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Vehicle lighting rules under review

Vehicle lighting rules under review

The Land Transport Safety Authority is calling for public submissions on a proposed rule that will review, update and replace the legal requirements for vehicle lighting equipment.

The proposed Vehicle Lighting Rule, which is open for public submissions until 23 December 2003, updates current law covering vehicle lighting. It also proposes changes to address identified safety risks. The LTSA anticipates this rule becoming law in 2004.

There are significant safety risks associated with inadequate or missing vehicle lighting, or lights that dazzle, confuse or distract other road users. Between 1997 and 2001, problems with vehicle lighting equipment contributed to 25 fatal and 312 injury crashes.

The proposed Rule will apply to anyone who is responsible for lighting equipment on vehicles, including vehicle owners and those who inspect, import, manufacture or sell vehicles or vehicle lighting equipment. Most of the requirements in the draft rule are carried over from existing legislation. In addition, the draft rule proposes new requirements to accommodate advances in lighting standards and technology.

The LTSA believes it is important that lighting does not dazzle or distract other road users or interfere with the effectiveness of mandatory lighting equipment on a vehicle. There is a need to monitor the use of “cosmetic” lamps, which are increasing in numbers on our roads and come in a variety of potentially distracting colours but serve no functional purpose. The draft rule addresses local and international concerns about cosmetic lamps, which are currently unregulated.

Vehicle lighting two of two

The new rule will clarify what lights you can and cannot have on vehicles. The draft rule clearly states which lights must be fitted, and what additional equipment may be fitted to increase safety. The LTSA is inviting comment on whether the permitted number of lamps of each type is appropriate.

The draft rule proposes to increase the number of allowable side-marker lamps fitted to heavy vehicles to improve their visibility. It also proposes to allow a wider range of lights to be fitted to cycles to increase their visibility and safety.

Copies of the draft Rule and information on how to make a submission are available by calling 0800 699 000, email: info@ltsa.govt.nz, or from the LTSA website: http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/consultation/vehicle-lighting-rule/index.html

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