Motor Vehicles: Lighting

Department for Transport written question – answered on 25th November 2021.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of motorists being dazzled by the brightness of LED headlights in oncoming vehicles as a factor in causing accidents after dark; what legal limitations are in place on the permitted level of brightness of those headlights, for the purpose of reducing the likelihood of their causing accidents; what (a) rules and (b) guidelines have been issued to car manufacturers on permitted brightness levels for headlights; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Police routinely collect data on road collisions in Great Britain and the officer attending the scene can record up to six contributory factors based on their initial assessment of the incident. Although LED lighting technology is increasingly common, from 2010 to 2020, dazzle from headlamps is recorded in 0.25 percent to 0.34 per cent of accidents and shows no discernible increase over that time period.

Prior to registration, vehicle manufacturers must supply evidence that their vehicles comply with international road vehicle approval requirements. Provisions for vehicle headlamps define maximum and minimum intensity, light pattern and position on the vehicle. Domestic legislation also prohibits the use of headlamps that cause undue dazzle or discomfort for other road users.

There are no current plans to amend these rules but the Department’s officials are supporting international activity reviewing the technical standards, and a report is expected early next year.

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