Are Louisiana Police Emergency Lights Too Bright? Study Backs Up Motorists’ Complaints
Comments on a recent post about the Louisiana State Police prompted a complaint: are their emergency lights too bright?
The original post explained why Louisiana State Police sometimes sit on the side of the highway with their emergency lights activated and, in the comments, some people complained that their lights were way too bright.
One study appears to back up those complaints and offers suggestions on how to remedy the situation.
Matt Richardson asks "Can we make a post for LSP to install dimmers on their LED strips... those things are blinding at night." Well, Matt, here's your post.
The comment (and the question it contained) prompted a discussion about the intensity of the Louisiana State Police emergency lights on their cruisers. Are they too bright?
Of course, the lights need to be visible, and they need to be visible from a distance. The lights can usually be seen easily at night, but during the day they may be harder to see, especially during conditions of poor visibility: heavy rain, fog, etc.
Therefore it is necessary, at times, for the lights to be extremely bright. But during normal conditions, can they be toned down a bit?
Brighter lights, in theory, would have a greater impact when trying to determine how far away the lights are. If the lights are dim, I can see where some people may think they are at a greater distance away.
But, again, what is TOO bright?
Matt Richardson, one of the Facebook users commenting on the story, asks if there has been a study about the brightness of the lights on emergency vehicles.
No one is questioning the need for vehicles to have emergency lights, and people agree that the lights need to be visible in all conditions, but: when conditions are clear, can we tone down the lights just a bit?
I have to admit, those lights are BRIGHT! When I drive by a State Trooper who has activated the emergency lights on their vehicle, I do have to shield my eyes.
I know that the lights affect people differently, but I haven't found many people who say that the lights aren't too bright.
Do I blame the police? No, because if it were me sitting in that car, I certainly would want people to know I'm there. But, again, the question needs to be asked: Can the lights be dimmed some?
Shannon hopes that the Louisiana State Police gets wind of the post so that may make the proper considerations.
Matt Richardson seems to be aware of some municipalities actually making adjustments for the brightness of their lights and altering the way they flash.
Joe McFalls backed up Richardson on his post, saying that many police cars do have the ability to tone down the lights, so to speak.
Again, if I were an officer, I would want to make certain that oncoming traffic can see me well, but I would also not want to cause more of a problem by blinding drivers.
The study that Matt Richardson linked to above is from the Emergency Responder Safety Institute shows a great summary that shows there IS a problem when it comes to some emergency vehicle lighting.
The study found that there is no national standard in place for lights on emergency vehicles and recommends that states get together to develop nationwide specifications.
The study also acknowledges that a different brightness of the emergency lights needs to be used according to the current conditions. If it is a clear night with great visibility, maybe a dimmer can be used to lower the intensity of the lights to give our eyes a bit of a break.
In the part of the summary shown above, it shows that the study found that there is no "upper limit" of brightness on the lights on some emergency vehicles. Its recommendation: new standards that address the issue.
Until there is a national standard for lights and the intensity of those lights, my hope is that current law enforcement officers take a moment to consider drivers when they have their emergency lights activated. If you have a dimmer, please use it when conditions allow.
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