EU reintroduces plans for compulsory vehicle daytime running lights

Conservative MEP concerned that benefits may not outweigh pitfalls

The European Commission has reintroduced plans to make Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) on all vehicles compulsory from 2011.

Sir Robert Atkins, Conservative member of the Transport committee in the European Parliament, said there have been concerns expressed in the past that DRLs could actually decrease road safety for cyclists and pedestrians as they can distract a driver’s attention away from unlit objects and other visual information. He called for an independent assessment on the benefits of such lights, before any formal proposals are introduced.

He said:

“When the commission first mooted compulsory daytime running lights, MEPs were inundated with letters from cyclists concerned that daytime lights would make it more difficult for them to be seen. If all cars have lights on, there is a concern that drivers start looking out for lights, rather than pedestrians or cyclists.

“At a time when we are pushing for reductions in the use of fuel and resultant emissions, we must be certain we are not causing extra carbon emissions without an additional benefit.

“The commission must prove independently that the benefits will outweigh the potential safety and environmental pitfalls. We remain sceptical about the need for EU-wide action, when different parts of Europe receive considerably varying levels of natural light.”

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