights if the front turn signal lamps at each side are being flashed
simultaneously and the rear turn signal lamps at each side are being
flashed simultaneously.
   (3) To warn other motorists of accidents or hazards on a roadway,
turn signal lamps may be flashed as warning lights while the vehicle
is approaching, overtaking, or passing the accident or hazard on the
roadway if the front turn signal lamps at each side are being flashed
simultaneously and the rear turn signal lamps at each side are being
flashed simultaneously.
   (4) For use on authorized emergency vehicles.
   (5) To warn other motorists of a funeral procession, turn signal
lamps may be flashed as warning lights on all vehicles actually
engaged in a funeral procession, if the front turn signal lamps at
each side are being flashed simultaneously and the rear turn signal
lamps at each side are being flashed simultaneously.
   (b) Turn signal lamps shall be flashed as warning lights whenever
a vehicle is disabled upon the roadway and the vehicle is equipped
with a device to automatically activate the front turn signal lamps
at each side to flash simultaneously and the rear turn signal lamps
at each side to flash simultaneously, if the device and the turn
signal lamps were not rendered inoperative by the event which caused
the vehicle to be disabled.
   (c) Side lamps permitted under Section 25106 and used in
conjunction with turn signal lamps may be flashed with the turn
signal lamps as part of the warning light system, as provided in
paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (a).
   (d) Required or permitted lamps on a trailer or semitrailer may
flash when the trailer or semitrailer has broken away from the towing
vehicle and the connection between the vehicles is broken.
   (e) Hazard warning lights, as permitted by paragraphs (2) and (3)
of subdivision (a) may be flashed in a repeating series of short and
long flashes when the driver is in need of help.
25251.1.  Any implement of husbandry displaying a slow moving
vehicle emblem, as defined in Section 24615, and being operated at a
speed of 25 miles per hour or less, may be equipped with double-faced
amber turn signals which may be flashed simultaneously as warning
lights.
25251.2.  Any motorcycle may be equipped with a means of modulating
the upper beam of the headlamp between a high and a lower brightness
at a rate of 200 to 280 flashes per minute.  Such headlamps shall not
be so modulated during darkness.
25251.3.  No civil liability shall attach to any person for the use
or nonuse of turn signal lamps in the manner permitted by paragraph
(3) or (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 25251, except for such civil
liability as would attach for the use or nonuse of any other device
required by this article or Article 8 (commencing with Section
25300).
25251.4.  Any motor vehicle may also be equipped with a theft alarm
system which flashes any of the lights required or permitted on the
motor vehicle and which operates as specified in Article 13
(commencing with Section 28085) of Chapter 5 of this division.
25251.5.  (a) Any motor vehicle may also be equipped with a system
in which an amber light is center mounted on the rear of a vehicle to
communicate a component of deceleration of the vehicle, and which
light pulses in a controlled fashion at a rate which varies
exponentially with a component of deceleration.
   (b) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with two amber lamps on the
rear of the vehicle which operate simultaneously with not more than
four flashes within four seconds after the accelerator pedal is in
the deceleration position and which are not lighted at any other
time.  The lamps shall be mounted at the same height, with one lamp
located on each side of the vertical centerline of the vehicle, not
higher than the bottom of the rear window, or if the vehicle has no
rear window, not higher than 60 inches.  The light output from each
of the lamps shall not exceed 200 candlepower at any angle horizontal
or above.  The amber lamps may be used either separately or in
combination with another lamp.
   (c) Any stoplamp or supplemental stoplamp required or permitted by
Section 24603 may be equipped so as to flash not more than four
times within the first four seconds after actuation by application of
the brakes.
25252.  Every authorized emergency vehicle shall be equipped with at
least one steady burning red warning lamp visible from at least
1,000 feet to the front of the vehicle to be used as provided in this
code.
   In addition, authorized emergency vehicles may display revolving,
flashing, or steady red warning lights to the front, sides or rear of
the vehicles.
25252.5.  (a) Every authorized emergency vehicle may be equipped
with a system which flashes the upper-beam headlamps of the vehicle
with the flashes occurring alternately from the front headlamp on one
side of the vehicle to the front headlamp on the other side of the
vehicle.  The flashing of the headlamps shall consist only of
upper-beam flashing, and not the flashing of any other light beam.
   (b) "Upper-beam headlamp," as used in this section, means a
headlamp or that part of a headlamp which projects a distribution of
light, or composite beam, so aimed and of such intensity as to reveal
persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 350 feet ahead for
all conditions of loading.
