Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 279

    February Session, 2016

Substitute House Bill No. 5406

House of Representatives, March 30, 2016

The Committee on Public Safety and Security reported through REP. DARGAN of the 115th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT PERMITTING PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL TO USE BLUE LIGHTS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 14-96q of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) A permit is required for the use of colored or flashing lights on all motor vehicles or equipment specified in this section except: (1) Motor vehicles not registered in this state used for transporting or escorting any vehicle or load, or combinations thereof, which is either oversize or overweight, or both, when operating under a permit issued by the Commissioner of Transportation pursuant to section 14-270; or (2) motor vehicles or equipment that are (A) equipped with lights in accordance with this section, (B) owned or leased by the federal government, the state of Connecticut, or any other state, commonwealth or local municipality, and (C) registered to such governmental entity. When used in this section the term "flashing" shall be considered to include the term "revolving".

(b) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, or such other person specifically identified in this section, is authorized to issue permits for the use of colored or flashing lights on vehicles in accordance with this section, at the commissioner's or such person's discretion. Any person, firm or corporation other than the state or any metropolitan district, town, city or borough shall pay an annual permit fee of twenty dollars to the commissioner for each such vehicle. Such fee shall apply only to permits issued by the commissioner.

(c) A blue light or lights, including flashing blue lights, may be used on a motor vehicle operated by an active member of a volunteer fire department or company, [or an active member of an] organized civil preparedness auxiliary fire company or volunteer ambulance association or company who has been issued a permit by the chief executive officer of such department, [or] company or association to use such a light while on the way to or at the scene of a fire or other emergency requiring such member's services. Such permit shall be on a form provided by the commissioner and may be revoked by such chief executive officer or successor. The chief executive officer of each volunteer fire department or company, [or] organized civil preparedness auxiliary fire company or volunteer ambulance association or company shall keep on file, [the] on forms provided by the commissioner, the names and addresses of members who have been authorized to use flashing blue lights as provided in this subsection. Such listing shall also designate the registration number of the motor vehicle on which authorized flashing blue lights are to be used.

[(d) A green light or lights, including flashing green lights, may be used on a motor vehicle operated by an active member of a volunteer ambulance association or company who has been issued a permit by the chief executive officer of such association or company to use such a light, while on the way to or at the scene of an emergency requiring such member's services. Such permit shall be on a form provided by the commissioner and may be revoked by such chief executive officer or successor. The chief executive officer of each volunteer ambulance association or company shall keep on file on forms provided by the commissioner, the names and addresses of members who have been authorized to use flashing green lights as provided in this subsection. Such listing shall also designate the registration number of the vehicle on which the authorized flashing green lights are to be used.]

[(e)] (d) The commissioner may issue a permit for a red light or lights, including flashing red lights, which may be used on a motor vehicle or equipment (1) used by paid fire chiefs and their deputies and assistants, up to a total of five individuals per department, (2) used by volunteer fire chiefs and their deputies and assistants, up to a total of five individuals per department, (3) used by members of the fire police on a stationary vehicle as a warning signal during traffic directing operations at the scene of a fire or emergency, (4) used by chief executive officers of emergency medical service organizations, as defined in section 19a-175, the first or second deputies, or if there are no deputies, the first or second assistants, of such an organization that is a municipal or volunteer or licensed organization, (5) used by local fire marshals, or (6) used by directors of emergency management.

[(f)] (e) The commissioner may issue a permit for a yellow or amber light or lights, including flashing yellow or amber lights, which may be used on motor vehicles or equipment that are (1) specified in subsection [(e)] (d) of this section, (2) maintenance vehicles as defined in section 14-1, or (3) vehicles transporting or escorting any vehicle or load or combinations thereof, which is or are either oversize or overweight, or both, and being operated or traveling under a permit issued by the Commissioner of Transportation pursuant to section 14-270. A yellow or amber light or lights, including flashing yellow or amber lights, may be used without obtaining a permit from the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles on wreckers registered pursuant to section 14-66, or on vehicles of carriers in rural mail delivery service.

[(g)] (f) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may issue a permit for a white light or lights, including flashing white lights, which may be used on a motor vehicle or equipment as specified in subdivision (1), (2), (4), (5) or (6) of subsection [(e)] (d) of this section. A vehicle being operated by a member of a volunteer fire department or company or a volunteer emergency medical technician may use flashing white head lamps, provided such member or emergency medical technician is on the way to the scene of a fire or medical emergency and has received written authorization from the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality to use such head lamps. Such head lamps shall only be used within the municipality granting such authorization or from a personal residence or place of employment, if located in an adjoining municipality. Such authorization may be revoked for use of such head lamps in violation of this [subdivision] subsection. For the purposes of this subsection, the term "flashing white lights" shall not include the simultaneous flashing of head lamps.

[(h)] (g) The commissioner may issue a permit for emergency vehicles, as defined in subsection (a) of section 14-283, to use a blue, red, yellow, or white light or lights, including flashing lights or any combination thereof.

[(i)] (h) The commissioner may issue a permit for ambulances, as defined in section 19a-175, which may, in addition to the flashing lights allowed in subsection [(h)] (g) of this section, use flashing lights of other colors specified by federal requirements for the manufacture of an ambulance. If the commissioner issues a permit for any ambulance, such permit shall be issued at the time of registration and upon each renewal of such registration.

[(j)] (i) Use of colored and flashing lights except as authorized by this section shall be an infraction.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2016

14-96q

PS

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

This bill changes the color of the light that active members of a volunteer ambulance association or company may use on the way to or at an emergency scene which is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact to the state or municipalities.

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5406

AN ACT PERMITTING PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL TO USE BLUE LIGHTS.

SUMMARY:

This bill changes, from green to blue, the color of the light that active members of a volunteer ambulance association or company may use on a vehicle they operate on the way to or at an emergency scene requiring their services. Others who may use blue lights, including flashing blue lights, under current law and in similar circumstances, are active members of a volunteer fire department or company or an organized civil preparedness auxiliary fire company.

The bill reduces the number of colored lights authorized for public safety vehicle use by eliminating green lights, which are currently authorized only for members of a volunteer ambulance association or company.

As is currently the case for green light users, blue light users must, by law, get a permit from the chief executive officer of the pertinent department, company, or association. The chief executive officer must keep on file, on forms provided by the motor vehicles commissioner, the names and addresses of members authorized to use flashing lights, and the documentation must designate the registration number of the motor vehicle authorized to use such lights.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Safety and Security Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

23

Nay

2

(03/15/2016)

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