[UPDATE] Christmas Lights on Vehicles in Louisiana – What’s Legal and What Isn’t?
Ready to really go all out and decorate your vehicle for Christmas? Before you do, take a look at what is, and what isn't allowed in Lafayette and Louisiana.
Christmas time in Acadiana is such a great time of year. You might even say it's the most wonderful time of the year.
The pandemic has obviously been a big ole Grinch for almost two years, canceling many of our Holiday festivities, but things are looking pretty jolly these days. Everyone seems to have a bit of extra Christmas spirit these days, something you've undoubtedly noticed around Acadiana.
One thing I've noticed for Christmas 2021 is how many people have decorated their trucks, jeeps, and cars.
Driving around Lafayette and Acadiana you'll see vehicles decorated with Christmas wreaths, signs, Christmas tree garland, and Christmas lights. Lots of Christmas lights. Personally, I really enjoy seeing all of the Christmas lights on vehicles around town.
However, I can understand how Christmas lights can cause a distraction to other drivers.
That got me curious about what laws there might be in Lafayette and Louisiana concerning what's OK and what's not when it comes to decorating your vehicles with Christmas lights.
Laws For Lights On Vehicles In Louisiana
First, let's take a look at the laws on the books in Louisiana concerning additional lighting on a vehicle like neon underglow lighting, license plate lighting, etc.
According to neonlaws.com -
"Louisiana law does not prohibit using additional vehicle lighting which would include neon underglow. Therefore it’s our conclusion that in Louisiana neon underglow is not illegal."
Be very aware that, there are many different ways to skin this cat. Think of it like this...it may not be illegal for you to own a gun, but it's certainly illegal to harm or kill someone with it, rob someone with it, assault someone with it, etc.
Does that make sense?
Louisiana Motor vehicles and traffic regulation
RS 32:320 — Additional lighting equipment.
Additional lighting equipment
A. Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not more than two side or fender lamps which shall emit an amber or white light without glare.
B. Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not more than one running board courtesy lamp on each side thereof which shall emit a white or amber light without glare.
That is just a sliver of what you need to know when it comes to vehicle lighting. You can read and learn more at law.justia.com.
There are some other pretty simple "no no's" to be aware of before you even start.
From neonlaws.com -
1. Blue-colored lights are illegal
2. Flashing lights are not permitted.
3. Using neon lights of any color except white near license plate is not allowed.
4. Red or green light must not be visible from the front of the car.
5. Do not display any combination of white, red, and blue colored lights.
What about Christmas lights?
So, here's the deal. When it comes down to it, much of it really depends on an officer's discretion and exactly what you have going on with your lights.
With as many different laws and statutes as there are on the books in Louisiana when it comes to additional lighting on a vehicle, chances are the lights will be technically in violation of something.
There is nothing that specifically mentions Christmas lights and motor vehicles on the law books for Louisiana.
It's not all bad news though, as long as you use a little common sense.
1. Don't have any lights or decorations on your vehicle that obscure your vision while driving.
2. Don't have lights on your vehicle that appear in any way to be emergency vehicle lights, such as an ambulance, police car, firetruck, etc.
3. Don't have any type of obscene or suggestive lighting or decorations.
4. Don't go too crazy with it to where it becomes a dangerous distraction on the road for other drivers.
Again, the above-unwritten rules are exactly that, unwritten. It doesn't mean that you can't or won't be pulled over if an officer feels there's a safety issue.
Remember, it's all up to the officer's digression.
Read all of the lighting laws HERE.