Ask the Mayor: Is It Legal for Tow Trucks to Drive With Flashing Lights?

April 16, 2018, 1:05 PM HST · Updated April 16, 1:05 PM

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at, (808) 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Dear Mayor Alan Arakawa,


Q: I was wondering if it is illegal for tow trucks to be driving around with their lights flashing? Maui County seems to be the only place where this is happening.

I thought the lights were to only be used when they are on the side of the road doing work. I have seen tourists see them coming and pull over to the side of the road thinking it is an emergency vehicle.

If it is in fact illegal for them to be driving around with flashing lights, why aren’t police giving them tickets?


Semi-trucks carry much bigger loads and unless they are oversized loads, they do not use flashing lights. Thank you for your time.

A: I do know that only police, fire, ambulance and other emergency response vehicles can have red or blue flashing lights, and there are several laws on the books regarding their use.

Yellow lights are less regulated. To help me answer your question I asked the Maui Police Department about this. Here’s their response:

“There is no Hawai‘i State Law, County Code or Federal Motor Vehicle MVSS law regarding the use of an activated flashing amber and white lights while towing the vehicle on the roadway. The only requirements are these: Tow trucks must be equipped with the requirement lamps and markers, etc. There is nothing regarding the use of an activated flashing amber and white light while in tow operation.”

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