Zorn’s emergency vehicle lights reform signed

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to allow the use of corner flashing lights on emergency vehicles as an option to rotating or oscillating lights attached to the roof.

“With this reform, local governments throughout Michigan will now be able to use the improved lighting systems that are in use on many of today’s new emergency vehicles,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I thank the governor for signing this common sense reform, which will help improve public safety and reduce the cost of replacing aging vehicles.”

Senate Bill 46, now Public Act 37 of 2017, eliminates the requirement that flashing, rotating or oscillating lights on emergency vehicles be mounted on the roof of the vehicles.

Modern ambulance and rescue vehicles can have blind spots when rotating lights are attached to the roof. For decades, these vehicles have been using corner lights that meet the state’s visual requirements but their use has not been codified in state statute.

The new law allows corner lights to be used on ambulance and rescue vehicles as long as the lights meet the requirements of being visible 500 feet away and from 360 degrees around the vehicle. Roof-mounted rotating lights may continue to be used as long as the requirements are met.

“The fact is that a traditional rotating light bar attached to the roof of an emergency vehicle may not be the safest or most cost-effective option available today,” Zorn said. “On many new rescue and emergency vehicles, the flashing lights are mounted on the corners of the vehicle rather than the roof. Most importantly, these lights are often brighter than traditional roof-mounted lights and still meet the state’s visibility requirements.”