Many police departments are converting their squad cars to the old black and white color scheme made famous by the TV police drama “Adam 12” that aired from 1968 to 1975, says USA Today. The reasons: tradition and better visibility. In Mesa, Az., the 287 marked Ford Crown Victoria police cruisers – white with a blue decal on the doors – will be switched to black-and-whites over the next six years. “Studies have shown that cars with alternating light and dark colors are more visible in low light or high illumination,” says spokesman Chuck Trapani, who adds that in a survey, most officers favored black and white.
One expert on emergency vehicles opposes black-and-white paint jobs. “If you two-tone a vehicle, you camouflage it more than if you use a single car color,” says Stephen Solomon, an Owego, N.Y., optometrist and member of New York state’s Department of Motor Vehicles medical advisory board. “In a municipal setting, the background is straight lines, and when you two-tone a vehicle, you break down the ability to be able to see it in silhouette.” He says the way to make cars more visible is to use lots of fluorescent, reflective tape. The best color is lime-yellow, frequently used on firetrucks.