H. B. 2080
(By Delegate Love)
[Introduced January 19, 1995; referred to the
Committee on Roads and Transportation.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section twenty-six, article fifteen,
chapter seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to
emergency light use as appropriate for hazardous material
response vehicles and others.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section twenty-six, article fifteen, chapter
seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read
ARTICLE 15. EQUIPMENT.
§17C-15-26. Special restrictions on lamps.
(a) Any lighted lamp or illuminating device upon a motor
vehicle other than head lamps, spot lamps, auxiliary lamps or
flashing front-direction signals which projects a beam of light
of an intensity greater than three hundred candlepower shall be
so directed that no part of the beam will strike the level of the
roadway on which the vehicle stands at a distance of more than
seventy-five feet from the vehicle.
(b) No person shall drive or move any vehicle or equipment
upon any highway with any lamp or device thereon displaying other
than a white or amber light visible from directly in front of the
center thereof except as authorized by subsection (d) of this
(c) Except as authorized in section nineteen, flashing
lights are prohibited on motor vehicles, except on an authorized
emergency vehicle, school bus, snow removal equipment or on any
vehicle as a means for indicating right or left turn, or on any
vehicle as a means of indicating the same is disabled or
otherwise stopped for an emergency.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the following colors of flashing warning lights are restricted
for the use of the type of vehicle designated:
(1) Blue flashing warning lights are restricted to police
vehicles. Authorization for police vehicles shall be designated
by the chief administrative official of each police department.
(2) Except for standard vehicle equipment authorized by
section nineteen of this article, red flashing warning lights are
restricted to ambulances, firefighting vehicles, hazardous
material response vehicles, industrial fire brigade vehicles,
school buses, Class A vehicles, as defined by section one,
article ten, chapter seventeen-a of this code, of those
firefighters who are authorized by their fire chiefs to have such
lights and to Class A vehicles of members of ambulance services
or duly chartered rescue squads who are authorized by their
respective chiefs to have such lights: Provided, That red
flashing warning lights attached to such Class A vehicles may be
operated only when responding to or engaged in handling an
emergency requiring the attention of such firefighters or members
of such ambulance services or chartered rescue squads.
Authorization for all ambulances shall be designated by the department of health and human resources and the sheriff of the
county of residence.
Authorization for all fire department vehicles shall be
designated by the fire chief and the state fire marshal's office.
Authorization for all hazardous material response vehicles
and industrial fire brigades shall be designated by the chief of
the fire department and the state fire marshal's office.
Authorization for all rescue squad vehicles not operating
out of a fire department shall be designated by the squad chief,
the sheriff of the county of residence and the department of
health and human resources.
Authorization for school buses shall be designated as set
out in section twelve, article fourteen, chapter seventeen-c.
Authorization for firefighters to operate Class A vehicles
shall be designated by their fire chiefs and the state fire
marshal's office: Provided, That out-of-state residents
operating Class A vehicles who are active members of a West
Virginia fire department may be issued an emergency vehicle
permit approved by the fire chief and the state fire marshal's
office. The state fire marshal may charge one dollar for emergency vehicle permits he or she issues.
Authorization for members of ambulance services or any other
emergency medical service personnel to operate Class A vehicles
shall be designated by their chief official, the department of
health and human resources and the sheriff of the county of
Authorization for members of duly chartered rescue squads
not operating out of a fire department to operate Class A
vehicles shall be designated by their squad chiefs, the sheriff
of the county of residence and the department of health and human
(3) All other emergency vehicles, including tow trucks and
wreckers, authorized by this chapter and by section twenty-seven
of this article shall be restricted to amber or yellow flashing
Authorization for tow trucks, wreckers, flag car services,
vehicles providing road service to disabled vehicles, service
vehicles of a public service corporation and postal service
vehicles shall be designated by the sheriff of the county of
residence. Authorization for snow removal equipment shall be designated by the commissioner of the division of highways.
(e) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this
section, any vehicle belonging to a county board of education may
be equipped with a white flashing strobotron warning light. This
strobe light may be installed on the roof of a school bus not to
exceed one-third the body length forward from the rear of the
roof edge. The light shall have a single clear lens emitting
light three hundred sixty degrees around its vertical axis and
may not extend above the roof more than six and one-half inches.
A manual switch and a pilot light must be included to indicate
the light is in operation.
It shall be unlawful for flashing warning lights of an
unauthorized color to be installed or used on a vehicle other
than as specified in this section, except that a police vehicle
may be equipped with either or both blue or red warning lights.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow hazardous
material response vehicles and out-of-state firefighters to have
appropriate emergency lights.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.