Tennessee Neon Underglow Laws

Personalizing your vehicle with neon underglow lights can add a touch of flair and individuality to your car. However, before you adorn your vehicle with these vibrant lights, it’s essential to understand the specific regulations governing neon underglow in Tennessee. In this blog article, we’ll explore Tennessee’s neon underglow laws, what’s permitted, what’s not, and how to ensure you stay within the boundaries of the law while expressing your unique style.

Is neon underglow legal in Tennessee?

Tennessee’s regulations do not place restrictions on additional aftermarket vehicle lighting, including neon underglow. Consequently, our assessment is that neon underglow is generally considered legal in Tennessee, provided the following restrictions are observed:

  1. Prohibition of flashing lights.
  2. Avoidance of any combination of white, amber, or red lights in front of the vehicle.
  3. We strongly recommend refraining from using blue and red colors on any aftermarket lights, even if they are non-flashing, as these colors are reserved for Tennessee emergency vehicles.
  4. There are no specific Tennessee laws that expressly prohibit or restrict the installation of car underglow, which leads us to consider it legal for use while driving.

Tennessee Neon Underglow lighting laws

Here are the pertinent excerpts from the Tennessee Vehicle Code that specify regulations regarding the installation of specific aftermarket lights on vehicles.

55-9-402.  Lights required on motor vehicles

(a)  (1) Every motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, road roller, road machinery or farm tractor shall be equipped with at least two (2) and not more than four (4) headlights, with at least one (1) on each side of the front of the motor vehicle. No nonemergency vehicle shall operate or install emergency flashing light systems, such as strobe, wig-wag [alternating flashing lights], or other flashing lights within the headlight assembly or grill area of the vehicle; provided, however, that a school bus may operate a flashing, wig-wag lighting system within the headlight assembly of the vehicle when the vehicle’s visual stop signs are actuated for receiving or discharging school children. […]

(d)  (1)  (A) Except as provided in this section, no vehicle operated in this state shall be equipped with any flashing white or amber lights or any combination of white and amber lights that display to the front of the vehicle […]

(B) No vehicle operated in this state shall be equipped with any flashing red or white light or any combination of red or white lights that displays to the front of the vehicle […]

(h) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

5-9-414. Blue flashing emergency lights on motor vehicles unlawful

(a) (1) Except as provided in subsections (b)-(f), it is an offense for anyone to install, maintain or exhibit blue flashing emergency lights or blue flashing emergency lights in combination with red flashing emergency lights, except full-time, salaried, uniformed law enforcement officers of the state, county, or city and municipal governments of the state, and commissioned members of the Tennessee bureau of investigation when their official duties so require as defined by §§ 38-8-106 and 38-8-107.

(2) A violation of subdivision (a)(1) is a Class C misdemeanor. […]

Tennessee Neon Underglow Laws: The Essentials

Tennessee’s laws regarding neon underglow lights are designed to balance individual expression and road safety. Here are the key points you need to know:

  1. Permissible Colors: In Tennessee, neon underglow lights are generally allowed, but they must not display the color red or blue. These colors are typically reserved for emergency and law enforcement vehicles. Using red or blue neon lights on your vehicle is prohibited.
  2. Placement: The law mandates that neon underglow lights should be installed on the sides and rear of the vehicle. They should not be visible from the front of the vehicle, including the windshield area. The placement of these lights should not obstruct the driver’s vision of the road.
  3. Flashing Lights: Flashing or strobing neon underglow lights are not permitted on public roads. Steady, non-flashing lights are generally acceptable as long as they adhere to the color and placement restrictions.
  4. Distraction: Neon underglow lights should not be overly bright or distracting, as they can interfere with other drivers’ vision and pose a hazard on the road.

Penalties for Violations

Violating Tennessee’s neon underglow laws can lead to penalties, including fines or warnings from law enforcement. As per Tennessee laws violation of vehicle lighting laws is considered a Class C misdemeanor. To avoid legal issues, it’s essential to follow the regulations carefully.

Stay Informed

Laws and regulations can change over time, so it’s advisable to consult up-to-date sources, such as the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security 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 Tennessee:

  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 mindful 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.


Personalizing your vehicle with neon underglow lights in Tennessee can be an exciting 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. Keep in mind that laws can change, so it’s advisable to stay informed and consult up-to-date sources for the latest regulations in Tennessee.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Underglow Lights in Tennessee:

Are Underglow Lights Legal in Tennessee?

  • Neon underglow lights are generally allowed in Tennessee, subject to specific regulations and restrictions.

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

  • Neon underglow lights can be used in Tennessee as long as they comply with state regulations, including permissible colors and placement restrictions.

When Is It Illegal to Use Underglow Lights In Tennessee?

  • Using multicolored neon underglow lights, particularly red or blue, is generally illegal in Tennessee. 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 Tennessee?

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

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

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

Are Multicolored Underglow Lights Illegal in Tennessee?

  • Yes, using multicolored neon underglow lights, especially red and blue, is generally illegal in Tennessee. Only specific colors are allowed.

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

  • Violating the neon underglow restrictions in Tennessee may result in receiving a traffic ticket or summons.

Are Under Glow Lights Legal While Parked in Tennessee?

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

Are Motorcycle Wheel Lights Legal in Tennessee?

  • The legality of motorcycle wheel lights in Tennessee 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 Tennessee?

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

Underglow law references:

Tennessee Laws, Title 55: Motor and Other Vehicles, Chapter 9: Equipment, Part 4: Lighting Regulation.

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