New York Neon Underglow Lights Laws
Neon or LED underglow is placed underneath vehicles primarily for aesthetic reasons. Some car enthusiasts install underglow to make their vehicle stand out and give it a unique and personalized look.
But, many states either made these underglow lights illegal, or they restrict their color or luminosity. Enthusiastic drivers can often take things too far, and to ensure other drivers don’t get distracted by overly flashy vehicles there are laws to prevent various modifications.
For neon underglow, most of these laws and regulations are found under “Unlawful vehicle modifications” and “Lighting requirements” in Vehicle Equipment laws.
In the state of New York (NY), neon underglow lights are considered legal to use, but with a few very important restrictions. Let’s take a look at a basic overview of underglow laws for New York.
Are neon underglow lights legal in New York?
New York law permits any aftermarket lights as long as their color is white. NY’s vehicle equipment regulations state that lights not specifically required by law are legal to use. However, these must be white color, and must not be rotating, flashing, oscillating or otherwise moving.
§ 375 (41). Colored and flashing lights.
41. Colored and flashing lights. The provisions of this subdivision shall govern the affixing and display of lights on vehicles, other than those lights required by law.
1. No light, other than a white light, and no revolving, rotating, flashing, oscillating or constantly moving white light shall be affixed to, or displayed on any vehicle except as prescribed herein.
As mentioned above, the only underglow color permitted in state of New York is white. All other colors are illegal to use for aftermarket vehicle lighting.
In case you use a modern LED underglow system capable of changing colors, ensure you never use any color other than white.
Furthermore, in case of a traffic stop make sure to never tell police officers your underglow can change colors. Even installing a system which can display other colors could be considered illegal in New York.
Also, even when parked on private property we strongly suggest avoiding displaying colors red, blue or green. These are used by emergency vehicles.
Out of state vehicles
New York allows other underglow colors in case the vehicle is registered in another state, and only if those colors are legal to use in the state of registration.
Neon underglow lighting which is illegal by New York laws may result in getting cited for a non-moving traffic violation. If this happens, you will be required to modify your car to conform to standards, as well as pay a fine.
Displaying red, blue, green or any combinations of these colors with white can lead to further penalties and fines. You can be charged with impersonating an emergency vehicle, which is a serious crime with more severe penalties.