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EU makes compulsory low-beam daytime headlights in UK

The European Commission is to make it compulsory in Britain for cars to be fitted with automatic low-beam daylight headlights. This is to happen sooner than many analysts have claimed. On 24 September, the European Commission adopted a directive 2008/89/EC, amending Council directive 76/756/EEC, relating to the installation of lighting and light-signalling devices on motor vehicles and their trailers. There have even been many concerns in Britain that constantly running daytime lamps will produce the opposite effect – of presenting a significant harm in road safety.

Contrary to what was reported in the media, the Commission’s proposal does not require further approval of the Council and the European Parliament. In fact, the Commission’s directive was already published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force on 15 October 2008. Under Article 39 of the directive 2007/46/EC, the EU will establish a complete framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for vehicles. The Commission adopted this directive through the back door, via the “comitology procedure.” The Commission was assisted by a regulatory committee, the Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles, composed of representatives of the EU Member States, which backed the Commission’s proposal. Only qualified majority is required to back the proposal. According to a Commission press release, its proposal was unanimously approved by executives from Member States, industry and NGOs.

In order to improve road safety, the European Commission will introduce “Daytime Running Light” from 2011 on all types of motor vehicles. These lights are automatically switched on when the engine starts and when it gets dark; the drivers manually turn on the headlights when the lights go off. Hence, the daytime lights would not switch off automatically as drivers will have to switch on the headlight manually for the daylights to go out. Under the Commission’s directive, from 7 February, all new types of passenger cars and small delivery vans will have to be equipped with DRL; and from August 2012, trucks and buses will also be equipped with DRL.

Member States are required to refuse any EC type approval or national approval for new types of vehicles which do not comply with the directive requirements. Moreover, Member States are required to adopt and publish by October 2009 legislative measures necessary to comply with this directive.

According to the Commission, the energy consumption of the DRL is around “25-30 % of the energy consumption of the normal driving light” – therefore, accordingly, they are deemed to be more environmentally friendly. However there are concerns that day lights will increase fuel consumption, and, consequently, carbon emissions, by 1.5%. Under the Commission’s proposal, EU carmakers will be required to introduce in new car models special daylights.

This measure implies that further burdens will be placed on UK manufactures and will add nothing to road safety. The Commission believes that the Daytime Running Light will improve road safety as it will be easier to all road users to earlier and better detect vehicles equipped with DRL.

However, according to a spokesperson of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and traders “There is a small risk that some drivers will forget to switch on their headlights at night. We think there could also be confusion among road users between these lights and front fog lamps.” There are concerns that the daylights would reduce the visibility of motorcyclists and that they can divert a driver's attention away from unlit objects. This measure is aiming at increasing road safety but it might increase risks for road users and environment.

Conservative MP, Timothy Kirkhope, has said “We remain sceptical about the need for EU-wide action, when different parts of Europe receive considerably varying levels of natural light.” He added “At a time when we are pushing for reductions in the use of fuel and resultant emissions, we must be certain we are not causing extra carbon emissions without an additional benefit.”

According to Eurobusiness, the mandatory requirement of Daytime Running Light is expected to raise car prices by around €150 and also cause a rise in petrol consumption.


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Scientific studies prove, that daytime running lights reduce accidents and deaths on the roads.

If you had the choose between compulsory switching on your normal headlights or have weak lights which are switched on automatically (e.g. LED, which use very little energy), what would you prefer?

Supposing you would really like to reduce your petrol consumption, what would you thing about adopting an ecologic way of driving? Such courses are organized in Switzerland.

The problm is that when a vehicle is turning across traffic, another vehicle driver, especially a motorcyclist who would be seriously injured, may not see the indicator as it will be "glared-out" by the running lights so if a car turns without the driver looking properly, a great risk to especially the motorcyclist will tnen exist. From someone who has ridden a million kilometres over fifty years of riding motos.

The present law where when the light is low a DRL must be turned on should be sufficient. Just enforce it.

That's really great tips on resource.Thanks for sharing.

The blog is really posted well and it is appreciative. Thanks

thank´s for the info ...

We have to use all the political force we can gain and fight those not environmental automobiles company - regulations, laws and taxes are the best way to gain more Eco friendly cars and drivers!

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Bill Cash has been the Conservative Member of Parliament for Stone since 1997 and an MP since 1984.

He is currently the Chair of the European Scrutiny Committee and the founder member of the European Foundation...

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