Red and blue lights for police only in Indiana
July 4, 2012 7:06PM
SOUTH BEND (AP) — A Michigan man found out the hard way that it’s now illegal in Indiana to drive around with red and blue lights on a vehicle.
A 39-year-old Muskegon, Mich., man was pulled over and arrested Monday in South Bend on suspicion of illegal possession of the lights, a Class C misdemeanor, the South Bend Tribune reports.
An Indiana state law that took effect July 1 makes it illegal for anyone other than law enforcement agents to display red and blue lamps on a vehicle. Failure to remove such a lamp is also a crime.
The South Bend police officer who stopped the man, who was driving a 2005 white Ford Crown Victoria with red and blue lights on top, thought at first he was a fellow officer.
Police Capt. Phil Trent said authorities are not sure why the man had the lights on top of the vehicle. He wouldn’t have been arrested if he had been found with such lights before July 1, as long as they were not activated. If the lights on top of his car had been activated, the man could also have been arrested for impersonating an officer.
“In the last five to 10 years, you’ve really seen an increase in the number of police impersonators,” Trent said. “People impersonating usually involves a traffic stop. . People use that to their advantage. There’s no reason for a civilian to do that.”
The new law focuses heavily on funeral escort vehicles, which were previously allowed to have blue and red lamps on top to help them get right of way at an intersection.
The law only applies to red and blue lights together. Other colors, such as red only or yellow, are not included.