   (c) The system provided for in subdivision (a) shall only be used
when an authorized emergency vehicle is being operated pursuant to
Section 21055.
25253.  (a) Tow trucks used to tow disabled vehicles shall be
equipped with flashing amber warning lamps.  This subdivision does
not apply to a tractor-trailer combination.
   (b) Tow trucks may display flashing amber warning lamps while
providing service to a disabled vehicle.  A flashing amber warning
lamp upon a tow truck may be displayed to the rear when the tow truck
is towing a vehicle and moving at a speed slower than the normal
flow of traffic.
25253.1.  An automobile dismantler's tow vehicle used to tow a
disabled vehicle may be equipped with flashing amber warning lamps.
   A flashing amber warning lamp upon an automobile dismantler's tow
vehicle may be displayed to the rear when the automobile dismantler's
tow vehicle is towing a vehicle and moving at a speed slower than
the normal flow of traffic.
25254.  In any county with a population of 250,000 or more persons,
publicly owned vehicles operated by peace officer personnel of a
marshal's department, when actually being used in the enforcement of
the orders of any court, including, but not limited to, the
transportation of prisoners, may display flashing amber warning
lights to the rear when such vehicles are necessarily parked upon a
roadway and such parking constitutes a hazard to other motorists.
25256.  Vehicles used by highway authorities or bridge and highway
districts, and vehicles of duly authorized representatives thereof,
used in highway maintenance, inspection, survey or construction work
may display flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides or rear
when such vehicles are parked or working on the highway.
25257.  (a) Every schoolbus, when operated for the transportation of
schoolchildren, shall be equipped with a flashing red light signal
system.
   (b) (1) Every schoolbus manufactured on or after September 1,
1992, shall also be equipped with a stop signal arm.  Any schoolbus
manufactured before September 1, 1992, may be equipped with a stop
signal arm.
   (2) Any schoolbus manufactured on or after July 1, 1993, shall
also be equipped with an amber warning light system, in addition to
the flashing red light signal system.  Any schoolbus manufactured
before July 1, 1993, may be equipped with an amber warning light
system.
   (3) On or before September 1, 1992, the department shall adopt
regulations governing the specifications, installation, and use of
stop signal arms, to comply with federal standards.
   (4) A "stop signal arm" is a device that can be extended outward
from the side of a schoolbus to provide a signal to other motorists
not to pass the bus because it has stopped to load or unload
passengers, that is manufactured pursuant to the specifications of
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No.  131, issued on April 25,
1991.
25257.2.  If a schoolbus is used for the transportation of persons
of any age who are developmentally disabled, as defined by the
Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act (Division 4.5
(commencing with Section 4500) of the Welfare and Institutions Code),
the amber light signal system, flashing red light signal system, and
stop signal arm shall not be used other than as required by Sections
22112 and 22454.
25257.5.  To warn other motorists or pedestrians on a roadway during
a backing maneuver, the operator of a schoolbus may flash turn
signal lamps if the front turn signal lamps at each side are flashed
simultaneously and the rear signal lamps at each side are flashed
simultaneously.
25257.7.  (a) A schoolbus may be equipped with a white strobe light
mounted so as to be visible from the front, sides, or rear of the
bus.  The strobe light may only be lighted when visibility is reduced
to 500 feet or less due to atmospheric conditions including, but not
limited to, fog, rain, snow, smoke, or dust.   Reduced visibility
due to atmospheric conditions does not include the time of darkness
from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.
   (b) The type and mounting requirements of strobe lights authorized
by subdivision (a) shall be established by regulations adopted by
the department by April 1, 1991.  No schoolbus shall be equipped with
a strobe light until the regulations are adopted.
25258.  (a) An authorized emergency vehicle operating under the
conditions specified in Section 21055 may display a flashing white
light from a gaseous discharge lamp designed and used for the purpose
of controlling official traffic control signals.
   (b) An authorized emergency vehicle used by a peace officer, as
defined in Section 830.1 of, subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), (e),
(f), (g), or (i) of Section 830.2 of, subdivision (b) of Section
830.31 of, subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 830.32 of, Section
830.33 of, subdivision (a) of Section 830.36 of, subdivision (a) of
Section 830.4 of, or Section 830.6 of, the Penal Code, in the
performance of the peace officer's duties, may, in addition, display
a steady or flashing blue warning light visible from the front,
sides, or rear of the vehicle.
