From today onwards all new types of passenger cars and small delivery vans will have to be equipped with Daytime Running Lights (DRL). Trucks and buses will follow suit 18 months later, in August 2012. DRL lights are special lamps which automatically switch on when the engine is started. They are expected to increase road safety as they substantially raise the visibility of motor vehicles for other road users. They also have a low energy consumption rate compared with existing ‘dipped-beam’ head lights. In countries where DRL is already obligatory it has been hailed as a very positive development in the field of road safety.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: “Daytime running lights will make an important contribution to our goal of reducing casualties on European roads. This is also good news for environment protection as the lower energy consumption rates will reduce CO2 emissions compared to normal lights”.
In 2009, more than 35,000 people were killed on European roads and, for every death, there are an estimated four permanently disabling injuries, ten serious injuries and 40 minor injuries. These numbers are falling thanks to a range of measures, including better safety technology for vehicles, safer road infrastructure and improved driver training (see IP/10/970).
According to recent research on 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 – 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%.
Directive 2008/89/EC on the obligatory fitting of vehicles with DLR, which comes into force today, will greatly contribute to the safety of Europe’s roads. It will harmonise national requirements on the mandatory fitting of DRL to new types of vehicles which up to now have been varying greatly between EU Member States.