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The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989

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Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

1.  These Regulations re-enact the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1984 with modifications. In addition to minor and drafting amendments, they make the following changes of substance.

2.  Previously there were a number of provisions to the effect that no person was to use or cause or permit to be used a vehicle unless it complied with certain construction requirements. Contravention of such a provision would have been an offence under section 42(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The equivalent provisions in these Regulations are expressed as construction requirements. A person who was to cause or permit a vehicle to be used in breach of these provisions would be guilty of an offence under section 42(1)(b).

3.  Previously the day was divided into two periods, “daytime hours” and “hours of darkness”. The divisions between the two were half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise. A number of provisions were based on these periods. In these Regulations they are replaced by the periods between “sunrise and sunset” and between “sunset and sunrise”, with the exception of the provisions relating to use of headlamps or front fog lamps, which remain unaltered.

4.  The other principal changes of substance are as follows–

RegulationChange
6(4)The exemption from the need for a small trailer to be fitted with any stop lamp or direction indicator when those on the towing vehicle are visible to an observer 6 m behind the trailer will not apply to a trailer manufactured on or after 1st October 1990.
11(2)

Amber warning beacons may be fitted to vehicles used for:–

(i)

surveying purposes;

(ii)

the removal or immobilisation of vehicles in exercise of a statutory power or duty; or

(iii)

escort purposes when travelling at a speed not exceeding 25 mph.

11(2)Reflected orange light is permitted from a sign fitted to the rear of a vehicle carrying dangerous substances.
11(3)A green and white chequered domed lamp is permitted on an ambulance control vehicle.
11(2) and Sch 9A side marker lamp is permitted to be amber or, if fitted within 1 m of the rear of the vehicle, red.
11(2) and Sch 17A side retro reflector is permitted to be red if fitted within 1 m of the rear of the vehicle.
14(2)A requirement is introduced for lamps on new pedal cycles in future to be fitted with filament lamps that comply with the British Standard specification for Filament Lamps for Cycles, published by the British Standards Institution under the reference 6873 : 1988.
15A new general requirement is introduced concerning the electrical connections for lamps.
16The provision is amended so as to permit the fitting of special warning lamps at the front of emergency vehicles and the prohibition in the corresponding previous regulation on the fitting of a warning beacon other than a blue warning beacon, or a device resembling such a beacon, is removed. Nevertheless, regulation 11 prohibits the fitting of warning beacons except as specified in that regulation.
19A new requirement is introduced to clarify the position regarding the obscuration of lamps and reflectors by movable parts of a vehicle.
20(1), Table, items 3 and 4A new requirement is introduced for loads projecting either laterally or beyond the rear of a vehicle to be fitted with reflectors in addition to lamps.
20(1), Table, item 5A new requirement is introduced for loads projecting beyond the front of a vehicle to carry lamps and reflectors.
23(2)A new requirement is introduced for a headlamp levelling device, a dim-dip device or running lamp and a hazard warning signal device to be maintained in good working order.
27, Table, item 5The provision is amended so to permit the use of a hazard warning signal device whilst travelling on a motorway or unrestricted dual-carriageway to warn following drivers of a need to slow down due to a temporary obstruction ahead.
Schedules
1, Table IA new provision exempts from the requirement for a dim-dip device to be fitted a vehicle that meets fully the provisions of Council Directive 76/756/EEC, as amended, including, in particular, the provisions for alignment of dipped-beam headlamps.
1, Tables I and VI and Sch 9

A requirement is introduced for new goods vehicles and trailers over 6 m long to be fitted with amber side marker lamps every 3 m along their sides.

Exemptions are provided for:–

(i)

a vehicle which meets fully the provisions of Council Directive 76/756/EEC, as amended;

(ii)

a vehicle having a maximum speed not exceeding 25 mph;

(iii)

agricultural and works trailers;

(iv)

a caravan;

(v)

a vehicle proceeding to a works for completion; and

(vi)

a trailer used for the carriage and launching of a boat.

1, Tables I and VI and Sch 13

A requirement is introduced for new motor vehicles and trailers over 2.1 m wide to be fitted with end-outline marker lamps. Exemptions are provided for:–

(i)

a vehicle having a maximum speed not exceeding 25 mph;

(ii)

agricultural and works trailers; and

(iii)

a vehicle proceeding to a works for completion.

