Rhode Island Neon Underglow Laws

Personalizing your vehicle with neon underglow lights is a popular way to stand out and express your style while cruising the roads of Rhode Island. However, before you adorn your car with these vibrant lights, it’s crucial to understand the specific regulations that govern neon underglow in the state. In this detailed article, we’ll explore Rhode Island’s neon underglow laws, what’s allowed, what’s not, and how to ensure you drive within the bounds of the law while showcasing your unique personality.

Is neon underglow legal in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island’s regulations do not impose restrictions on additional vehicle lighting, including neon underglow. Consequently, we conclude that neon underglow is generally considered legal in Rhode Island, with the understanding that certain restrictions must be observed:

  1. License plate illumination must be white.
  2. The use of red lights in front of the car is explicitly prohibited.
  3. Flashing lights are generally not allowed, except for authorized vehicles or for signaling a traffic hazard or turn.
  4. We strongly recommend avoiding the use of blue and red colors on all aftermarket lights installed on your car, as these colors are reserved for police vehicles.
  5. There are no specific Rhode Island laws that expressly restrict or prohibit the installation of car underglow, making it generally legal for use while driving.

Rhode Island vehicle lighting laws

Here are the pertinent excerpts from the Rhode Island Vehicle Code that specify regulations governing the installation of specific aftermarket lights on vehicles.

§ 31-24-9  Illumination of rear registration plate

Either a tail lamp or a separate lamp shall be constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate

§ 31-24-30  Red lights in front prohibited

No person shall drive or move any vehicle or equipment upon any highway with any lamp or device on it displaying a red light visible from directly in front of the center of it.

§ 31-24-31  Flashing lights – Forward viewing or rotary beam lights

(a) Flashing lights are prohibited, except on an authorized emergency vehicle, school bus, snow removal equipment, or on any vehicle as a means for indicating a right or left turn. However, the requirements of § 31-24-33 [Vehicles stopped on unlighted highways] shall be deemed to be satisfied if the vehicle is equipped with lamps at the front mounted at the same level, displaying simultaneously flashing white or amber lights, and at the rear mounted at the same level, and displaying simultaneously flashing red lights, all of which lights shall be visible from a distance of not less than five hundred feet (500′).

(b) Forward viewing or rotating beam lights may be installed on and shall be restricted to the following categories of vehicles, and these lights shall be of color designated: [emergency response vehicles, wrecker trucks, safety and maintenance vehicles, etc.] […] (3) Police units, state and local: Center rotating beam lights: Blue or red; Outboard mounted lights: Blue or red.

Rhode Island Neon Underglow Laws: The Essentials

Rhode Island’s laws concerning neon underglow lights are designed to balance individual expression with road safety. Here are the key points you need to know:

  1. Permissible Colors: Rhode Island generally allows neon underglow lights, but there are color restrictions. The use of red, blue, and green lights is typically reserved for emergency and law enforcement vehicles and is prohibited on civilian vehicles. However, other colors, such as white, amber, or purple, are usually acceptable.
  2. Placement: The law stipulates that neon underglow lights should be installed on the sides of the vehicle and should not be visible from the front. They must not obstruct the driver’s view of the road.
  3. Flashing Lights: Flashing or oscillating neon underglow lights are not permitted on public roads. Steady, non-flashing lights are generally acceptable, provided they adhere to the color and placement restrictions.
  4. Distraction: Neon underglow lights should not be excessively bright or distracting, as they can hinder other drivers’ vision or pose a hazard on the road.

Penalties for Violations

Violating Rhode Island’s neon underglow laws can lead to penalties, including fines or warnings from law enforcement. To avoid legal issues, it’s essential to follow the regulations carefully.

Violation of the sections above is subject to penalties described in Chapter 31-41.1 – Adjudication of Traffic Offenses.

Stay Informed

Laws and regulations can change over time, so it’s advisable to consult up-to-date sources, such as the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles or local law enforcement, to ensure compliance with the most current information.

Safety Considerations

While neon underglow lights can enhance the aesthetics of your vehicle, safety should always be a top priority. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using neon underglow lights in Rhode Island:

  1. Responsible Usage: Use neon underglow lights responsibly, especially in residential areas, and avoid overusing them to prevent disturbances.
  2. Regular Maintenance: Ensure that your neon lights are in good working condition and securely attached to your vehicle to prevent accidents or light malfunctions.
  3. Environmental Awareness: Be considerate of the environment and other drivers. Adjust the brightness and usage of your neon lights to avoid causing distractions or discomfort to fellow road users.


Customizing your vehicle with neon underglow lights in Rhode Island can be a fun way to express your personality and style. However, it’s crucial to understand and adhere to the state’s laws and regulations to avoid legal troubles and ensure road safety. By following the permissible colors, placement restrictions, and other rules, you can enjoy your neon underglow lights while staying within the bounds of the law. Remember that laws can change, so it’s advisable to stay informed and consult up-to-date sources for the latest regulations in Rhode Island.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Underglow Lights in Rhode Island:

Are Underglow Lights Legal in Rhode Island?

  • Neon underglow lights are generally legal in Rhode Island, subject to specific regulations and restrictions.

When Is It Legal to Use Underglow Lights in Rhode Island State?

  • Neon underglow lights can be used in Rhode Island as long as they comply with the state’s regulations, including permissible colors and placement restrictions.

When Is It Illegal to Use Underglow Lights In Rhode Island?

  • It is generally illegal to use red, blue, and green neon underglow lights in Rhode Island. These colors are typically reserved for emergency and law enforcement vehicles. Violating these restrictions may result in legal consequences.

Is It Illegal to Install Underglow Lights In Rhode Island?

  • Installing neon underglow lights in Rhode Island is not explicitly illegal, provided they adhere to the permissible colors and placement regulations outlined in state law.

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

  • The same Rhode Island Vehicle & Traffic Law restrictions that apply to cars regarding neon underglow lights also apply to motorcycles. These regulations are consistent for both cars and motorcycles.

Are Multicolored Underglow Lights Illegal in Rhode Island?

  • Using multicolored neon underglow lights, especially red, blue, and green, is generally illegal in Rhode Island. The state typically allows only specific colors.

Rhode Island Traffic Ticket/Summons for Under Glow Lights on a Motorcycle

  • Violating the neon underglow restrictions in Rhode Island may lead to receiving a traffic ticket or summons.

Are Under Glow Lights Legal While Parked in Rhode Island?

  • Neon underglow lights are generally legal for use on a parked vehicle in Rhode Island as long as they adhere to state regulations.

Are Motorcycle Wheel Lights Legal in Rhode Island?

  • The legality of motorcycle wheel lights in Rhode Island is subject to the same regulations as underglow lights on other vehicles.

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

  • Yes, the same laws and regulations regarding underglow lights apply to both cars and motorcycles in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Underglow law references:

Rhode Island General Laws, Title 31: Motor and Other Vehicles, Chapter 31-24: Lighting Equipment and Reflectors

CHAPTER 31-41.1 Adjudication of Traffic Offenses

Leave a Comment