Red vs. blue: Who decides the color of lights on police cars?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions and shares tips about the rules of the road, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Trooper Steve on Monday was asked, “Why do some police cars in different states use red lights and others use blue lights?”

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

Trooper Steve often discusses police emergency equipment and lighting and said there have been studies that show certain colored lights are more visible during the daytime and at night.

“This has evolved over time, and it’s part of the reason why you see blue and red lights on police vehicles in most states,” he added. “If you find yourself traveling in northern states, most police vehicles have red lights.”

Trooper Steve said it gets a bit more confusing because fire rescue and medical services have blue lights on their vehicles.

“Travel a little further south in the country and police vehicles predominantly have blue lights and fire rescue have red,” he said. “Now, to me, this makes obviously more sense as fire rescue and ambulance services are usually red in nature so why not have red lights on them?”

“I can’t speak for all the other states as to why they do what they do, but in Florida, blue lights predominantly represent law enforcement,” Trooper Steve said.

He added that the biggest takeaway is that if you hear a siren and see a mixture of red and blue lights coming up behind you, you need to yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle.


About the Authors:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on ClickOrlando.com, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.