Emergency vehicle

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Emergency vehicles are specially equipped vehicles on land , on water and in the air .


Blue all-round light and tone horn

Emergency vehicles in Germany, Austria or Switzerland are usually (unless they are civil emergency vehicles) equipped with a blue rotating beacon or blue rotating spotlights and a secondary tone horn in order to be able to signal rights of way to other road users in road traffic (in Germany, § 38 Road Traffic Act applies StVO).

Flashing blue light

In Germany, multi-lane emergency vehicles may also have beacons for blue flashing lights with a main direction of radiation to the front or rear to supplement the visibility of the blue all-round light.

Flashing red light, neon letters and “Yelp” siren

Police vehicles in Germany are allowed to safely stop other road users with front-facing beacons for red flashing lights with only one main direction of emission (optical stop signal, Section 22a, Paragraph 1, No. 11a in conjunction with Section 52, Paragraph 3a, No. . 1 StVZO ) and be equipped with signal transmitters for glowing red ticker in mirror writing ( § 52 Paragraph 3a No. 2 and 3 StVZO). With the neon sign z. B. "Stop Police" (e.g. in Hessen) are displayed. Either only red or only blue flashing light may be used; Simultaneous use is not permitted ( Section 52 Para. 3a S. 3StVZO). Red flashing light is not provided in Austria and Switzerland, but red neon letters can be installed.

Emergency vehicles equipped with red flashing lights in Germany are also allowed to emit an increasing and decreasing stopping tone "Yelp" ( Section 22a Paragraph 1 No. 19a StVZO in conjunction with Section 55 Paragraph 3a StVZO). The howling siren (“Yelp” - in English “yelp”) does not replace the classic siren with blue light, but complements it for stopping processes. The new sound signal may only be used in conjunction with the red flashing light ( § 55 Paragraph 3a S. 2 StVZO). The siren and siren may not be operated together; this must be technically ensured ( Section 55 (3a) sentence 3 StVZO).

Other lights and sirens

In other countries emergency vehicles are also equipped with different colored beacons, for example with red, yellow, white or blue rotating beacons and a siren, for example in Asia and North America .

The vehicle itself is equipped and equipped by the respective emergency organization depending on its use . This can be a normal car or truck . However, it can be specially equipped for the rescue service, the fire brigade , disaster control or the police .

As a rule, emergency vehicles have uniform and easily recognizable color coding, if possible in warning colors. These vehicles can also be recognized by their color or inscriptions on the outside . In light-colored vehicles in particular, additional stripes with a red or orange fluorescent color are often attached for better visibility.


You belong to an aid organization or a special authority in Germany . You will be granted special rights and rights of way if these are necessary and necessary for the fulfillment of an order.

Civil patrols also drive with emergency vehicles, but these are only identified as such when they are in action .

Meaning of the signals

  • Flashing blue light together with siren: Free course! ( Rescue alley must be cleared at walking speed according to Section 11 (2) StVO)
  • Blue flashing light alone: ​​Warning of danger
  • Red neon letters and red flashing light, also together with howling siren: Stop!
  • Yellow flashing light alone: ​​Warning of danger
  • Yellow, synchronous flashing light as a rear warning system: Securing an emergency site


According to the legal regulations, emergency vehicles have certain special rights in use according to § 35 StVO. Another road user always has to ensure that emergency vehicles can use the traffic routes preferentially. However, if an emergency vehicle has neither the blue light nor the acoustic horn switched on, it has no right of way , but can still claim special rights if the conditions for this are met according to the law (e.g. to approach a crime scene if the offenders suspected there are still there should not be warned).

Use of the signals

In Germany, the StVO regulates when signals may be used by exclusion provisions:

Blue flashing light together with the emergency horn may only be used when you are in a hurry to

Blue flashing light alone may only be used if the vehicle is allowed to drive and

Yellow rear flashing light:
In order to protect emergency locations and emergency vehicles, in Germany police vehicles, emergency and command vehicles of the fire brigades , disaster control and rescue services as well as ambulances can be equipped with so-called rear warning systems ( § 52 Paragraph 11 StVZO) in addition to the blue all-round light, which consists of a maximum of three A pair of lights shining horizontally to the rear for amber, synchronous flashing light may exist. It must be able to be switched on independently of the other vehicle lighting and may only be operated when stationary or at
walking pace .


In Austria, an emergency vehicle is, according to StVO § 2, Paragraph 25, "a vehicle which, due to the provisions of motor vehicle law , uses blue light and acoustic signals as warning signs with a sequence of different high tones for the duration of the use of one of these signals."

Civil vehicles can also be authorized to be declared as emergency vehicles. This is particularly true of doctors in rural areas, where other rescue organizations have a longer access road, but also, for example, freelance midwives and vets . The drivers of these civil vehicles enjoy the legal advantages relating to the emergency drive, but not z. B. Motor vehicle tax exemption.

The registration certificate does not contain the usual designation such as truck or car. In the past, the entries were mostly special vehicles , today it is fire fighting vehicles or ambulances or similar. In the case of doctors, midwives, etc., however, the registration certificate is not changed. You will receive a notice from the governor , which you have to take with you when you go out and show it to the road inspector when requested.


In Austria emergency vehicles generally have priority - but only within the scope of the restriction given in § 2 StVO "for the duration of the use of the signals", ie during emergency drives (§ 26 StVO). Emergency vehicles are allowed to drive into an intersection even when the light is red , the driver of such an intersection, however, must first stop and make sure that they do not endanger people or damage property. In addition, emergency vehicles in this case do not have priority over vehicles in cross traffic that enter the intersection when the light is green. In Austria, the order of priority when emergency vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time is regulated as follows: ambulance vehicles - fire brigade - security services - other emergency vehicles. In case of doubt, the drivers must communicate (by hand signals).

In the event of an emergency, all emergency vehicles are exempt from the motorway vignette or toll . For journeys that take place without a reason for use, i.e. without the blue light or the following tone horn switched on, regulations with the relevant road operator must be observed, such as with ASFINAG .

There is an exception with regard to driving authorization, especially for fire engines. With a fire brigade driving license it is possible to drive vehicles, although the civil driving license would not be valid for this.

Use of the signals

The signals are warning signs according to § 22 StVO (according to § 2 StVO).

The attached blue light must comply with ECE Regulation 65 in accordance with Section 15a of the Motor Vehicle Act Implementation Ordinance 1967 Paragraph 3 KFG-DV .

The respective governor is responsible for approving whether a vehicle may be equipped with flashing lights and / or a tone . This means that it is very difficult to get an Austria-wide approval as an emergency vehicle.

Emergency vehicles are only allowed to use their signals in certain situations, which may differ legally in individual cases. The following applies in Austria:

Since not every trip with an emergency vehicle is an emergency trip, but the vehicles should still be better protected in some situations, some of these vehicles also have a yellow-red (orange) rotating beacon.


(not final)

Air identifiers (numbers and / or letters on the roof) ensure recognition from the air and serve the targeted call via radio by helicopter .


Web links

Commons : Emergency vehicles  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Emergency vehicle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Single receipts

  1. Section 20 (5) KFG
  2. Decision: OGH 2 Ob 30/93. May 27, 1993. Retrieved January 22, 2019 .
  3. Information sheet for "Blue Light Vehicles". ASFINAG, as of 4/2018 (pdf, asfinag.at, accessed on June 11, 2019).
  4. Section 15a of the Motor Vehicle Act Implementation Ordinance 1967.
  5. ECE regulation 65 ( Memento from May 15, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 779 kB)
  6. Decisions of the independent administrative panels of October 14, 2010, accessed on September 8, 2014.