1, Table IThe requirement for a works truck to be fitted with a rear registration plate lamp is revoked.
1, Table IA requirement is introduced for an invalid carriage which can exceed 4 mph to be fitted with direction indicators and a hazard warning signal device.
1, Table VITrailers constructed or adapted for the carriage and launching of a boat are exempt from the requirement for front position lamps.
1, Table VIThe exemption for an agricultural trailer and a works trailer from the requirement to be fitted with direction indicators will not apply to trailers manufactured after 1st October 1990.
1, Table VI and Sch 21A new requirement is introduced for trailers manufactured on or after 1st October 1990 to be fitted with white front reflectors. Agricultural and works trailers are exempt.
2, Part I, para. 3The inward angle of visibility for a front position lamp fitted to a trailer is reduced to 5°.
2, Part I, para. 5(c)A front position lamp fitted to “any other vehicle” (a pedal cycle, a horse-drawn vehicle, an invalid carriage having a maximum speed not exceeding 4 mph and a vehicle drawn or propelled by hand), in each case manufactured or first used on or after 1st October 1990, will be required to bear an approval mark in accordance with Council Directive 76/758/EEC (27.7.76, OJL 262, 27.9.76, p. 54) or ECE Regulation 7 of 27.5.67, or the British Standard mark “BS 6102/3”.
2, Part IIThe maximum number of front position lamps fitted to a solo motor bicycle first used on or after 1st April 1991 is restricted to two.
3The title of this Schedule is amended to refer to Dim-Dip and Running Lamps, the specifications for which are included in the Schedule.
4, Part I, para. 4The requirements for the alignment of dipped-beam headlamps are specified.
4, Part I, para. 12(b) and Sch 23A requirement is introduced for an indication of the downward inclination (vertical aim) of the dipped-beam headlamps to be shown on a motor vehicle first used on or after 1st April 1991.
4, Part II, para. 1A requirement is introduced to prevent a motor vehicle first used on or after 1st April 1991 from being capable of showing more than 2 dipped-beam headlamps at one time. Two pairs may be fitted only if one pair is for use in countries where driving is on the right-hand side of the road.
5, Part IIA requirement is introduced for optional main-beam headlamps fitted to motor vehicles first used on or after 1st April 1991 to bear an approval mark.
6The maximum number of front fog lamps fitted to a motor vehicle first used on or after 1st April 1991 is restricted to 2. There was no previous restriction.
6, para. 4A requirement for the alignment of front fog lamps is specified.
7Consistent with the Schedules for other lamps, this Schedule has been sub-divided into Part I, covering obligatory direction indicators and Part II, covering optional direction indicators. Part III contains the diagrams showing horizontal angles of visibility.
7, Part I, paras. 1, 2 and 5Provision is made for Categories 1a, 1b, 2a and 2b direction indicators. The effect is that front direction indicators fitted close to headlamps are required to be brighter than those fitted beyond a specified distance.
7, Part I, para. 2The requirement regarding the relative positioning of rear direction indicators and rear position lamps has not been reenacted. The minimum separation distances between direction indicators fitted to invalid carriages are specified.
10, Part I, para. 5Rear position lamps fitted to pedal cycles etc are permitted to comply with BS 6102: Part 3 1986 or to be approved to a European standard, as an alternative to the previous requirement.
12, Part II, para. (b)The requirement for a stop lamp fitted to a pedal cycle to bear an approval mark has not been re-enacted.
12, Part II, para. (c)An optional stop lamp fitted in the rear window of a motor vehicle first used on or after 1st April 1991 is required to emit light having an intensity of between 20 and 60 candelas when measured directly in front of the lamp.
22A diagram illustrates where unlit parking is not permitted near a junction.

5.  The definition of “Community Directive 76/756/EEC, as amended” in regulation 3 sets out details of this Directive and the amendments. Copies of the Directives can be obtained from HM Stationery Office.

6.  Copies of the British Standards specifications referred to in these Regulations may be obtained from any of the outlets operated by the British Standards Institution, or by post from the British Standards Institution at Linford Wood, Milton Keynes, MK14 6LE (Telephone number: Milton Keynes (STD 0908) 221166).

7.  The following explanation of European approval marks is added for convenience–

EXPLANATION OF EUROPEAN APPROVAL MARKS

EXAMPLES OF MARKINGS

UN:ECE Dipped and Main-Beam Halogen Headlamp

EC Class III (Triangular Shaped) Retro Reflector

Notes–

1.  An E within a circle indicates a device which has been approved to a UN:ECE Regulation. (United Nations:Economic Commission for Europe, based in Geneva.)

2.  An e within a rectangle indicates a device which has been approved to an EEC Directive. (European Economic Community, based in Brussels.)

3.  The number within the circle or rectangle beside the E or e is the distinguishing number of the country that issued the approval. 11 stands for the United Kingdom.

4.  An arrow below the circle or rectangle means, in the case of a headlamp, that it dips to the left. A double-headed arrow means that the headlamp bulb holder can be adjusted so as to dip either to the left or to the right.

5.  In the case of a motor vehicle registered for use in the United Kingdom which is fitted with European-approved headlamps, an arrow (single or double headed) is required to be present below the approval mark on the lenses of the headlamps.

6.  An arrow below the circle or rectangle means, in the case of any other type of lamp, that the lamp is “handed” and must be fitted to the side of the vehicle to which the arrow points except in the case of a direction indicator of category 3, 4 or 5, in which case the lamp is fitted on the side of the vehicle and the arrow points towards the front of the vehicle.

7.  The symbols above the circle or rectangle identify the function, category or class of device as follows–

AFront position lamp (or end-outline marker lamp)
CDipped-beam headlamp
RMain-beam headlamp
SSealed-beam headlamp
HHalogen headlamp
BFront fog lamp (white or yellow)
1Category 1 front direction indicator (suitable for fitting at least 40 mm from a headlamp or front fog lamp)
1aCategory 1a front direction indicator (suitable for fitting at least 20 mm from a headlamp or front fog lamp)
1bCategory 1b front direction indicator (suitable for fitting less than 20 mm from a headlamp or front fog lamp)
2aCategory 2a rear direction indicator (with single level of intensity)
2bCategory 2b rear direction indicator (with dual level of intensity)
3Category 3 front-side direction indicator
4Category 4 front-side direction indicator
5Category 5 side-repeater direction indicator
11Category 11 front direction indicators for motor cycles only
12Category 12 rear direction indicators for motor cycles only
13Category 13 side repeater direction indicators for motor cycles only
SMSide marker lamp
RRear position lamp
B or FRear fog lamp (red)
S1Stop lamp with single level of intensity
S2Stop lamp with two levels of intensity
ARReversing lamp
IClass I retro reflector
IAClass IA retro reflector
IIIClass III retro reflector (triangular – for trailers only)
IIIAClass IIIA retro reflector (triangular – for trailers only)
No symbolNo A, R, S1 or S2 is required on a position lamp or a stop lamp approved for use only on motor cycles
Common combinations of symbols–
R–S1Rear position lamp which is also a stop lamp
HCRHalogen headlamp emitting both main and dipped-beam
Other combinations of symbols are possible.

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