Montana Neon Underglow Laws : Is neon underglow legal in Montana?

Neon underglow lighting has long been a popular aftermarket vehicle modification, loved for its aesthetic appeal and unique way of enhancing a car’s appearance. But what are the regulations surrounding neon underglow lights in Montana? This article will delve into Montana’s neon underglow laws to provide you with a clear understanding of when, where, and how you can legally use them on your vehicle.

Is neon underglow legal in Montana?

Montana law explicitly permits the use of neon underglow lighting. Consequently, in Montana, it is legal to install neon underglow on your vehicle, subject to the following restrictions:

    1. No flashing, rotating, or oscillating lights are allowed.
    1. Colors in blue, red, and green are expressly prohibited.
    1. License plate illumination must be in white.

It’s important to note that green, blue, and red colors are typically reserved for emergency vehicles and are explicitly forbidden by Montana law. However, these restrictions do not apply if your vehicle is not on a public road or highway. In such cases, all colors of car underglow are legal for use.

Montana Neon Underglow lighting laws

Here are the pertinent excerpts from the Montana Vehicle Code that outline the limitations, restrictions, and permissions related to installing aftermarket lights on vehicles.

61-9-209. Color of clearance lamps, side marker lamps, reflectors, and backup lamps

(1) Front clearance lamps and those marker lamps and reflectors mounted on the front or on the side near the front of a vehicle must display or reflect an amber color. (2) Rear clearance lamps and those marker lamps and reflectors mounted on the rear or on the sides near the rear of a vehicle must display or reflect a red color. (3) All lighting devices, reflectors, and stoplights mounted on the rear of a vehicle must display or reflect a red color, except:
    • (a) the signal devices, as defined in 61-9-218;
    • (b) the light illuminating the license plate that must be a white lamp; and
    • (c) the light emitted by a backup lamp that must be white.

61-9-219. Additional lighting equipment.

(1) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not more than two side cowl or fender lamps which shall emit an amber or white light without glare. (2) 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. (3) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not more than two backup lamps either separately or in combination with other lamps, but any such backup lamps shall not be lighted when the motor vehicle is in forward motion. (4) Any vehicle may be equipped with lamps which may be used for the purpose of warning the operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard […] shall display simultaneously flashing white or amber lights, or any shade of color between white and amber. […]

61-9-226. Special restrictions on lamps — definition.

[…] (2) A person may not drive or move a vehicle or equipment upon a highway with a lamp or device displaying a red light visible from in front of the center of the vehicle. This section does not apply to a vehicle upon which a red light visible from the front is expressly authorized or required by this code (3) Flashing, blinking, sequential, rotating, or pulsating lights are prohibited except on vehicles that are authorized by this chapter to contain the lights or on a vehicle as a means for indicating a right or left turn or the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring unusual care in approaching, overtaking, or passing. (4) License plate decorative lighting that is not original manufacturer’s equipment or undercarriage decorative lighting that rotates, flashes, or oscillates or that displays a color authorized by this chapter for use by police vehicles and authorized emergency vehicles may not be illuminated on a vehicle that is operated upon a highway or street.

61-9-402. Audible and visual signals on police, emergency vehicles, and on-scene command vehicles — immunity.

(1) A police vehicle must be equipped with a siren capable of giving an audible signal and may be equipped with alternately flashing or rotating red or blue lights as specified in this section. […] (8) A police vehicle and authorized emergency vehicle may be equipped with a flashing signal lamp that is green in color, visible from 360 degrees, and attached to the exterior roof of the vehicle for purposes of designation as the on-scene command and control vehicle in an emergency or disaster. The green light must have sufficient intensity to be visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight. Only the on-scene command and control vehicle may display green lights, lenses, or globes.

Montana’s Stance on Neon Underglow:

Montana’s laws regarding neon underglow lights are relatively straightforward. The state does not explicitly prohibit the use of these lighting systems, meaning you can equip your vehicle with neon underglow without breaking the law. However, there are some essential restrictions and guidelines you should be aware of to avoid legal issues.

