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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Default What Third Brake Light Modifications Are Illegal

    My question involves vehicle maintenance laws for the State of: Colorado

    So according to this document (http://regulations.justia.com/view/12906/), I suppose, flashing third brake lights are not legal, correct? I'm wondering if it would be legal to have turn signals on the third brake light. The YouTube video link below is a good example of what I'm talking about. Would I get a citation for having this kind of modification in my vehicle in the state of Colorado (or anywhere in the United States really)?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkeQnPwetHg

    Technically I would consider that as a flashing Center High Mount Stop Lamp (CHMSL) but, then again, it's the turn signals in the CHMSL that are flashing, not the CHMSL itself. It seems kind of shifty just like the sequential turn signals on recent Ford Mustangs which are supposedly illegal yet people still modify it to be so very often (unless they come standard). One could always use an orange/yellow LED light for the turn signals in the CHMSL but maybe some police officers would still consider it the CHMSL? Or is there a law stating the CHMSL must strictly be red too?

    Thank you for your time.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Third Brake Light Modifications Are Illegal

    The concept that all stop lamps must be "steady burning" when in use is pretty simple: Flashing lights are not "steady burning".

    If you want to determine if something is permissible under the laws and regulations of a particular state, look up the laws and regulations. As you were told when you posted, laws vary by state. Nobody here is going to do a fifty state research project for you. I don't recall ever seeing a state statute or regulation that went into the minutia of whether a center rear brake light can be modified to include a turn signal, presumably because the NHTSA and DOT already regulate such issues quite heavily.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What Third Brake Light Modifications Are Illegal

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    The concept that all stop lamps must be "steady burning" when in use is pretty simple: Flashing lights are not "steady burning".

    If you want to determine if something is permissible under the laws and regulations of a particular state, look up the laws and regulations. As you were told when you posted, laws vary by state. Nobody here is going to do a fifty state research project for you. I don't recall ever seeing a state statute or regulation that went into the minutia of whether a center rear brake light can be modified to include a turn signal, presumably because the NHTSA and DOT already regulate such issues quite heavily.
    Yeah, because in the eyes of a court, everything is either in black or white.

    If you want to give some advice, don't assume things. I don't expect anyone to "do a fifty state research project for" me. Of course, I didn't expect much from someone like you and your post history though either. I was expecting, however, that someone knowledgeable of the Colorado traffic laws, as stated CLEARLY in the first sentence of my post, would just happen to be on these forums.

    I didn't think someone like you would be on this forum who can't even read the first sentence of a post. I'm not asking for a "fifty state research project"; Unless you're a bit slow in the head, Colorado, as far as I can recall, is a single state, not fifty.

    Thank you for trying your best though. It obviously was not enough.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Northern California
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    519

    Default Re: What Third Brake Light Modifications Are Illegal

    Just because your state may not have a specific law applying to your 3rd brake light, or modification of, dosen't mean you can go out an modify it. California is a classic example. They have regulations on two stop lamps and where they are positioned. No mention in CA state law about the 3rd brake lamp working. HOWEVER, it has been ruled in apellate court (I can't remember the specific case I'm thinking of) that someone driving a vehicle without an functioning third brake lamp in enough to warrant a stop by an officer. This is because there is federal regulations requiring a third brake lame to be installed by auto manufacturers on vehicles produced after a certian year. The court rulled that 24252(a) VC (Maintain required lighiting) covers the third brake lamp since federal law requires the third brake lamp.

    PS, Brake lamps are red in color. Turn signals can be amber or red.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: What Third Brake Light Modifications Are Illegal

    Quote Quoting sniper
    View Post
    Just because your state may not have a specific law applying to your 3rd brake light, or modification of, dosen't mean you can go out an modify it. California is a classic example. They have regulations on two stop lamps and where they are positioned. No mention in CA state law about the 3rd brake lamp working. HOWEVER, it has been ruled in apellate court (I can't remember the specific case I'm thinking of) that someone driving a vehicle without an functioning third brake lamp in enough to warrant a stop by an officer.
    d.
    that's because, if I remember correctly, California requires all lamps OE on a vehicle to operate. So, since the 3rd light is OE, it must operate.

    Quote Quoting sniper
    View Post

    PS, Brake lamps are red in color. Turn signals can be amber or red.
    really?


    42-4-215. Signal lamps and devices - additional lighting equipment.

    (1) Any motor vehicle may be equipped, and when required under this article shall be equipped, with a stop lamp or lamps on the rear of the vehicle which, except as provided in section 42-4-215.5, shall display a red or amber light, or any shade of color between red and amber,

    I suspect the bolded section would prohibit the alteration you are considering.


    (2) Any motor vehicle may be equipped, and when required under this article shall be equipped, with lamps showing to the front and rear for the purpose of indicating an intention to turn either to the right or to the left. Such lamps showing to the front shall be located on the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable and when in use shall display a white or amber light, or any shade of color between white and amber, visible from a distance of not less than one hundred feet to the front in normal sunlight, and the lamps showing to the rear shall be located at the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable and, except as provided in section 42-4-215.5, when in use shall display a red or amber light, or any shade of color between red and amber, visible from a distance of not less than one hundred feet to the rear in normal sunlight. When actuated, such lamps shall indicate the intended direction of turning by flashing the light showing to the front and rear on the side toward which the turn is made.

  6. #6
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    Northern California
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    Default Re: What Third Brake Light Modifications Are Illegal

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post

    42-4-215. Signal lamps and devices - additional lighting equipment.

    (1) Any motor vehicle may be equipped, and when required under this article shall be equipped, with a stop lamp or lamps on the rear of the vehicle which, except as provided in section 42-4-215.5, shall display a red or amber light, or any shade of color between red and amber,

    OK you got me. Any vehicle manufactured before 1979 can have amber (yellow) stop lamps. Anything newer needs red.

    Amber is a yellow-orange color. It is commonly refered to as yellow, orange, or amber in most states vehicle codes.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: What Third Brake Light Modifications Are Illegal

    actually, I was surprised to see the acceptance of amber as well. It is uncommon.

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