   (c) Except as provided in subdivision (a), a vehicle shall not be
equipped with a device that emits any illumination or radiation that
is designed or used for the purpose of controlling official traffic
control signals.
25259.  (a) Any authorized emergency vehicle may display flashing
amber warning lights to the front, sides, or rear.
   (b) A vehicle operated by a police or traffic officer while in the
actual performance of his or her duties may display steady burning
or flashing white lights to either side mounted above the roofline of
the vehicle.
   (c) Any authorized emergency vehicle may display not more than two
flashing white warning lights to the front mounted above the
roofline of the vehicle and not more than two flashing white warning
lights to the front mounted below the roofline of the vehicle.  These
lamps may be in addition to the flashing headlamps permitted under
Section 25252.5.
25259.1.  (a) Any vehicle operated by a disaster service worker who
has received training in accordance with subdivision (b) and used by
that worker in the performance of emergency or disaster services
ordered by lawful authority during a state of war emergency, a state
of emergency, or a local emergency, as those terms are defined in
Section 8558 of the Government Code, may display flashing amber
warning lights to the front, sides, or rear while at the scene of the
emergency or disaster.
   (b)  Any disaster service worker operating a vehicle that displays
flashing amber warning lights shall receive a training course from
the public agency, disaster council, or emergency organization
described in Section 3101 of the Government Code concerning the safe
operation of the use of flashing amber warning lights prior to
operating a vehicle that displays flashing amber warning lights.
   (c) A person operating a vehicle that is authorized to display
flashing amber warning lights under this section shall either
completely cover or remove those lights when the lights are not in
use.
25259.5.  An emergency response or disaster service vehicle owned or
leased and operated by the American National Red Cross, or any
chapter or branch thereof, and equipped and clearly marked as a Red
Cross emergency service or disaster service vehicle, may display
flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides, or rear of the
vehicle while at the scene of an emergency or disaster operation.
Vehicles not used on emergency response shall not be included.
25260.  (a) Public utility vehicles, and vehicles of duly authorized
representatives of a public utility, actually engaged in the
construction, removal, maintenance, or inspection of public utility
facilities, including the cutting or trimming of trees immediately
adjacent thereto, may display flashing amber warning lights to the
front, sides, or rear when necessarily parked on a highway or when
moving at a speed slower than the normal flow of traffic.
   (b)  Vehicles owned by public transit operators which provide
assistance to a disabled district bus may display flashing amber
warning lights to the front, sides, or rear when necessarily parked
on a highway.
25260.1.  Vehicles actually engaged in the construction, removal,
maintenance, or inspection of any oil or gas pipeline may display
flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides, or rear when
necessarily parked on a highway or when necessarily moving at a speed
slower than the normal flow of traffic and only in accordance with
Section 25268.
25260.3.  Any vehicle having personnel aerial lift equipment,
actually engaged in the construction, removal, maintenance or
inspection of any building, structure, or appurtenances thereto,
including the cutting or trimming of trees immediately adjacent
thereto, may display flashing amber warning lights to the front,
sides, or rear when necessarily parked on a highway or when moving at
a speed slower than the normal flow of the traffic.
25260.4.  Any hazardous substance spill response vehicle, under
contract to the Department of Transportation for the cleanup of
hazardous substance spills, may display flashing amber warning lights
to the front, sides, or rear of the vehicle while it is engaged in
the actual cleanup of the spill.  The warning lights shall be removed
or covered with opaque material whenever the vehicle is not actually
engaged in the cleanup of a hazardous substance at the scene of the
spill.
25261.  Vehicles used by a county or county department of
agriculture and vehicles of duly authorized representatives thereof,
actually engaged in weed control or pest detection, may display
flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides, or rear when
necessarily parked on a highway or when moving at a speed slower than
the normal flow of traffic.
25262.  An armored car may be equipped with red lights which may be
used while resisting armed robbery.  At all other times the red
lights shall not be lighted.  The authority to use red lights granted
by this section does not constitute an armored car an authorized
emergency vehicle, and all other provisions of this code applicable
to drivers of vehicles apply to drivers of armored cars.
25263.  Trucks actually engaged in the towing of houses or buildings
upon any highway may display flashing amber warning lights to the
front, sides or rear on the vehicle or load.
25264.  Any motor vehicle operated by a coroner, or by a deputy
coroner, and which is at the scene of any violent highway death, may
display flashing amber warning lights to the front or rear.
