by Lisa Magloff
police car speed, toy car model, chase criminal image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com
Car enthusiasts often add neon car lights, or ground effect lights, to make the car look more interesting or attractive. Most states, including North Carolina, have laws governing the use of neon lights and the allowed colors. These generally prohibit the use of neon lights that may interfere with driving or are the same color as those used by emergency services vehicles. In North Carolina, the use of neon lights is governed by the Motor Vehicle Law.
In North Carolina, it is illegal for any private vehicle, with a few exceptions, to have a red light of any kind, including neon lights. The law defines a red light as one designed to be used in emergency vehicles or one similar to such lights. The law also includes any forward-facing red lights. Neon lights that can be seen from the front of the car would be illegal in North Carolina.
Red light exceptions
Several types of vehicles are exempt from red light restrictions. These include police cars, ambulances, vehicles used to transport organs for transplants or blood supplies, school buses, and vehicles used by members of rural fire departments, including volunteer firefighters. Private vehicles used by volunteer members of salvage organizations are also exempt if approved by the local police. Vehicles used by emergency physicians may also use red lights.
North Carolina law makes it illegal to have a blue light on any vehicle that is not used for law enforcement. A blue light is defined by law as any forward-facing blue light similar in appearance to those used by emergency vehicles. Lights that are inoperative or used on specially constructed vehicles used in parades, exhibitions, or other non-transportation uses are permitted. In order for it not to work, the light must not be able to produce illumination.
North Carolina also prohibits driving forward on the highway with white or clear lights to the rear of any vehicle. This type of light is normally used to signal a vehicle that is backing up. The law does not prohibit the use of white lights, including white neon lights, while the vehicle is stopped or backing up. Any other light than bulbs, such as neon lights, with an intensity of more than 25 wattage candles, must be mounted to prevent the light from extending more than 50 feet from the vehicle.
Neon lights allowed
North Carolina law does not completely prohibit neon lights, only certain colors of light. Vehicle owners can still use neon lights in colors other than blue or red. Neon lights come in a variety of colors, such as green, pink, purple, orange, and yellow. North Carolina law also specifically allows the use of amber lighting as a warning light, even on privately owned vehicles.