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From February 7, 2011, daytime running lights have been made legal on all new cars

Daytime running lights (right) improve visibility

Safety standard to lower European fatality rate

ALL new small delivery vans and cars will have to be equipped with Daytime Running Lights (DRL) from now on.

Trucks and buses will follow suit 18 months later, in August 2012.

DRL lights are special lamps which automatically switch on when the engine is started. They are expected to increase road safety as they substantially raise the visibility of motor vehicles for other road users. They also have a low energy consumption rate compared with existing ‘dipped-beam’ head lights.

In countries such as Sweden, DRL has already been obligatory – the death rate per hundred thousand is the lowest in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.

European Commission vice president Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: “Daytime running lights will make an important contribution to our goal of reducing casualties on European roads. This is also good news for environment protection as the lower energy consumption rates will reduce CO2 emissions compared to normal lights.”

In 2009, more than 35,000 people were killed on European roads. For every death, there is also an estimated four permanently disabling injuries, 10 serious injuries and 40 minor injuries according to the European Commission. These numbers are falling thanks to a range of measures, including better safety technology for vehicles, safer road infrastructure and improved driver training it added.

The European Commission said that recent research on DRL found that road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists can, detect vehicles equipped with DRL more clearly and sooner than those equipped with dipped beam head lights.

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