Date 10 December 2004
New rule to improve vehicle lighting
A new Land Transport Rule aimed at improving the safety of vehicle lighting equipment used on New Zealand's roads has
been signed by Minister for Transport Safety Harry Duynhoven.
As well as covering mandatory vehicle lighting requirements, Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Lighting 2004 (the Vehicle
Lighting Rule) sets out what additional lighting is permitted on vehicles and how lights should be fitted in order to
prevent them from causing a hazard to other road users.
Director of Land Transport David Wright said while inadequate lighting can impair driver visibility, excessive lighting
can be just as dangerous.
"If there are too many lights on a vehicle or they are positioned wrongly, this can dazzle or distract other road
users," Mr Wright said.
Crash statistics indicate there are significant safety risks associated with inadequate, incorrectly-fitted or excessive
vehicle lighting. From 1997 to 2003, problems with vehicle lighting equipment contributed to 441 injury crashes and 35
The rule, which comes into force on 27 February 2005, allows for the use of new lighting technology that is not covered
under current legislation. It also controls the selection and fitting of cosmetic lights (optional lights mainly used to
decorate a vehicle).
Mr Wright said the rule took a moderate approach to cosmetic lighting by restricting its use rather than banning it
While many vehicles will already meet the requirements of the Vehicle Lighting Rule when it takes effect in February,
some may need to have the angle of their dipped beam headlights re-aligned when they go in for their next warrant of
fitness (WoF) inspection. This is a relatively quick and simple procedure, and is routinely carried out as part of WoF
inspections currently (as headlamps go out of alignment from time to time). Other legal lighting requirements are
relaxed in the new rule - for example allowing a broader range of lights to be used by cyclists, and allowing heavy
vehicles and agricultural vehicles to have additional lights, such as extra brake and indicator lights at the top of the
More detailed information on the rule is available at www.landtransport.govt.nz/rules/q-and-a/vehicle-lighting-2004.html
or by phoning the Land Transport New Zealand helpdesk on 0800 699 000.