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Brussels 24th September 2008

Daytime Running Lights for all new vehicles from 2011 to increase road safety

To increase road safety, the European Commission has decided to introduce dedicated Daytime Running Light (DRL) on all new types of motor vehicles from the year 2011 onwards. Dedicated Daytime Running Lights are special lamps which 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.

Vice President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: "The introduction of Daytime Running Light 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 than existing lights.”

According to available research, Daytime Running Light (DRL) is important for road safety. All road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, can detect, recognize and identify vehicles equipped with DRL, better and earlier. The mandatory introduction of dedicated DRL 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. The Directive, which has been adopted today, foresees that from 7 February 2011 onwards all new types of passenger cars and small delivery vans will have to be equipped with DRL. Trucks and buses will follow 18 months later, i.e. August 2012.

On vehicles equipped with Daytime Running Light, 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. In this case the DRL goes off automatically.

From an environmental point of view, dedicated daytime running light is 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. The energy consumption is approximately only 25 - 30 % of the energy consumption of the normal driving light. When using LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology for dedicated DRL, the energy consumption is reduced to only 10%.

In November 2007 the Commission delivered a positive vote in the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) regarding DRL. In order to avoid divergent vehicle requirements, which would be detrimental to the needs of European citizens and the European industry, today’s decision is technically a proposal to align Directive 76/756/EEC with UN/ECE Regulation No 48 (IP/08/1061).

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