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Strobe lights in Massachusetts?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Shortstuff, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Member
    Messages: 94

    I've done my searching and read many threads/posts about the use of strobe lights of different kinds in many locations. I read the General Laws of MA and could find nothing specific about the use of amber strobes in particular.

    So, my question is; What is the generally accepted practice as to the use of strobes on my truck while plowing snow? Are there specific laws that I just haven't found concerning the use of strobes? Am I limited to the type and color of strobe(s) I can use, lightbar, hidden in headlight and tailight, in the grill, amber, red, clear, etc.?

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Jim@esitrucks

    Jim@esitrucks Inactive
    Messages: 1,124

    I would think if you stay away from red or blue you should be ok. Amber seems to be the standard everywhere.I dont think the local leo cares if its on a lightbar,in the grill ect as long as the colors are not red or blue
  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    In Maine it's amber only, although many guys including DOT (and myself) are running stuff that is yellow, and looks almost white from a distance, particularly during the day. There can't be any restrictions on location, I see them all over trucks. I have a friend that used to run a full strobe lightbar. He got pulled over a couple times running it down the road between jobs. I shut mine off between jobs. I think it looks silly to run them unless you are in a situation that people need to be aware of.

    Look around at other trucks and see what they are running, and where.
  4. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    In MA you are required to have a flashing light while in the act of plowing. you can use your 4 way flashers if you want. You may NOT use Blue or red strobes, you can use yellow. I prefer rotating lights to strobes. strobes have a longer line of sight distance, However in MA we have a lot of hills and curves and rotating lights are visible over and around corners.
  5. 7.3 Plower

    7.3 Plower Senior Member
    Messages: 221

    Ambers are the only legal color as far as I'm aware. Red, blue, and green are restricted to emergency personnel. Blue only would be for a volunteer firefighter.

    And I believe you're *supposed* to have a permit for flashing ambers, but nobody bothers.

    At least that's what I understand the law to be in Connecticut.
  6. oh8chevy2500

    oh8chevy2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 143

    this is the actual law about amber warning lights in mass i got it by email from the RMV

    540 CMR 22.06: Mounting and Display of Amber and Other Colored Lights

    (1) No person shall mount or display a flashing, rotating or
    oscillating amber light on a motor vehicle operated on the way,
    except as provided in 540 CMR 22.06.

    (2) Flashing, rotating or oscillating amber light(s) may be
    mounted and displayed on:

    (a) motor vehicles used for emergency or service purposes
    operated by members or employees of an auxiliary police force,
    charitable organizations, private burglar alarm companies,
    private detective and private security agencies, agencies of the
    Commonwealth or its political subdivisions, persons and garages
    providing motorists assistance services or towing services,
    public and private utility companies for emergency or service
    purposes, persons and companies that are transporting human blood
    or organs for emergency purposes, oxygen, explosives or other
    hazardous materials;

    (b) motor vehicles that have the owner's name displayed so as to
    be plainly visible from each side or from the front and rear of
    the motor vehicle, and which are actually engaged in the
    performance of a service, public or private, where the display of
    such lights would be in the best interest of public safety; and

    (c) such other motor vehicles as authorized by written permit of
    the Registrar, which shall be carried by the operator upon his or
    her person or in the vehicle in some easily accessible place.

    No person shall mount or display any flashing, rotating or
    oscillating light of any color other than amber, except blue and
    red lights as provided in M.G.L.c. 90, § 7E, unless by
    written permit of the Registrar, which shall be carried by the
    operator upon his or her person or in the vehicle, in some easily
    accessible place.

    (3) The Registrar may order the removal of any colored light,
    including amber, at any time he deems necessary, upon written
    notice to the registrant, with a copy to the chief of police
    where said motor vehicle is principally garaged. Any registrant
    so notified, who fails to remove such colored lights, and who
    operates or permits the operation of such lights on the public
    way, shall be in violation of the Registrar's rules and
    regulations as provided in M.G.L.c. 90, § 20.