25265.  Repair vehicles of sanitary districts or county sanitation
districts necessarily parked other than adjacent to the curb in a
highway for purposes of repairing district facilities, may display
flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides or rear, but these
lights shall not be lighted when the vehicle is in motion.
25266.  Vehicles owned by the state and operated by officers or
employees of the state who are actually engaged in aqueduct or levee
construction, maintenance, patrol, or inspection, or in stream
measurement work, may display flashing amber warning lights to the
front, sides and rear when parked on the traveled roadway so as to
partially obstruct the free flow of traffic, or when moving at a
speed slower than the normal flow of traffic.
25267.  Vehicles used by mosquito abatement districts or pest
abatement districts when dispersing insecticides may display flashing
amber warning lights to the front or rear while the vehicles are
parked or working on the highway.
25268.  No person shall display a flashing amber warning light on a
vehicle as permitted by this code except when an unusual traffic
hazard exists.
25269.  No person shall display a flashing or steady burning red
warning light on a vehicle except as permitted by Section 21055 or
when an extreme hazard exists.
25270.  Any pilot car required by the permit referred to in Section
35780 or 35790, or any vehicle or combination of vehicles subject to
the permit if specified in the permit, shall be equipped with
flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides or rear.  The pilot
car and any vehicles required by the permit to have flashing amber
warning lights, shall display the flashing amber warning lights while
actually engaged in the movement described in the permit. The
warning lamps shall be removed or covered with opaque material
whenever the pilot car is not escorting the movement described in the
permit.
25270.5.  Any motor vehicle engaged in, or aiding in, the herding of
livestock along or across a public roadway may display flashing
amber warning lights to the front, sides, or rear of the vehicle
while it is stopped in the roadway near the livestock or is
proceeding with the livestock along the roadway.
25271.  Any publicly owned vehicle or any vehicle operated by a
corporation incorporated under Part 4 (commencing with Section 10400)
of Division 2 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code for the purpose of
the prevention of cruelty to animals, when used for removing dead
animals, injured animals, or loose livestock, may, display flashing
amber warning lights to the front or rear when necessarily parked on
the roadway or when moving at a speed slower than the normal flow of
traffic.
25271.5.  Any publicly owned vehicle used for the enforcement of
animal control laws contained in a statute, local ordinance, or
regulation may display flashing or revolving amber warning lights to
the front, sides, or rear of the vehicle when actually engaged in the
enforcement of those laws and when necessarily parked on a roadway
or moving at a speed slower than the normal flow of traffic.
25272.  A motor vehicle used by a rural mail carrier may display
flashing amber warning lights to the front and rear of the vehicle
while the vehicle is necessarily stopped or stopping upon a roadway
for the delivery of United States mail.
25273.  Any motor vehicle owned and operated by a school district
with an average daily attendance in excess of 400,000 while being
used to measure the distance from school to a school pupil's
residence may display a flashing amber warning light to the rear of
the vehicle when moving at a speed substantially slower than the
normal flow of traffic.
25274.  Any vehicle owned by a cable television company and operated
by employees, or duly authorized representatives, of a cable
television company, when actually engaged in the construction,
removal, maintenance or inspection of cable television facilities,
including but not limited to, the cutting or trimming of trees
immediately adjacent thereto, may display flashing amber warning
lights to the front, sides, or rear when necessarily parked on a
highway or when moving at a speed slower than the normal flow of
traffic.
   For the purposes of this section, "cable television company" means
any person engaged in the business of transmitting television
programs by cable to subscribers for a fee.
25275.  Any truck or truck tractor which is primarily used in the
transportation of loads specified in subdivision (a) of Section
35414, may be equipped with a flashing amber warning lamp.  Such lamp
may be displayed to the front, sides, or rear of the combination
only when its length exceeds 75 feet and when an unusual traffic
hazard exists.
25275.5.  Any bus operated either by a public agency or under the
authority of a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued
by the Public Utilities Commission may be equipped with a system of
crime alarm lights.  The system of crime alarm lights shall consist
of the installation of additional lamp sources, not exceeding 32
standard candlepower or 30 watts, in the front and rear clearance
lamps required or permitted by Section 25100.  Such lamps shall be
operated by a flasher unit or units that are not audible inside the
bus.  When actuated, both rear crime alarm lights shall flash
simultaneously and both front crime alarm lights shall flash
simultaneously.  Crime alarm lights shall be actuated only when a
crime is in progress on board the bus or has recently been committed
on board the bus.
