LED vehicle lamps legal

Floris Steenkamp

Confusion  after magistrate overturns acquittal of two vehicle owners who  had “LED bars” fitted to their vehicles.

The already complicated and confusing saga around LED vehicle lamps (led = light emitting diodes) has become more confusing. That is after a successful appeal by the Walvis Bay municipal traffic department against the acquittal earlier this year of two motorists on charges their vehicles were fitted with additional lamps that does not conform to specifications as per traffic legislation.
The charges read as follows: “vehicles were fitted with a lamp other than a lamp prescribed or authorised in terms of the Road Traffic and Transportation Act’s regulations of 2001”. Both motorists had a single LED-bar fitted to their vehicles and were fined by traffic officials.
The motorist waived their option to pay a fine and instead fought their cases in court. Both were acquitted and the Walvis Bay municipal traffic department appealed.
Magistrate Vicky Nikolaidis overturned the acquittals earlier this week and instead fined both motorists N$800, alternatively three months imprisonment.
The Walvis Bay municipal traffic department soon lit the fires of victory. As the news spread of the successful appeal, traffic officials as far as Windhoek started to clamp down on motorists who had any form of LED-lights fitted to their vehicles as additional lamps.
However, sadly magistrate Nikolaidis’ appeal judgement was gravely misinterpreted and misunderstood, it now turns out. Nikolaidis did not find the two motorists guilty because their vehicles were fitted with LED-lamps, but were in fact found guilty of fitting these lights in an arrangement other than prescribed by legislation.
The law only makes provision for a vehicle to have two additional lamps. These two lamps must be fitted at an even distance both sides of the vehicle’s center line (See page 2). A LED bar lamp is one unit and is therefore illegal.
“New vehicles are mostly fitted with LED-lights. The two individuals were not found guilty because the light in question were LED, but they transgressed the allowable number of additional lights and at what dimensions it can be fitted on the vehicle’s front-end”, it was explained to namib times.


In the light perspective

Additional lights (lamps) mounted to a vehicle’s front are only legal in the following instances:
∙The two lamps must be mounted at an even distance and height from the vehicle’s center line. One lamp on the left of the center line and the other on the right hand side of the center line. See picture bottom right how to determine the center line. The center line runs from the vehicle’s front to the back.
∙These two additional lamps may only emit a beam light.
∙These two additional lamps may only be fitted at the following heights: (a) no higher than 1,4m from the ground and the lamp may not be more than 50cm behind the vehicle’s further-most protruding front end.
∙In cases where additional lamps are LED-type lights, the amount of LED-bulbs in the lamp are irrelevant. The complete lamp counts as one. Example: if you have two additional lamps fitted on the vehicle and each lamp contains seven LED-bulbs it does not mean you have fourteen LED lights fitted. The lamp, irrespective of the number of LED-bulbs counts as one unit.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login