Restrictions and Guidelines:

To ensure you comply with Montana’s neon underglow laws, take note of the following restrictions:

    1. No Red or Blue Lights: The most crucial restriction is that your neon underglow lights should not emit red or blue colors. These colors are typically reserved for emergency vehicles and law enforcement.
    1. Avoid Flashing Lights: Flashing, oscillating, or rotating neon underglow lights can be distracting to other drivers and may violate traffic laws. It’s advisable to use steady, non-flashing lights.
    1. License Plate Illumination: Ensure that the illumination of your license plate remains white. Using colored lights on your license plate may result in legal complications.

It’s worth noting that Montana’s laws are not as restrictive as those in some other states, making it relatively easy to enjoy neon underglow lighting on your vehicle.

Enforcement and Penalties:

If you violate these restrictions, you may receive a citation or traffic ticket. It’s essential to abide by these guidelines to avoid legal issues, as well as to maintain road safety and avoid distractions to other drivers.

Use on Private Property:

While Montana allows the use of neon underglow on public roads, you can also use them on private property without legal restrictions. This provides more flexibility to enthusiasts who enjoy showcasing their vehicles at events, shows, or gatherings.

Conclusion:

In Montana, you can equip your vehicle with neon underglow lights, provided you follow specific restrictions. By avoiding red and blue colors, steering clear of flashing lights, and maintaining white license plate illumination, you can enjoy these stylish enhancements without running afoul of the law. Always stay informed about your local laws and regulations to ensure a safe and hassle-free experience with neon underglow lighting on your vehicle.

FAQs about the Legality of Underglow Lights in Montana:

Are Underglow Lights Legal in Montana?

In Montana, neon underglow lights are generally legal with specific restrictions. You can use them, but you must adhere to certain rules and color restrictions.

When Is It Legal to Use Underglow Lights in Montana State?

You can use underglow lights on your vehicle in Montana as long as you follow the state’s restrictions. They are primarily allowed when your vehicle is not on a public road or highway.

When Is It Illegal to Use Underglow Lights In Montana?

It is illegal to use underglow lights in Montana under certain conditions, including when they emit specific colors (blue, red, or green), flash, or are used while your vehicle is in motion on a public road.

Is It Illegal to Install Underglow Lights In Montana?

It is not illegal to install underglow lights in Montana as long as they comply with the state’s regulations. However, it’s essential to ensure that your underglow lights meet these requirements.

What Montana Vehicle & Traffic Law Restricts Use of Lights On Motorcycles?

While Montana doesn’t have specific provisions related to underglow lights on motorcycles, the same color and flashing restrictions that apply to other vehicles generally also apply to motorcycles.

Are Multicolored Underglow Lights Illegal in Montana?

Colors like blue, red, and green are expressly forbidden for underglow lights in Montana because they are associated with emergency vehicles. Using multicolored underglow lights with these colors is generally illegal.

Montana Traffic Ticket/Summons for Under Glow Lights on a Motorcycle

Violating Montana’s underglow restrictions may result in traffic tickets or citations, depending on the circumstances. Penalties can vary, so it’s important to adhere to the law.

Are Under Glow Lights Legal While Parked in Montana?

While parked, you may have more flexibility to use underglow lights on your vehicle in Montana. However, always ensure they comply with the state’s rules.

Are Motorcycle Wheel Lights Legal in Montana?

The legality of motorcycle wheel lights in Montana may be subject to the same restrictions as other underglow lights. Verify compliance with state regulations.

Is the Law for Underglow Lights the Same for Cars and Motorcycles in Montana?

Montana does not have specific provisions for underglow lights on motorcycles. However, the color and flashing restrictions typically apply to both cars and motorcycles.

Montana Underglow law references:

Montana Code Title 61, Chapter 9, Part 2: Lighting Equipment (see: 61-9-226 – Special Restrictions on lamps)

Montana Code Title 61, Chapter 9, Part 4 (see: 61-9-402 – Audible and visual signals on police, emergency vehicles)

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