Lighting and Markers

The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 govern this section. They are are complex set of regulations with many of the regulations only applicable to vehicle manufacturers or body builders. We've reproduced the information and regulations (where applicable) that we feel are most relevant.

Mandatory Conspicuity markings from the 10th of July 2011

For those of you unaware, the UK Government has agreed to the introduction of additional outline reflective markings on goods vehicles.

The UN Technical Committee (UNECE) has published the requirements in an amendment to Regulation 48, which will apply additional side and rear markings to new goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes and new trailers over 3.5 tonnes.

All tapes are required to be certified to regulation ECE104.


As a point of interest the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 is Statutory Instrument 1989 No. 1796.

Between sunset and sunrise all vehicles in motion on a road, except a motorbicycle or pedal cycle being pushed, must ensure that every lamp required to be fitted to the vehicle in question is lit and unobscured, which include:

During the hours of darkness (half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise) a vehicle fitted with obligatory dipped-beam headlamps and used on the road, except on a restricted road where the street lamps are not more than 200 yards apart or when the vehicle is parked, must keep every such lamp lit. Front and rear position lamps and dipped beam headlamps must also be kept lit in seriously reduced visibility. Seriously reduced visibility is generally considered as being less than 100 metres.

In addition to front and rear position lamps, headlamps, rear registration plate lamps and two red rear reflectors, most vehicles must be fitted with red stop lamps, appropriate direction indicators and, on vehicles first used from 1 April 1980, at least one rear fog lamp. Larger goods vehicles may also require side facing reflectors and rear reflective marker plates (see Rear Markings).

Unlit Parking Restrictions Front position lamps must be white (or yellow if incorporated in a yellow headlamp) - it is illegal to show a red light to the front. Rear lights must be red but other permitted rear lights such as reversing lights, number plates, warning beacons, rear reflective markers and working lights on recovery vehicles may be different colours.

Vehicle lights must be maintained in working order by day as well as by night, unless they are painted or masked so that they cannot readily be used, or the bulb is not wired, or they are fitted to specified types of vehicles solely for site operation. However, allowance is made for daytime journeys if the lamp or reflector became defective during that journey if arrangements had been made to remedy a previous failure.

Except for reversing lamps, hazard warning signals and warning beacons, lights must not cause undue dazzle or discomfort to other drivers or persons using the road. This is particular important for headlamps and front and rear fog lamps.

It should also be noted that unlit vehicles are not permitted to park under certain prevailing conditions, not least in close proximity to a road junction - (Regulation 24(3)) - (see diagram).

[back to top]

Copyright © 2007 - | Transports Friend