Written Answers. - Vehicle Lighting Law.

Enda Kenny

Question:

412 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government his views on the misuse of spot lamps and fog lamps by motorists here; the regulations he has introduced to regularise this matter; if he has consulted with car and vehicle manufacturers in regard to the adequacy or otherwise of lights on vehicles imported here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7630/01]

Enda Kenny

Question:

413 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government whether the use of 100 watt halogen bulbs in vehicle headlights on roads is permitted under road traffic regulations; if his attention has been drawn to the dangers caused by these lights to inexperienced or nervous drivers at night; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7631/01]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 412 and 413 together.

The relevant regulations require lamps that show a light to the front of a vehicle to be fitted and constructed so that they will not dazzle or mislead other traffic when lit. In addition, such lamps must be fitted with a dipping device so that the beam of light from the lamp, when dipped, is incapable of dazzling a person more than 25 feet away from the lamp and in a specified position, which approximates to that of the driver of an oncoming vehicle. Exceptions to the dipping device requirement are made for direction indicators and for one or more other lamps with a combined maximum power output of seven watts. Dipped headlamps must be used when a vehicle is either passing another vehicle or travelling close behind one. The use of fog lamps is permitted only in fog or falling snow. Within this framework a maximum power rating is not specified for vehicle lights. The Garda has responsibility for enforcement of the regulations.

Checks on headlamp condition and alignment are carried out as part of both the national car test and commercial vehicle testing scheme. Standards for lighting for new vehicles are set out in EU type approval law. These standards have been adopted at EU level following extensive consultation with vehicle and lighting manufacturing interests and member states. They have been incorporated into the whole vehicle type approval framework for cars, which applies on a mandatory basis in all member states. All new cars sold in Ireland are required to meet the standards which are also deemed to comply with vehicle lighting law.
The European Commission, in consultation with vehicle and lighting manufacturers, is developing proposals to extend the whole vehicle type approval scheme, including lighting standards, on a mandatory basis to all categories of road going vehicles. These requirements will be transposed into law when the relevant directives have been adopted.