I belong to a volunteer organization that provides rehab support for the local Fire and Police departments. When called to an incident, is it permissable for the vehicles (unmarked private vehicles) to use flashing amber lights on their vehicle?
While I know you have good intentions and safety in mind, the Illinois Vehicle Code provides specific rules on all types of lighting, to include flashing, rotating, or oscillating amber (yellow) lights. It does not allow for the use of flashing amber lights in the specific situation you describe.
Amber lighting can generally only be used in these circumstances: on Farm vehicles, Tow Trucks, State, local municipal or contractor vehicles engaged in maintenance or construction operations, engineering or survey crews, vehicles of public utilities, construction, maintenance or automotive service, oversized loads, public utility snow plows, Fleet safety vehicles, Law Enforcement vehicles, Propane delivery trucks, US Postal Service vehicles, Garbage trucks, vehicles used by a security company or alarm responder, Dept. of Human Services vehicles, Construction company Union representatives, and such other vehicles as may be authorized by local authorities.
The last situation could be an exception to allow your use of such lighting. You would have to obtain authorization from local authorities (such as a Fire Chief or Mayor) in written form. The authorities would have to determine that your response to an incident scene was necessary and specifically allow the use of the lighting within their jurisdiction. Keep in mind that in the use of private vehicles you may be opening yourself to liability in the case of a crash or other incident involving your vehicle. Your organization may want to consult in advance with an attorney to determine the degree and extent, so you can make an informed decision. Thanks for your question. -Randy