Reminder: Private plows can't use green lights on public roads

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With snow on the ground, you may be seeing those green lights on the road again.

"It's one of the easiest to see at night or in snow in a white background it shows up very well," said Zach Russell with the Ottawa County Road Commission.

State and county winter maintenance trucks are the only ones, legally allowed to use green lights in winter months.

So what's so special about them? MDOT says the green strobe improves visibility which in turn improves safety by causing drivers to slow down. The goal of the green lights is to reduce rear-end crashes.

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A quick search online and green lights are easy to get, but by law, city, county, and state winter or maintenance trucks are the only ones allowed to use these lights.

But county officials are noticing private plow companies using them as well. 

"Our night time supervisors have noticed green lights around lots of people have noticed them," Russell said. 

While these companies are legally allowed to use them on private property, if you're caught using them on public roads you could get a citation. The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office says the citation is improper or unauthorized use of light, which is a traffic ticket.

Right now Russell says the problem may be some companies just don't know about this law, so they're hoping to change that. 

"We've been working with the Sheriff's Department to try and notify people," he said. 

A house bill was introduced this month that would allow private trucks that are doing highway construction and maintenance to also use green lights. It's now in committee.

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