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New cars to be fitted with daytime running lights

Daytime lights could reduce road deaths in Europe

Daytime running lights on a BMW

Daytime running lights are being made compulsory by the European Commission

A statement from the European Commission confirms that all new types of passenger cars and small delivery vans now have to be equipped with Daytime Running Lights.

The move is a step to improve European road safety and to reduce energy consumption.

The announcement states that cars being put forward for type approval must have daytime running lights from yesterday (February 7), but not current production models.

Read our advice on buying a new car

35,000 killed on European roads in 2009

Having daytime running lights – lights that are on from the moment you switch on your ignition and cannot be turned off – is expected to improve road safety, as they improve the visibility of cars for other road users

Daytime running lights will improve road safety across Europe

Daytime running lights will improve road safety across Europe

The European Commission has pushed for daytime running lights to be introduced to tackle the high number of causalities on EU roads.

More than 35,000 people were killed on European roads in 2009 alone, and for every death there are an estimated four permanently disabling injuries, ten serious injuries and 40 minor injuries.

These numbers are said to be falling, thanks to improved safety equipment and technology in vehicles, plus safer road infrastructure. But the European Commission believes daytime running lights will have a big impact on cutting these numbers further.

Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice President, said: ‘Daytime running lights will make an important contribution to our goal of reducing casualties on European roads. This is also good news for environmental protection, as the lower energy consumption rates will reduce CO2 emissions compared to normal lights.’

Which? members can read our guide to headlight bulbs

Daytime running lights are greener as well as safer than traditional dipped beam headlights

Daytime running lights are greener as well as safer than traditional dipped beam headlights

Do daytime running lights improve road safety?

According to recent research quoted by the European Commission, motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists can detect other vehicles equipped with daytime running lights better than those fitted with traditional dipped-beam headlights.

And figures also back-up the environmental benefits of daytime running lights, too.

The energy consumption of daytime running lights compared to dipped-beam lights is approximately 25 to 30% lower – when the daytime running lights are LED (Light-Emitting Diode), the energy is further reduced to only 10%.

How long until all cars have daytime running lights?

Because the European Commission only states that cars being put forward for type approval must have daytime running lights, not production models, don’t expect every single new production car to come equipped with daytime running lights.

Type approval only occurs when a manufacturer releases a new model, or makes significant changes when updating a current car. But the Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says it won’t be long until we see a rapid growth in daytime running lights on UK roads.

An SMMT spokesperson said: ‘Daytime running lights are an important part of the automotive industry’s ongoing drive to enhance road safety.

‘Already, many new cars on sale today feature daytime running lights as standard. As new models are launched and upgrades are made to existing models, we will see the total number of new cars with daytime running lights increase rapidly.’


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