In the car industry, neon underglow, also known as ground effects, refers to non-standard neon or LED lights that are attached to the underbody of a car, truck, or motorcycle. These lights are put in as a customization to the car, attached to the chassis, and illuminate the ground under the vehicle. These lights can be bent, folded, wound, and easily affixed in place under a car’s wheel arches, along the dash, under the foot-wells, around the grille, or even in the trunk. Although some states prohibit underglow on public roads, its use has become popular in car shows to add aesthetic appeal.
Nevada law does not expressly address nor prohibit additional vehicle lighting equipment. Neon underglow would fall under this type of lighting. As a result, it is likely not illegal to use neon underglow in your vehicle as long as the following is followed:
License plate illumination is the color white, only;
No amber colored flashing lights;
All lights visible from the rear of the vehicle should be the color red.
Moreover, because light colors, including underbody glow, that are green, blue and red are typically used on emergency vehicles, they should be avoided. While Nevada law does not mandate this, it is prudent to consider using different underglow for different parts of the vehicle. For example, amber colored underglow should be used in the front and sides of the vehicle while red colored underglow should be used in the back and back sides of the vehicle.
Of note, Nevada does not have any relevant laws that prohibit or restrict installing car underglow. In other words, it is likely legal to use neon underglow in Nevada while driving.
Relevant portions of Nevada’s Vehicle Code that allow, limit, or restrict certain aftermarket lights from being installed on vehicles can be found in NRS 484D.145. This section governs the colors of certain lights, lamps and reflectors. Specifically the law states:
Lights, lamps, and reflectors mounted on the front or on the side near the front of the vehicle must display or reflect an amber color;
Clearance lamps, identification lamps, and marker lamps and reflectors mounted on the rear of the vehicle or on the sides near the rear must display or reflect a red color;
Lights and reflectors mounted on the rear of a vehicle must display or reflect a red color except:
The light illuminating a license plate must be white;
The stoplight or other signal device may be amber, yellow or red;
The backup lamp light must be amber or white;
Motorcycle tail lamp lights may contain a blue insert.
In short, as cool as neon underglow may look, the risk of being stopped by law enforcement because of the lights is high.
If you or someone you know has questions about using neon underglow in Nevada, or has any other legal question that needs to be answered, contact the knowledgeable lawyers at Parry & Pfau. Click here today to schedule an initial call with one of our attorneys.
(image courtesy of Serge Kutuzov)