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Loren
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 31504
Experience:  Former Asst State Attorney/Hearing Officer
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Do car headlights have to be at a certain level? My company

Customer Question

Do car headlights have to be at a certain level? My company has a car they are forcing us to drive that has a headlight "throw" of about 12 feet on bright. The adjusters are broken. We asked them to fix it. They said they didn't want to spend the money. That we would have to deal with it. We drive over night delivery in Illinois and Indiana. With this many deer on the road it does not feel safe.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Loren replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am JudgeLaw and I will do whatever I can to answer your question and provide you excellent service.

Illinois law states that motorists must use their headlights from sunset to sunrise and when rain, snow, fog, or poor weather conditions require the use of windshield wipers. Headlights are legally required when objects 1,000 feet away from your vehicle are not visible. Your lights must be dimmed 500 feet before meeting an oncoming vehicle, or 300 feet before you plan to pass another vehicle.

If the car headlights do not meet these requirements then the vehicle is not in compliance with 12-201 of the Illinois Vehicle Code:

Sec. 12-201. When lighted lamps are required.

(a) When operated upon any highway in this State, every motorcycle shall at all times exhibit at least one lighted lamp, showing a white light visible for at least 500 feet in the direction the motorcycle is proceeding. However, in lieu of such lighted lamp, a motorcycle may be equipped with and use a means of modulating the upper beam of the head lamp between high and a lower brightness. No such head lamp shall be modulated, except to otherwise comply with this Code, during times when lighted lamps are required for other motor vehicles.

(b) All other motor vehicles shall exhibit at least 2 lighted head lamps, with at least one on each side of the front of the vehicle, which satisfy United States Department of Transportation requirements, showing white lights, including that emitted by high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, or lights of a yellow or amber tint, during the period from sunset to sunrise, at times when rain, snow, fog, or other atmospheric conditions require the use of windshield wipers, and at any other times when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 1000 feet. Parking lamps may be used in addition to but not in lieu of such head lamps. Every motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer shall also exhibit at least 2 lighted lamps, commonly known as tail lamps, which shall be mounted on the left rear and right rear of the vehicle so as to throw a red light visible for at least 500 feet in the reverse direction, except that a truck tractor or road tractor manufactured before January 1, 1968 and all motorcycles need be equipped with only one such tail lamp.

(c) Either a tail lamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light a rear registration plate when required and render it clearly legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear. Any tail lamp or tail lamps, together with any separate lamp or lamps for illuminating a rear registration plate, shall be so wired as to be lighted whenever the head lamps or auxiliary driving lamps are lighted.

(d) A person shall install only head lamps that satisfy United States Department of Transportation regulations and show white light, including that emitted by HID lamps, or light of a yellow or amber tint for use by a motor vehicle.

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JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok i see that it is very specific when it comes to motorcycles, "When operated upon any highway in this State, every motorcycle shall at all times exhibit at least one lighted lamp, showing a white light visible for at least 500 feet in the direction the motorcycle is proceeding".


 


But with cars it says that "Headlights are legally required when objects 1,000 feet away from your vehicle are not visible". I'm still unsure of the relevance to our certain predicament. The vehicle in question has two headlights that can be operated once conditions get unfavorable or dark, they point straight down, but it doesn't seem to address if there is a rule/law concerning the throw of the headlights on cars. From what i can understand it just covers when you are required to turn on your lights with nothing concerning actual effectiveness like is written when concerning motorcycles.

Expert:  Loren replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for following up with me.

I have reviewed the Illinois motor vehicle code and, unfortunately, there is no legal visibility requirement for auto headlights in Illinois. The vehicle code only addresses when the lights must be on, color, and how far they must be visible in the rear, but not the front.

It would be evidence of negligence in the event of a civil claim stemming from a nighttime accident, but it is not a criminal or traffic offense under the Illinois MVC.

Thank you.

JudgeLaw