Car lights to switch on automatically from 2016

How they will do it is still up in the air

A 2016 EU law will require low-beam lights on the front and rear of all new cars to automatically switch on in darkness and during times of low-visibility.

The law, which will come into effect on 30 June 2016, is geared towards reducing traffic accidents involving vehicles driven by people who may have forgotten to switch on their lights, according to the transport minister, Magnus Heunicke (S).

“There is an understanding at the EU level concerning the problems associated with lacking lights, and I can reveal that a decision has been made to improve the EU rules for new cars,” Heunicke said according to Ingeniøren newspaper. “Low-beam lights (front and rear) will automatically switch on in dark and low-visibility weather.”

The rule will initially concern cars that are built after 30 June 2016 and trucks after 30 January 2018.

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People forget their lights
Sven Krarup Nielsen, the head of the road accident commission, Havarikommissionen, welcomed the new rule.

“This is good news. I often see cars without rear lights on when I drive in the dark, so I definitely think that something should be done,” Nielsen told Ingeniøren. “To make all drivers remember to switch on their rear lights is a futile exercise.”

The national transport authority, Trafikstyrelsen, did not yet know the technical details required, but a low-beam light dependent on a light-sensor could be an option.

The existing legislation from 2011 requires all European car manufacturers to install lights that switch on automatically with the starting of the car. But that rule only concerns lights at the front of the car.