At this point, it’s an instinct for an alert driver on the roads: flashing blue lights means slow down, pull over or move out of the way.
“People are driving down the roadway, and a red light can be a tail light, a break light, a directional light, a stop light, it could be a red blinking light on top of a radio tower. You see a blue light, something’s going on,” said Williston Fire Chief Ken Morton.
Morton is pushing for a bill that would allow fire trucks and ambulances to carry one blue light on the rear of their vehicles.
“There’s some issues with which lights are more visible day versus night,” Chief Morton said.
According to Vermont’s Department of Motor Vehicles, historically law enforcement has been blue, while fire and EMS have been red in the Green Mountain State.
“Those are the only two permits right now that the Department of Motor Vehicles issues in the state. You can not run a combination of those colors,” said Director of Enforcement and Safety at the DMV, Col. Jake Elovirta.
Col. Elovirta pointed out each state is different. In New York, the police lights are mainly red with a bit of blue.
“There’s been also some arguments about color blindness. People picking up blue versus red in color,” Col. Elovirta said.
The Vermont bill would only allow the blue light in the back of emergency vehicles that aren’t law enforcement, that way there’s no confusion for vehicles in pursuit.
Advocates say it’s really for the protection of pulled of vehicles.
“Make the roads safer for our fire fighters, EMTs, Hazmat team and such,” Chief Morton said.