    (4) For purposes of 540 CMR 2.06, the following are not
    considered flashing, rotating or oscillating lights as restricted
    by M.G.L.c. 90, § 7 and do not require a permit to be issued
    by the Registrar:

    (a) a flashing strobe light stop signal arm attached to a school
    bus in compliance with 49 C.F.R. Part 571; or

    (b) a modulating motorcycle headlight mounted and operated on a
    motorcycle, in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety
    Standard # 108, 49 C.F.R. § 571.108.
  7. oh8chevy2500

    oh8chevy2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 143

    as to where to mount them i have them tir3's that are goin to be mounted behind the grill and on my back rack ...if you are going for hideaways i would tend to keep them away from any headlight (hi/low) and taillight best bet would be ambers in the turn lenses on 4 corners ..
  8. plowmaster07

    plowmaster07 Senior Member
    Messages: 438

    I wouldn't put any Wig-Wag kits in your headlights, Im pretty sure that its only for emergency only. Other than that I would go yellow/ amber or clear. Im pretty sure that the mounting spot doesn't matter either Ive never heard anyone given a hard time about those color lights. If anyone has, I would love to hear your story.
    Good Luck,

  9. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Member
    Messages: 94

    Thanks for all the replies. As with many things, even though it's signed into law and clearly printed in black and white, it's still somewhat fuzzy and at the mercy of 'interpretation'. I have read and understand what the laws say, but there are still more specific questions without answers.

    I'm going to go with nothing other than amber and only amber. Amber is the color of our directional lights/lenses and the color 'yellow' is not mentioned in the laws. Installing flashing strobes, either the glass strobe tubes or high-intensity LED's in either the clear headlights (white light) and/or the red tailight assemblies is a no-no. The use of alternating headlight flashing (wig-wag) is a no-no. If the bulb/LED is amber in color then they can be used with either a clear or amber lens. If the bulb/LED is white in color, they must be mounted behind an amber lens of some type.

    At least that is my safest bet, stay with amber only and only use them when in the act of plowing snow. And if assisting another motorist or if I'm broken down on public roadways.

    I'm actually building my own LED lightbar and will be posting pics, etc. in the Stobe light section if anyone is interested.

  10. ScustomAuto

    ScustomAuto Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I just got my amber light permit apps, they are available from the Registry. You need to call 617 973 8860 and from there they will send you the permit. You fill it out and send it in.
  11. plowmaster07

    plowmaster07 Senior Member
    Messages: 438

    ScustomAuto, First off. Welcome to plowsite!! What kind of information were they looking for on the app? Any fee involved? There are so many guys running amber & clear warning lights around my area I'm thinking that the law enforcement doesn't really care... ya know? What are the limitations of the permit?
  12. ScustomAuto

    ScustomAuto Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    They ask for owners info (name, address, that kind of stuff), vehicle info (vin, year make model plate) and then they ask what the lights will be used for. This only indicated AMBER is an accepted color. Law enforcement doenst really care, so long as you're not being a dick with them. Also, it has the section of the MGL that deals with amber lights. If you would like, PM me and i'll email you the form. You CANNOT submit it tho, it has to be on their special paper lol. Trust me, ive been down that route before.
  13. plowmaster07

    plowmaster07 Senior Member
    Messages: 438

    Alright thanks. PM sent.
  14. eagle-eyes

    eagle-eyes Junior Member
    Messages: 4


    Hey guys I never had a problem with my strobes in my brake lights of my 2000 f350 witch were red and were installed by metropoltan truck center in stoughton ma .they never said I couldnt have them installed in the brake lights.and never had a problem with law enforcement I see trucks all the time with them in the brake lights.arounf here but i do not intend to do that with my gmc hd iam going all amber and I think the amber looks better.just my 2 centsThumbs Up
  15. Shunamon

    Shunamon Junior Member
    from 01876
    Messages: 5

    I have a question about location
    Could I put a light in my back window to not have to have any wires outside of my truck
    Or because it is not on top would that not be conidered sufficient where it would only be facing out the back?
  16. MSsnowplowing

    MSsnowplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 761

    In CT you only need a permit if you have your lights running while driving on state or town roads.

    If you plowing on private property you don't need a permit.

    One of the reasons I turn my strobes off while going from property to property and another is unless I'm plowing they are off, I don't want people to get used to them.

    As a lot of other guys have said, stick to Amber, you can light up your truck as much as you want when your plowing but turn it off while your driving on the roads.