Florida fire trucks will soon have blue rear lights. Here’s why
Image via Robin Bartleman.

Weston Blue Lights Fire Truck
Until this month, only police and prison vehicles could use blue lights.

Large fire trucks throughout the Sunshine State will soon have blue rear lights in addition to the red tail lights seen on practically all vehicles nationwide.

There’s a good reason.

This past Legislative Session, state lawmakers unanimously approved a bipartisan bill (HB 463) to allow government-owned fire department vehicles weighing more than 12 tons to have blue lights on their rears.

Previously, the allowance only applied to police and prison vehicles.

Numerous studies have found that red and blue are the most visible illuminated colors on the spectrum. That includes a 2004 study by the Florida Highway Patrol that determined that red flashing lights are most easily perceived in daylight, while blue stands out best at night.

Emergency vehicles use blue lights in much of Europe. At least 16 other U.S. states let fire department vehicles display blue emergency warning lights too, according to a House staff analysis of HB 463.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 463 on March 22. It went into effect July 1. The month before, a North Fort Myers firefighter was struck by a vehicle while responding to a roadway crash. Similar incidents occurred in Pinellas and Walton counties in 2021.

“Every first responder deserves to come home to their families at the end of their shift, and this legislation is another safeguard to protect our first responders,” said Weston Democratic Rep. Robin Bartleman, who sponsored the measure with Naples Republican Rep. Lauren Melo.

Fleming Island Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley sponsored an identical companion bill (SB 1158) in the Legislature’s upper chamber.

House records show that the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association, Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association, and Miami-Dade and Osceola counties lobbied on the legislation.

Fire Chiefs’ Association President Harold Theus said his organization, the Broward Deputy Sheriffs Association and the Florida Sheriffs Association all supported the change.

He called HB 463 “common-sense legislation which will save the lives of our firefighters across this great state.”

Bartleman’s office said several local governments, including the city of Weston, have already begun transitioning to blue rear lights.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

One comment

  • My Take

    July 9, 2024 at 3:38 pm

    Seems a good idea.

    A busy city street at night is often a sea of other red lights.

Comments are closed.


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