Page 2 of 2

Posted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:16 am
by Jeremy
The regulations don't actually ban non-filament lamps (in fact, if they did then both my present car and my previous car would be illegal, as the current one has HID headlights and a LED brake light and the last one had LED brake lights - both were/are unmodified).

What the regulations say is that filament lamps need to be marked with an appropriate approval (not necessarily an E mark). The regulations make no mention at all of any requirement for marking non-filament lamps, nor do they state anywhere that non-filament lamps are illegal.

This is just as well, given that tens of thousands of cars now have LEDs and HID lights as standard.


Posted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:35 am
by qdos
I think you'll find the LEDs fitted to production cars are certified. Have a chat to any of the kit car builders but particularly the SVA inspectors. I'll see if I can find out from Stuart (he's a kit car manufacturer whos up on SVA MSVA requirements and a BVS member) exactly what pages in what manuals it's stated but there most certainly are LEDs which are legal for road use and LEDs which are not and they can both be picked up not only on market stores but also in places such as Halfords. Halfords ones at least are marked up as 'Not suitable for road use.'

Posted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:05 am
by Jeremy
I'd be interested to see any legal advice you can get, Kelvin. Those used to dealing with SVA inspections might be best placed to know if there is something I've missed. I've spent a couple of hours or so reading through the C&U regs and the Lighting Regs and I can only find the approval requirements I've listed.

The regs seem clear that the light unit (not the bulb) has to be appropriately marked, and also seems to be clear that filament bulbs have to be marked. There is also a requirement covering HID lamps, but nothing that seems to cover LEDs, as far as I can see.


Posted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:47 pm
by tim.strutt
Unreserved apologies :oops: my comment regards non Filament bulbs was based on a what I now realise was an overzelous misunderstanding of possibly even the pre95 BSi standards.... :shock: And after a very long day. :roll:

I stand very much corrected, even a little research has revealed that it has been possible to buy DOT, MOT approved AND allegedly fully compliant HID headlamp aftermarket systems since c 2004! (BS EN 60810:2003 may have had something to do with it, but don't currently have access to BSI standards FOC ).

I will attempt to make amends for my rash post, and seek advice from someone who will know better than I, especially on "updating" automotive lighting systems.

Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:13 am
by Jeremy
It is a bit of a curious thing to try and unravel, all this legal stuff on lights, so no apology is needed. I managed to download a copy of the SVA Inspection Manual (albeit a draft issue of the current one) over the weekend and there seems to be precious little about lights, other than stuff on visibility angles, colours fore and aft and brightness needing to be visually checked during the test for any unmarked lights. The implication in the manual is that unmarked lights are OK on any vehicle that goes through SVA (like a kit car) as long as they meet the right brightness, colour and angular visibility requirements.

My local MOT place said that they only check to see if the lights work and point in the right direction, they don't look for any approval numbers and couldn't care less what sort of bulbs are fitted.

All told, the law on this seems to be a bit of a muddle, making me even more convinced that if you fitted LEDs and they were obviously bright enough, then there'd be near-zero chance of conviction for any offence, whether the bulbs were marked or not.

Of course, there is still the risk of inconvenience from an over-zealous police officer...............


Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:41 am
by qdos
Hi Tim, no need to be so humble in yor appologies I don't think anyone took offence in your posting.

There's a number of areas in which people take a flyer on the legalities of various things. LED bulbs are reasonably new to cars and are only just in the past year or so now making it onto the market as aftermarket items. It's not a clear area but there's most definately some bulbs which are clearly marked as Not for use on the highway. Most external lighting for vehicles needs to be E Marked but that's not to say everything is. You;ll remeber I'm sure the fashion in the late 80's early 90's for tinting light units black only some kids got heavy with the "tint" lately the fashion is to Chrome everything and now LEDs are all the rage too. As this becomes more and more common place then sooner or later there will be an instruction go out to Police forces and MOT stations on the legalities and then folk will get pulled up on it. In the meantime it's not exactly clear precisely what LEDs are legal and what are not.

I like you like to be flexible and hate it when people impose black and white rules without actually thinking about things properly but that's effectively why there are clampdowns when people do start pushing the limits too much. One clear example of this was the Fonts used on number plates.

What I've thought about for donkey's years now is LCD light units on the rear of cars. The crystals can be black but the reflective surface behind could be coloured this would work much better on bright sunny days than light bulbs. I've often been on a road in bright sunshine where I really am unsure as to if the car infront is braking or if it's just the sunshine on the light units reflecting at me.

Anyways if the components are E-marked then they are legal and there's no argument over that with BIll and Plod :wink: Trust me some officers just love an argument they get brownie points for them and like to share the debate down at the station with you and their collegues. I don't find these debates particularly pleasnat and I prefer not to partake though have been invited by some keen officers on a number of ocassions