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Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989

The road vehicle lighting regulations act got amended in the United Kingdom. It now covers the legal requirements for the use of headlamps and front fog lamps.

Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)

The Vehicle Certification Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. VCA is the national approval authority which decides a set of environmental and safety standards.

Their standards relate to all new road vehicles, agricultural tractors, off-road vehicles (e.g. quad bikes), and their individual systems and components.

Note: The conditions described below are provided for guidance only. We cannot be held responsible for any mistakes or misinterpretations that exist or for any action taken after reading this information. Check the UK Highway Code for further details on British road rules.

The Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989

Using Vehicle Dipped-beam Headlamps

1. Save as provided in paragraph 2, no person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, on a road a vehicle which is fitted with obligatory dipped-beam headlamps unless every such lamp is kept lit:

  • During the hours of darkness, except on a road which is a restricted road for the purposes of section 81 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 by virtue of a system of street lighting when it is lit; and
  • In seriously reduced visibility.

Use of Obligatory Lights on a Motor Vehicle

2. The provisions of paragraph 1 do not apply:

  • In the case of a motor vehicle fitted with one obligatory dipped-beam headlamp or a solo motor bicycle or motor bicycle combination fitted with a pair of obligatory dipped-beam headlamps, if a main-beam headlamp or a front fog lamp is kept lit;
  • In the case of a motor vehicle, other than a solo motor bicycle or motor bicycle combination, fitted with a pair of obligatory dipped-beam headlamps, if:
    • A pair of main-beam headlamps is kept lit; or
    • In seriously reduced visibility, a pair of front fog lamps which is so fitted that the outermost part of the illuminated area of each lamp in the pair is not more than 400 mm from the outer edge of the vehicle is kept lit:
  • To a vehicle being drawn by another vehicle
  • To a vehicle while being used to propel a snow plough; or
  • To a vehicle which is parked.

3. For the purposes of this regulation a headlamp shall not be regarded as lit if its intensity is reduced by a dim-dip device.


Vehicle Lighting Requirements | When to use sidelights, dipped headlights, and hazard warning lights.

Vehicle Maintenance and Safety | Information and rules for drivers on maintenance, safety, and security.

Motor Vehicle Lighting Regulations in the United Kingdom