25276.  (a) A motor vehicle designed for carrying more than eight
persons, including the driver, owned by a private, nonprofit
organization that provides training or other activities for persons
who are mentally retarded or physically disabled, or both, and that
is certified by the Department of Rehabilitation or licensed by the
State Department of Health, with respect to the providing of this
training or other activities, may be equipped with a flashing amber
light signal system.
   (b) A motor vehicle, described in subdivision (a), may, while
actually engaged in the transportation of persons described in
subdivision (a) to or from a training or activity center operated by
the organization, display the flashing amber lights of the system
when necessarily parked upon a highway and in the process of loading
or unloading persons.
   (c) Subdivisions (a) and (b) apply to a motor vehicle that is
rented, leased, or chartered by the organization.
25277.  Any vehicle used by any police department, sheriff's office,
or other governmental agency for the purpose of enforcing parking
laws contained in the Vehicle Code or in a local ordinance or
regulation may display flashing or revolving amber warning lights to
the front, sides, or rear of the vehicle when actually engaged in the
enforcement of such laws and when either necessarily stopped on a
street, or when moving at a speed slower than the normal flow of
traffic.
25278.  Any vehicle owned or operated by a land surveyor or civil
engineer licensed to practice in this state may display flashing
amber warning lights to the front, sides, or rear, if the vehicle is
engaged in any phase of a project that requires surveying or
surveying related activities to be performed on a highway, or in the
vicinity of a highway, and the vehicle is parked on the highway or
moving at a speed lower than the normal flow of traffic.  The use of,
or absence of, amber warning lights as authorized in this section
shall not serve as the basis for any civil action, a defense to a
civil action, or establish negligence as a matter of law or
negligence per se for comparative fault purposes.
25279.  (a) Vehicles owned and operated by private security agencies
and utilized exclusively on privately owned and maintained roads to
which this code is made applicable by local ordinance or resolution,
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.
   (b) (1) Vehicles owned by a private security agency and operated
by personnel who are registered with the Department of Consumer
Affairs under Article 3 (commencing with Section 7582) of Chapter
11.5 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code may be
equipped with a flashing amber warning light system while the vehicle
is operated on a highway, if the vehicle is in compliance with
Section 27605 and 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.
   (2) The flashing amber warning light system authorized under
paragraph (1) shall not be activated while the vehicle is on the
highway, unless otherwise directed by a peace officer, as defined in
Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the
Penal Code.
   (c) A peace officer may order that the flashing amber warning
light system of a vehicle that is found to be in violation of this
section be immediately removed at the place of business of the
vehicle's owner or a garage.
   (d) A flashing amber warning light system shall not be installed
on a vehicle that has been found to be in violation of this section,
unless written authorization is obtained from the Commissioner of the
California Highway Patrol.
25280.  Vehicles operated by a local public entity, or pursuant to a
permit, license, contract, or franchise with a local public entity,
and used to collect and transport garbage, rubbish, or refuse may
display flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides, or rear
while stopped upon a street and actually engaged in the collection of
garbage, rubbish, or refuse, or while moving between stops at a
speed not greater than 10 miles per hour.
25281.  A privately owned or operated water tender vehicle, when
used exclusively for contract emergency services provided to any
public agency, may display flashing amber warning lights to the
front, sides, or rear of the vehicle when necessarily parked on a
highway or other public road, blocking or partially blocking a
highway or other public road, traveling at a speed slower than the
normal flow of traffic, or crossing or entering a highway or other
public road.  The flashing amber lights shall not be displayed when
the water tender vehicle is traveling to or from an emergency at the
normal speed and flow of traffic, except when the vehicle is
traveling in escort with a fire engine or other authorized emergency
vehicle.  The lights shall be covered with an opaque material when
not being displayed.
25282.  Any vehicle owned or operated by a contractor or a
construction company licensed to operate in this state pursuant to
the Business and Professions Code may display flashing amber warning
lights to the front, sides, or rear, if the vehicle is engaged in any
phase of a construction project performed on a highway, or in the
vicinity of a highway, and the vehicle is parked on the highway or
moving at a speed lower than the normal flow of traffic.  The use of,
or absence of, amber warning lights as authorized in this section
shall not serve as the basis for any civil action, a defense to civil
action, or establish negligence as a matter of law or negligence per
se for comparative fault purposes.


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