Virginia State Police adding red lights to vehicles after Virginia Tech study

Red lights are being added to Virginia State Police cruisers and SUVs after researchers at Virginia Tech found the red lights lead to faster response times.

The state is rolling out the red lights on new vehicles as replacements are needed.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers discovered that drivers pay more attention to a police vehicle when it uses red lights in its light bar.

They analyzed a marked police vehicle with four different lighting patterns and an unmarked vehicle with two different lighting patterns before making a recommendation. 

The research took place in rural and urban areas across Virginia and during different times throughout the day.

Lane changes and speed behavior were also examined. 

The research was funded by the National Institute of Justice. Virginia Tech first partnered with Virginia State Police to examine police lighting back in 2014.

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In 2020, the data became the dissertation for Virginia Tech student Travis Terry and was published in "Accident Analysis & Prevention."