Troopers issuing warnings for firefighter’s “illegal” warning lights

Pennsylvania State Police have noticed more and more volunteer firefighters using LED dash lights. The problem is Pennsylvania law says firefighters need to revolving light on the outside of their vehicle. Thus many firefighters in the state are in violation of traffic laws.

The troopers so far are being nice. Issuing warnings to firefighters by mail after the fact.

As a police officer (and formerly a firefighter), this story makes me rather upset. The law allowing firefighters to put emergency lights in their vehicles was written at a time. Basically, only external revolving lights were on the market. Technology has changed, but no one ever thought to update the laws.

A magnificent sergeant taught me as a young officer about what is the “Letter of the Law” and what is the “Spirit of the Law”. Meaning sometimes a law might spell something out, yet to rigidly enforce it is impractical.

I don’t like second guessing fellow officers. However in a time when there is a fair amount of anti-police backlash, does not seem the best idea. LED dash lights have been around for many years now. Why suddenly enforce that law?

Happy to hear the state is taking steps to fix the law. We had a similar issue here dealing with flashing “wig-wag” headlights. The sheriff sent a memo out to all police chief’s in the county asking that we “overlook the violation for a few months till the law can be updated to reflect what people are using to create a safer visual awareness for emergency vehicles.”

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