In a previous blog we talked about running orange flashing lights, but in addition to orange flashing lights, there are also blue flashing lights. Can you use it on public roads? No! A very simple answer. The blue flashing light may only be used by emergency services! Why do you wonder? We would like to explain that to you. Because it is very important to know that this optical signal is actually forbidden to have mounted in or on your car. In fact, if the police stop you with blue lights, you can expect a hefty fine.
Which emergency services use blue flashing lights?
Emergency services, fortunately there are many of them in the Netherlands. They always support you in emergency situations and must therefore arrive quickly. Minutes are of vital importance and emergency services never know how serious the situation is for which they are called. Optical signals such as blue flashing lights are therefore of great value. The flashing blue flashing light in combination with a loud multi-tone siren ensures that you and your fellow road users know that you need to make way quickly. In our little country, there are various emergency services that are allowed to use this according to the law. The so-called "Right of Way Act". A short list of cars with blue flashing lights:
- Road inspectors (from the Department of Public Works);
- Lifeguards, for example: lifeguards, ambulance and the red cross;
- Organ transplantation transport;
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Services;
- Fire brigade, both fire engines and auxiliary vehicles;
- Undercover police cars;
- Police cars & ME vans;
Undercover police cars do not have a flashing light on the roof as standard. When they receive a call, they will have to get to the location quickly. Other road users will have to be alerted to the fact that they are police and they have to go somewhere urgently. How do they do this? Well they do this by using blue flashing lights with magnetic base. magnetic feet are very strong and will not blow off the roof of the car. Due to the magnetic base, the flashing light can be easily put on and off the roof.
Why are emergency lights blue?
Red is the internationally recognised colour for danger, but flashing lights of the police, among others, are blue. Why is that? One reason is that many other conspicuous colours are already in use. Rear lights of cars are red, headlights are white and yellow and many cities have their traffic lights in red, orange and green. Confusion will arise if the warning light of emergency services has the same colour. Therefore, the colour blue has been chosen. In this way, the flashing lights always stand out and the emergency services are given more space on the road, so that they can reach their destination sooner.
Is the blue flashing light also used abroad?
Of course, blue flashing lights are also used abroad. The whole world actually uses this blue signal light to warn you of really dangerous situations. However, foreign countries would not be foreign countries if they did not have different rules for the use of this signal light. Think for example of our southern neighbours. In Belgium there are other authorities besides the ones mentioned above that also use this light. So, only blue light on police cars is not appropriate. Authorities where the blue flashing light is also used in Belgium are, for example: The civil protection, customs, intervention vehicles and transport special persons.
What other colours do emergency services use?
Of course, you can almost guess, blue lights on cars are really for emergency situations. That is why emergency services and special government vehicles are also equipped with other lights. You know the amber lights that are used when working on the road. These lights have also been incorporated into the lights of emergency vehicles, particularly in recent times. These are often cars that have both amber and blue LEDs. The colour amber, as opposed to blue, is used when blocking the road. For example, well in front of where an accident has taken place. A police car turns on its amber lights here instead of its blue ones. Now you know that there is a dangerous situation but no emergency.
As a citizen, can I just have a blue flashing light on my car?
As stated earlier, it is not permitted for citizens to have these blue lights on their cars. If you are stopped with these lights, there are generally two options available to you. Either the police consider the blue light as 'wearing the wrong type of lighting' or your case will be presented to the public prosecutor. In this case, the judge will look into the incident. The second is often used if you have caused an accident or collision. Obviously, because you are not authorised to drive with lights that are blue light pattern you can be held responsible for the damage incurred, should this apply.
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What happens when the police arrest you with a blue flashing light?
Because you can also be fined under the vehicle regulations if you are arrested, your vehicle is no longer suitable for the public highway. The blue lights that you have fitted, flashing lights and/or beacons must be rendered inoperative. This means that you have to remove all connected wiring and changes to the bodywork. After this, you have to take your car to the RDW again, to have it inspected. The inspectors will check your car from head to toe for any irregularities. If they find any blue lights, they are not authorised to let you back on the road. The time between an actual RDW inspection and the removal of the wiring etc. is 28 days. It depends on the extent to which you have fitted your car with these blue lights and the fine whether your car needs to be fully inspected.
Are there any other blue lights for the car?
Certainly there are other blue lights available for your car. In addition to the blue flashing lights, flash units are also available from TRALERT®. Speed cameras are one-way lights that are often mounted in specific places. Think of grill flash units or dashboard flash units. Grill flash units are often mounted behind the grill of undercover police cars. In this way, the car can move unnoticed between the traffic without using the lights. However, if an emergency arises, these flashers can be activated to quickly alert other road users to the situation.
Before a light can be used on public roads, it must comply with the R65 certification. Beacons are given this certification when they can be seen from all angles. The light must be visible at 20 metres from the vehicle at a height of 1.5 metres. If a certain object blocks the light of an orange flashing light, a second flashing light will have to be added.