Q May a municipality restrict the use of emergency lights on personal vehicles of volunteer firemen and cites such firemen for violating traffic laws when responding to emergency calls while traveling through the municipality?

A Section 63-7-19 authorizes privately-owned “vehicles of firemen of volunteer fire departments which receive funds pursuant to Section 83-1-39 when responding to calls” to be marked with blinking, oscillating or rotating red lights. A municipality may not restrict the use of such emergency lights explicitly authorized by statute. As to traffic rules, certain ones are relaxed by statute for “authorized emergency vehicles,” as defined in Section 63-3-103. While fire department vehicles are included, the definition of an “authorized emergency vehicle” does not include the private vehicle of a volunteer fireman, who must observe the general traffic rules and may be cited for violating traffic laws when responding to an emergency in his private vehicle. (Attorney General’s Opinions to Marx, January 30, 2015)