California Neon Underglow laws

Neon underglow lights on vehicles can transform the nighttime streets into a vibrant spectacle. However, before you dive into this trend in California, it’s essential to understand the state’s neon underglow laws to avoid legal complications. In this blog post, we’ll illuminate the key regulations and guidelines governing neon underglow lights in California.

Understanding California Neon Underglow Laws

California, like many other states, has specific rules and restrictions to ensure that neon underglow lights don’t compromise road safety or become a distraction for other drivers. Let’s delve into the details:

1. Permitted Colors

In California, neon underglow lights are generally permitted as long as they emit only white or amber light. These colors are considered non-distracting and are less likely to confuse other drivers. To stay compliant, make sure your neon lights stick to these shades.

2. Prohibited Colors

Using neon underglow lights that emit colors other than white or amber is strictly prohibited in California. Colors like red, blue, green, or any combination thereof are typically reserved for law enforcement and emergency vehicles. Violating this rule can result in legal consequences and fines.

3. Placement Restrictions

California law dictates specific placement restrictions for neon underglow lights. These lights should not be visible from the front of the vehicle while it’s in motion. Additionally, they must not emit any flashing or rotating lights, as this can be distracting and hazardous to other drivers.

4. Prohibited Flashing and Moving Lights

Flashing or moving neon underglow lights are not allowed in California. This prohibition extends to any type of lighting equipment on your vehicle to prevent confusion and ensure road safety.

5. Time Restrictions

While California allows the use of neon underglow lights, they should be turned off while your vehicle is in motion on public roads. You can use them when your vehicle is parked or during non-driving situations, such as car shows or exhibitions.

6. Penalties for Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with California neon underglow laws can result in penalties and fines. Depending on the nature of the violation, you may face fines, equipment removal, or even misdemeanor charges. It’s crucial to follow these regulations to avoid legal trouble and hefty fines.

Final Words

Neon underglow lights can add a unique and eye-catching flair to your vehicle, but it’s vital to adhere to California’s laws and regulations regarding their use. By using only permitted colors, complying with placement restrictions, and avoiding flashing or moving lights, you can enjoy the aesthetic benefits of neon underglow lights while staying within the bounds of the law. Remember, these rules are designed to prioritize road safety and prevent distractions, so always prioritize responsible use when adding neon underglow lights to your vehicle in California.


Are neon underglow lights legal on vehicles in California?

Neon underglow lights are generally illegal on vehicles in California. State law prohibits the use of any lighting equipment that alters the vehicle’s appearance or could be distracting to other drivers.

Can I use neon underglow lights for car shows or exhibitions in California?

While neon underglow lights are not permitted for regular on-road use, they may be used for static displays at car shows or exhibitions. However, they should not be turned on when the vehicle is in motion on public roads.

What are the penalties for using neon underglow lights illegally in California?

Using neon underglow lights in violation of California law can result in fines, equipment removal, and even citations. Penalties can vary depending on the specific violation and local regulations.

Are there any exceptions to California’s neon underglow laws?

There are limited exceptions for specific types of vehicles, such as emergency and authorized vehicles, but these exceptions are typically reserved for law enforcement and official use. For the average vehicle owner, using neon underglow lights on California roads is generally not allowed.

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