Europe mandates DRLs for all new vehicles from 2011

Sept. 26, 2008
LED technology is likely to become even more widely used in cars, as daytime running lights are made compulsory in Europe from 2011.
To increase road safety, the European Commission (EC) has decided to introduce dedicated Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) on all new types of motor vehicles from the year 2011 onwards.

Dedicated DRLs are special lamps that are automatically switched on when the engine is started. They substantially increase the visibility of motor vehicles to other road users, and have a low energy consumption compared to existing dipped-beam head lamps.

In countries which have already made DRL obligatory, the experience in the field of road safety is very positive, says the EC.

From an environmental point of view, dedicated DRLS are an effective solution to improve visibility and conspicuity of vehicles. As the technology is especially designed to be used during daytime, it is much more effective and efficient than existing lighting devices.

BMW 7 series The EC says that energy consumption is approximately only 25-30 % of the energy consumption of the normal driving light. When using LED technology for dedicated DRLs, the energy consumption is reduced to only 10%.

A number of car makers have already introduced DRLs using white LEDs.

The new EC Directive, which is not yet law in all 27 member states, foresees that from 7 February 2011 onwards all new types of passenger cars and small delivery vans will have to be equipped with DRLs. Trucks and buses will follow 18 months later, i.e. August 2012.

BMW 7 series rear lights Vice President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: "The introduction of DRLs for cars, trucks and buses makes them more visible, which will increase road safety. This will make a positive contribution to our goal of reducing fatalities on European roads whilst being more fuel efficient then existing lights.”

The EC says that, according to available research, DRLs are important for road safety. All road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, can detect, recognize and identify vehicles better and earlier if they are equipped with DRLs.

On vehicles equipped with DRLs, this light is automatically switched on when the engine is started. When it is dark the driver has to switch on the driving lights manually, and in this case the DRL goes off automatically.

The mandatory introduction of dedicated DRLs was discussed in the Commission's High Level Group CARS 21 (“Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st Century”) with high level executives from Member States, industry and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and got unanimous approval.