Neon Light Laws in Texasby Chuck Ayers
Some people like neon lights for their eye-grabbing qualities, while others think them garish and disconcerting. Throughout Texas, various laws address the use of neon lights. In historic districts, for example, they may be banned completely; other municipalities permit them but restrict them. Some areas allow blinking neon lights; some not. But when it comes to vehicles, Texas law statewide regulates what is permissible when it comes to putting neon lights on the undercarriage or on other locations of your vehicle.
Texas law allows neon lights on both the interior and exterior of vehicles, as long as the light is no more than 300 candlepower. Three hundred candles in a square foot put out the luminescence of 300 lumens, or the light equivalent of about a 4.3-watt light bulb. Legally, it might be interesting to enforce because a good foot candle/lumen light meter is needed to actually measure how much light is emitted. Not many police cars are equipped with such a light measuring device, but testing specific brightness limitations in court is not advised. Further, it should be noted that failing to follow the state's laws results in criminal prosecution, not simply a motor vehicle violation.
It's nice to be patriotic, but no red, white or blue neon lights are permitted, with flashing, rotating or strobe effects. Those colors are limited to fire, police and emergency personnel.
The neon lights on a car may not be directed such that a significantly intense part of the light "strikes the roadway at a distance of more than 75 feet" from the vehicle on which they are mounted.
Limits to License Plates Lights
It is permitted to place neon lights around a license plate as long as it doesn't obstruct the view of the plate or the plate license number. All the other rules apply.
Motorcycles and Tractor Trailers
Motorcycles and tractor trailers must adhere to the same rules as cars, but owners motorcycles and tractor trailers are encouraged to increase their visibility to other motorists and pedestrians at night by using lighting.
Chuck Ayers began writing professionally in 1982, breathing life into obituaries, becoming a political and investigative reporter at a major East Coast metropolitan newspaper. He now freelances and is a California communications and political consultant. He graduated from American University, Washington, D.C., with degrees in political science and economics.