Magnum’s State by State Guide to LED Light Bar Laws (2023 Edition)

Magnum Blog

Few things shine brighter than LED light. Find these energy-efficient, ultra-bright bulbs everywhere from a string of holiday lights, to headlamps, to after-market light bars for your truck.  

Once your truck is decked out with a Magnum headache rack, rear cargo rack, and truck bed rails, don’t forget to look at our LED light bars and mounting hardware. They’re designed to work with the Glide Track system on your truck rack for maximum convenience. 

It’s hard to beat LED bulbs for powerful illumination. For off-roading, LED light bars are the ideal way to see rough terrain and blaze new trails. 

But the rules for using LED light bars on public roads are complicated – partly because these lights can be so powerful. In general, it is legally permitted in all 50 states to mount LED light bars on an on-road registered vehicle. The important part is knowing when and where you are legally allowed to use those lights. 

Remember, Magnum cannot provide, and is not providing, legal advice here – but general guidelines to help you get started. Regulations and laws frequently change. Always check your state’s current laws before making modifications to your truck. 

General Guidelines

Always check your state and/or municipality’s laws before installing LED light bars on your vehicle. Laws vary by state, as does terminology used. Some states place limits on the number and location of lights, or when and where they can be used. 

Many states do not specifically address LED light bars in their laws, but instead regulate the use of auxiliary lights (meaning fog lights, off-road lights, and driving lights other than headlights). No state permits forward-facing light bars in colors used by legal agencies, like red and blue. Clear, white lights are the only kind of front-facing lights permitted by many states.  

Even in states where LED light bars are permitted, always err on the side of safety. You don’t want to create issues for other motorists by turning on LED light bars at the wrong time, turning on rear-facing lights while driving on the road, or the like. Using light bar covers while driving on public roads is required in some states, and a great idea in any state. 

LED light bar installed across a Magnum headache rack on a pickup.
Ford truck with LED light bar installed on the front grille.

State by State Breakdown

Every state takes its own approach to laws about LED light bars. Learn more about your state’s specific requirements here, and see a handy summary grid here

The key is to identify how your state addresses LED light bars – are they considered off-road lights and specifically regulated as such, or does your state group them in with auxiliary lights? Some states take the law further and require LED bulbs to be covered with opaque material while the vehicle is on a public roadway. 

In many states, it’s illegal to drive on public roads with LED light bars turned on. Don’t try this in Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wyoming. 

New York’s solution was to permit aux lights – so long as they do not exceed 402 lumens, total. There are no LED light bars on the market that meet this cutoff, so in New York, skip the aux lights and treat yourself to bed rails or a new rear cargo rack instead.  

In New Jersey, an LED light bar is allowed, as long as it is a low profile model and sits lower than the truck’s headlights. Florida and Maine specify that aux lights must adhere to existing vehicle light laws around placement and intensity. In Vermont, after-market lights must be DOT-approved. 

Cover your LED lights while driving on public roads in California and Pennsylvania. In Virginia, any aux lights mounted higher than the factory headlights on the vehicle must be covered. In West Virginia, all lights mounted 42” or higher from the ground must be covered. 

Many states regulate the number, placement, direction, and overall intensity of aux lights, off-road lights, or LED light bars (measured in candlepower, which can be converted to lumens by multiplying candlepower by 12.57).

States that limit the number of lights permitted on a vehicle, whether by specifically restricting aux lights or restricting the total number of lights: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

States that limit the total candlepower of lights permitted on a vehicle: Arizona, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, and New York. 

States that restrict the mounting placement of lights and where they strike the road, sometimes based upon total candlepower: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia. 

Our best advice in any state? Check the laws in your state and municipality before adding LED light bars to your truck.  

Find LED Light Bars & More

LED light bar from Magnum, getting ready to install.
Light bar and wiring from Magnum.

Need to find LED light bars and mounting accessories? Magnum doesn’t only build truck racks and rails – we also have LED lights and accessories to help make the most of your pickup. Get light bars, mounting brackets, wiring harnesses and more directly from Magnum when you order your headache rack and rails. 

Choosing Magnum truck racks and other products means your racks and rails are built specifically to fit your truck, your tonneau cover, and your lifestyle. Get tough aluminum construction that’s manufactured with pride in the United States. Do more with your truck when you choose lights, racks, and rails from Magnum