Due to studies showing an increase in safety, the Technical Standards Document No. 108 found in Schedule IV of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations requires mandatory daytime running lights on all new vehicles sold in or imported into Canada.
Despite opposition from auto manufacturers based upon increased cost, daytime running lights are now standard issue on new cars in Canada. However, the definition of “daytime running lamp” in the legislation does not include taillights.
I have heard from a number of people that their number one driving pet peeve is people driving around at dawn or dusk (or even at night or in foggy conditions) with only their driving lights on. Clearly, these “ghost” cars are a safety issue. Obviously, the headlights are dimmer than they should be, but the biggest issue is that, from behind, these vehicles are largely invisible at a distance and are effectively ghosts until the brakes are applied.
The Motor Vehicle Act Regulations require that motorists turn on their lights:
- from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, and
- at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavourable atmospheric conditions, objects on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 150 m.
In other words, if your lights are off in the foregoing circumstances, you are breaking the law and could be cited for a traffic violation by the RCMP. Unfortunately, it is not clear that the RCMP has made its officers aware of this safety issue and statutory obligation; I witnessed a police cruiser driving around down town Kelowna just last month approximately one hour before sunrise with only its driving lights on.
To be fair, it is possible that many people see the dash lights are illuminated and assume that their lights are in fact on. This may have been true when dash lights only came on when you turned on your lights, but is not necessarily true today. If you are not sure whether you have been driving around in the dark with no rear lights, check your taillights the next time you think your lights are on.
Anything you can do to increase your visibility on the road is a good thing. Turning on your lights takes a total of one second and is a no-brainer.
Stay safe. Turn on your lights and keep an eye out for ghosts.
Einfeld Law is a highly knowledgeable and experienced BC personal injury law firm specializing in motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other negligence claims involving bodily injury. We have successfully litigated many ICBC and other insurance claims, including out of province, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury, whiplash, soft tissue injury, and all other bodily injury claims. We have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We never act for ICBC or other insurance companies.