2019 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 56 - Motor Vehicles
Chapter 5 - Uniform Act Regulating Traffic On Highways
Section 56-5-170. Authorized emergency vehicles defined.

Universal Citation: SC Code § 56-5-170 (2019)

(A) Authorized emergency vehicles for purposes of this section include the following:

(1) fire department vehicles;

(2) police vehicles;

(3) ambulances and rescue squad vehicles which are publicly owned;

(4) vehicles of coroners and deputy coroners of the forty-six counties as designated by the coroners;

(5) emergency vehicles designated by the fire department or the chief of police of a municipality;

(6) county government litter enforcement vehicles used by certified law enforcement Class 3 litter control officers;

(7) Department of Natural Resources vehicles, federal natural resources vehicles, and forestry commission vehicles when being used in the performance of law enforcement duties;

(8) public and private vehicles while transporting individuals actually engaged in emergency activities because one or more occupants belong to a fire department, volunteer fire department, police department, sheriff's office, authorized county government litter enforcement office, rescue squad, or volunteer rescue squad;

(9) county or municipal government jail or corrections vehicles used by certified jail or corrections officers, and emergency vehicles designated by the Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections;

(10) vehicles designated by the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Environmental Control when being used in the performance of law enforcement or emergency response duties.

(11) federal law enforcement, military, and emergency vehicles; and

(12) organ procurement organization vehicles, which means vehicles operated by organizations that perform or coordinate the procurement, preservation, and transport of organs and maintain systems for locating prospective recipients for available organs.

(B) Only authorized emergency vehicles and private security patrol vehicles regulated by the State Law Enforcement Division are allowed use or display of any blue lights or red lights. This includes light bars and smaller lights such as dash, deck, or visor lights. To "display" means to be seen, whether activated or not.

(C) A vehicle shall not display the word 'police' unless it is an authorized emergency vehicle for use only by sworn police or other officers who are approved and certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

(D) The provisions of this section do not apply to automobile dealerships, to police equipment suppliers that sell, deliver, or equip police vehicles to or for a law enforcement agency, to vehicles owned solely as collector's items and used only for participation in club activities, exhibits, tours, parades, and similar uses, or to persons designated by an agency owning such a vehicle to drive the vehicle or drive an auxiliary vehicle transporting such a vehicle.

HISTORY: 1962 Code Section 46-216; 1952 Code Section 46-216; 1949 (46) 466; 1975 (59) 76; 1978 Act No. 461 Section 1; 2004 Act No. 285, Section 1; 2018 Act No. 196 (S.874), Section 1, eff May 17, 2018.

Effect of Amendment

2018 Act No. 196, Section 1, in (A), added (12), relating to organ procurement organization vehicles.

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