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Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Lighting 2004

This rule sets out standards and safety requirements for lighting equipment that is fitted to a vehicle (including a pedal cycle), to allow the vehicle to be operated safely and not endanger the safety of other road users.

Rule versions

  • The ‘Current rule’ will give you the most up-to-date version of the Rule and any amendments made to it. We recommend this as your reference point if you want to read the most current information.
  • The ‘Original rule and amendments’ will give you the very first version of the rule (as it was when it was first created) as well as links to all amendments made to it over time. We recommend this page as your reference page if you want to research the history of the rule.

Note: Both of these pages will also provide links to the consultation material – such as summary of submissions and FAQs (questions and answers) – for each version and amendment.

Questions and answers

Questions and answers are provided to accompany a new rule or amendment when they are signed. These and other consultation documents on this page have not been updated to take into account any later rule amendments and are retained for historic interest only.

Land Transport Rules – questions & answers

Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Lighting Amendment 2011

(Rule 32005/5)

1. Why has this amendment Rule been made?

The amendment Rule makes changes to Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Lighting 2004 (the Vehicle Lighting Rule or the Rule).

The Rule sets out the standards and safety requirements for lighting equipment fitted to a vehicle, so the vehicle can be operated safely under all driving conditions.

The changes aim to ensure New Zealand's requirements reflect the needs of vehicle operators, are in line with current overseas standards and practice, and can accommodate changing lighting technology, while ensuring that vehicles continue to be operated safely.

2. What is the legal authority for the amendment Rule?

Section 152 of the Land Transport Act 1998 allows the Minister of Transport to make ordinary rules assisting land transport safety and security, including (but not limited to) personal security. Section 155 of the Act allows the making of Rules setting out standards and requirements concerning vehicles, their systems, components, fittings or equipment.

3. What are the changes in the amendment Rule and why have they been made?

The amendment Rule makes the changes detailed below.

(1) Explicitly allow the use of a light source that is part of equipment required or allowed by law to be fitted to a vehicle (this includes LED lamps that indicate the status of electronic road user charges (eRUC) labels permitted by the Road User Charges Regulations 1978).

The purpose of this amendment is to specifically allow small lamps that are part of electronic devices and signs that are either permitted or required by other legislation to be fitted to a vehicle. The immediate need for this change arose from the introduction of Electronic Road User Charges ("eRUC") devices that display small coloured lamps in the vehicle's windscreen, but which were not permitted under the Rule.

(2) Clarify the Rule to specifically provide for some modern lighting systems that require two lamps in a pair to operate at different levels of brightness to each other if they are grouped closely together with other lamps providing a different function.

An example of such a system is a pair of lamp units that combine daytime running lamp and direction indicator functions. The system is designed so that one of the pair of daytime running lamps is temporarily dimmed when an indicator is activated, to prevent the light from the indicator being masked by the light emitted by the daytime running lamp. This clarification ensures that the Rule is aligned with internationally recognised vehicle standards.

(3) Remove some conflicts between the Rule and internationally recognised vehicle standards. Currently, such conflicts restrict or prohibit new safety technologies such as emergency brake light systems.

At present, some requirements in the Rule conflict with specific provisions in internationally recognised standards, most notably for emergency brake light systems that are starting to be introduced on some new vehicles. Such systems are safe and desirable and their introduction should not be hindered by differences between international and domestic requirements. The amendment ensures that the Rule fully accommodates safe, modern vehicles that meet internationally recognised standards without imposing any unnecessary additional requirements.

(4) Allow specialised vehicles for road maintenance, with features that obscure the required front lamp systems, to fit dipped-beam headlamps higher above the ground than is otherwise allowed by the Rule.

Currently, the Rule does not allow forward-facing lamps on vehicles to be obscured, and it restricts the maximum allowable height of headlamps. Some vehicles, such as snowploughs and road sweepers, have functional or design features that obscure the required headlamps and other front lamp systems. The amendment allows lamps on specialised vehicles to be fitted above the maximum height allowed by the Rule so that they are not obscured by front-mounted equipment.

(5) Allow bicycles to be fitted with stop lamps and direction-indicator lamps.

Advances in lighting technology mean that stop lamp and indicator systems are now available for bicycles. The previous Rule specifically prohibited such systems, but this provision has been removed as there is no reason for retaining it.

(6) Require light trailers first registered on or after 1 April 2012 to be fitted with stop lamps and indicators.

Previously these lamps were not required if the driver's hand signals were visible from behind the trailer. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that new trailers are fitted with the most appropriate lighting equipment for modern traffic conditions. Trailers first registered before 1 April 2012 do not have to be fitted with stop lamps and direction-indicator lamps if the driver's arm signals can be used instead.

(7) Provide for direction-indicator lamps on forklifts.

The Rule previously did not contain any specific requirements relating to the fitting of direction-indicator lamps on forklifts To clarify the Rule and ensure consistency with requirements for other types of vehicle, the amendment Rule introduces requirements for direction indicators on forklifts, if they are fitted. However, it does not require them to be fitted.

(8) Better align the requirements for side-marker lamps and end-outline lamps with overseas standards.

The purpose of this amendment is to modernise and align requirements relating to side- marker lamps and end-outline marker lamps with overseas standards. These new requirements will not affect vehicles currently registered, and will not restrict the fitting of these lamps more than the current requirements.

(9) Approve a new vehicle standard for headlamps.

The purpose of this amendment is to include a new UN/ECE component standard (UN/ECE Regulation 123) for Advanced Front Lighting Systems. This standard accommodates new lighting technology that is starting to be introduced into New Zealand on some newer vehicles.

(10) Revise the definition of 'headlamp'.

Thjs amendment aligns the definition of 'headlamp' in the Rule with a change to the definition of 'headlamp' in the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004. That change removed the requirement for cycle lights to provide sufficient light in a downward direction to illuminate the road ahead, as they are seldom able to meet this requirement. Cycle lamps instead had to be visible from a distance of 100 m. The amendment Rule amends the definition of 'headlamp' in the Rule to ensure consistency in both Rules.

4. Where can I get copies of the amendment Rule?

Final rules are available on our websitePrinted copies of Land Transport Rules can be purchased from selected bookshops throughout New Zealand that sell legislation. Most Rules can also be purchased from the Rule printers and distributors, Wickliffe Ltd, PO Box 932, Dunedin, or by telephoning (06) 358 8231. Rules may also be inspected at regional offices of the NZTA.

5. How will the NZTA make sure people know about the amendment Rule?

A newsletter about the Rule changes will be sent to groups and individuals who have registered their interest in the Rule.

The NZTA will update any relevant Factsheets or other information material available on its website to reflect the changes brought about by the amendment Rule.

6. How can I get more information about the amendment Rule?

You can call the NZTA Contact Centre on 0800 699 000 if you need more information about the amendment Rule.

Page created: 21 February 2011