Light law in murky territory

Staff ~ The Record
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By Christopher Gooding
The Record
SPRINGHILL - The problem is not just here.
In a story reported earlier in the month, a member of law enforcement commented that a new law requiring vehicles to operate with daytime running lights meant vehicles needed to turn on their headlamps. Shortly after the story appeared our office received calls from motorists who had received warnings from a number of different agencies that they needed their headlamps turned on while other callers were informed parking lights were sufficient. Even one of our staff members had been warned during a stop on Highway 2 that parking lights didn't fit the bill.
It's an issue that garnered the attention of Nova Scotia's Dept. of Justice who wanted to give a final say on the matter.
"Any lights on the front of the car count as daytime running lights," Justice's Linday Lewis says.
Most vehicles built after 1990 have daytime running lights, Lewis says, be it parking lights or low beams, making the issue one of little concern for most motorists.
That's not to say, however, warnings have been given when they shouldn't.
As worded within the act, Section 174 (A) reads, "every motor vehicle equipped with one or more headlamps must be equipped with lighted daytime running lights or lighted headlamps at all times while being operated upon a highway within the Province."
"It's definitely a matter we're going to promote more within the various agencies in the area," Lewis said.
That's good news for many of us, including Don Fletcher. On two occasions Fletcher has found himself explaining to authorities his vehicle operates within the limits of the law even though his daytime running lights amount to two orange parking lights.
"I've been stopped at a check point and a second time at an accident," Fletcher says. "Both times I had to explain the orange lights count as daytime running lights."
In both incidents, Fletcher says, he and the officer agreed to disagree with no major consequence but it motivated him to keep on top of the province's Motor Vehicle Act.
The majority of vehicle that would have to worry about turning on their headlamps during the day, Lewis says, are vehicle built pre-1990 and those vehicles are only required to have the low beams turned on. Antique autos are exempt from the legislation, she says, but the vehicle must be a registered antique automobile.
The Dept. of Justice plans to conduct a renewed in-house promotion of the changes to the Motor Vehicle Act, which came into affect a year ago on April 13, 2009.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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