New cars will have be equipped with Daytime Running Lights to be approved in the EU

In order to increase road safety, all new types of passenger cars and small delivery vans will now have to be equipped with Daytime Running Lights (DRL). These special lamps which automatically switch on when the engine is started act as safety device as they substantially raise the visibility of motor vehicles for other road users. In case of trucks and buses, this obligation will apply from August 2012 onwards.

Reducing the number of human casualties due to road accidents is one of the key objectives set by the European Commission. Better safety technology for vehicles, safer road infrastructure and improved driver training are some of the measures which are helping to reduce figures such as the 35,000 people were killed on European roads on 2009.

With this objective, the European Union adopted in 2008 Directive 2008/89/EC amending the rules concerning the installation of lighting and light-signalling devices on motor vehicles, which came into force on 7 February. This Directive will harmonise national requirements on the mandatory fitting of Daytime Running Lights (DRL) to new types of vehicles which up to now have been varying greatly between EU Member States.

Daytime Running Lights (DRL) to increase road safety

According to recent research on Daytime Running Lights (DRL), road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists can detect vehicles equipped with DRL more clearly and sooner than those equipped with dipped beam head lights. On vehicles equipped with DRL, the light is automatically switched on when the engine is started. When it is dark the driver has to switch on the driving lights manually. In this case the DRL goes off automatically.

From an environmental point of view, DRL is an effective solution for improving the visibility of vehicles. As the technology is designed to be used during the daytime it is much more effective and efficient than existing lighting devices. The energy consumption is approximately 25% to 30% of the consumption of a standard driving light. When using the LED (Light Emitting Diode) for DRL, the energy consumption is further reduced to only 10%.