Progress is Impossible without Change.
When it comes to the acceptance and adoption of vehicle warning colours, Australia is behind countries like the US, UK and South Korea. Decision makers up top are concerned that if more colours are permitted, it may cause confusion and become difficult to regulate. Yet, it seems very easy to regulate frontal protection bars and driving lights fitted to recreational vehicles, but apparently too difficult to regulate the safety of vehicles used for and in work applications.
In the South Korea and the UK, doctors and medical professionals use the Green colour as their primary vehicle warning light when responding. In Texas, Security patrol vehicles can use Green, Amber and/or White warning colours whilst in the state of Virginia, Tow Trucks can use Magenta, Green and Amber colours.
REDFLEET provides 6 unique warning colours for LEGAL use on Australian roads and work sites.
Whilst some colours are restricted for authorised vehicles only, the 6 official colours are:
- AMBER also known as Yellow or Orange
- MAGENTA also known as Crimson, Purple or Pink
- WHITE also known as Clear
These are genuinely L.E.D. created colours and do not require a coloured lens or filter to produce the intended colour.
AMBER YELLOW ORANGE coloured L.E.D. lights are the most widely used warning colour available and deployed in Australia. By definition, a vehicle with an AMBER coloured warning light signifies that it is operating in a hazardous environment cautioning other road users that are around or approaching that vehicle to slow down and manoeuvre cautiously paying extra attention in case of a hazard or obstruction to the standard free flow of traffic. AMBER warning lights are not to be used when there is no hazard and this colour does not give the vehicle any right of way or emergency response status on public roads.
BLUE coloured L.E.D. lights are highly restricted to Emergency Vehicles only. Whilst in Australia, most emergency service vehicles operate both RED + BLUE colours together, some law enforcement police agencies have begun trials into all BLUE only coloured L.E.D. light configurations for easier identification. Traditionally, BLUE is very much a representation of a vehicle that is operated by and for Law Enforcement & Policing duties such as Highway Patrol. General members of the public are not permitted to operate BLUE coloured warning lights legally in Australia.
GREEN coloured L.E.D. lights have a different definition across Australia. Whilst it is primarily used to identify incident command vehicles for Police, Fire and Ambulance services whilst on scene, Amber & Green combination lights are also used in Queensland for authorised Animal & Fire Management vehicles. The private construction and works sector have also begun a new safety identification initiative for machinery, tractors and diggers to feature dual colour AMBER + GREEN coloured lights as the machinery is safe for others to approach when the GREEN coloured light is flashing.
MAGENTA CRIMSON PINK PURPLE coloured L.E.D. lights are restricted to Special Law Enforcement agencies only including but not limited to Heavy-Vehicles, Fisheries and Local Rangers. Members of the public are not allowed to use this colour on public roads. In the USA, MAGENTA coloured lights are often used for funeral procession vehicles.
RED coloured L.E.D. lights are restricted to Emergency Response Vehicles only. Whilst some exceptions have been allowed for secondary tier medical, fire and volunteer vehicles, RED coloured lights usually represent danger, warning and keep away. Often used in conjunction with BLUE, most emergency vehicles in Australia utilise this combination to safely respond on public roads.
WHITE CLEAR coloured L.E.D. lights are often used in conjunction with other colours as WHITE by definition offers no distinct colour for identification. WHITE lights provide a very powerful effect when used in combination with other colours. Traditionally, it is recommended that WHITE colours only be used for front facing applications only and definitely not for rear facing.