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Many After-Market Auto Lighting Modifications Illegal in Michigan

A car that’s lit with special neon effects may appeal to some auto enthusiasts, but to those driving near an illuminated vehicle at night, they’re anything but amusing. A brightly-lit car that appears as if it was driven off the “Tron” movie set is not only distracting, it’s illegal on Michigan’s roads. The following are the traffic laws surrounding neon lighting, according to the Michigan State Police.

Neon underbody lighting is not allowed.

Michigan Vehicle Code, Section 257.698, prohibits additional vehicle lighting (mods) while the vehicle is on public roads, including neon under-glow kits. Owners are allowed to install the lights on their automobiles; however, the lights must be unlit and covered while on the highway, which includes all public roads and the adjacent rights-of-way.

Are neon license plate frames legal?

Similarly, auto owners may equip their vehicle with a license plate frame that contains neon lights, but they must be covered and unlit while on the roadway. Also, the frame cannot obstruct any of the registration information on the plate or tabs.

What about other neon accessories?

If installed on a vehicle, the lights must be both covered and unlit while on a highway (any public road, including the right of way). The prohibition includes but is not limited to, windshield wiper lights, tire valve stem lights, overhead/roll bar lights, and interior after-market lighting that is visible from the outside of the vehicle.

How about the inside of the vehicle?

According to the Michigan State Police, the problem with placing neon lighting inside a vehicle is that the vehicle code is specific about the color of lamps allowed in a car and what color can be seen from what direction.

White or amber are the only colors legally allowed on display in the front of the vehicle. Red or amber are permitted to the rear. These colors are not allowed to be visible anywhere else on the car (for example, you cannot see red in the front). Lighting that causes visual impairment or that which is distracting to the driver is also unlawful.

Before you consider any vehicle modification, be sure to check Michigan laws or ask an attorney about on what’s legal and what isn’t allowed on the road. There is no law against the sale and installation of such products so, it is up to you, the consumer, to determine if you’re spending your money on a product that might land you in trouble.

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