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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 19. Public Safety
Agency 30. Department of State Police
Chapter 70. Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Regulations
4/20/2019

19VAC30-70-160. Auxiliary Lamps: Backup; Cornering; Driving; Fog; Spot and Warning.

A. Auxiliary lamps on a vehicle consist of seven general types: backup lamps (SAE-R), cornering lamps (SAE-K), driving lamps (SAE-Y), front fog lamps with an amber or clear lens (SAE-F) and rear fog lamps with red lens (SAE-F2), spot lamps (SAE-O), warning lamps (SAE-W, W2, W3), and daytime running lamps (DRLs) (SAE-Y2).

B. School buses may be equipped with an eight-lamp warning system of two red and two amber warning lamps of an approved type (SAE-W2) on the front and rear of such vehicle.

1. School buses may also be equipped with roof-mounted flashing white or amber warning lamps of an approved type (SAE-W2).

2. In addition to required warning lamps, school buses may be equipped with a stop signal arm consisting of an octagonal sign which meets FMVSS specifications (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, 49 CFR Part 571). The stop signal arm shall be reflectorized or be equipped with two red warning lamps of an approved type.

C. There is no limit on the number of backup lamps that a vehicle may have so long as they are of an approved type (SAE-R).

D. No more than four lamps, including two headlamps, may be lighted at any time to provide general illumination ahead of the vehicle.

E. Approved type (DOT or SAE-W) blue or blue and red lights are permitted on Department of Corrections vehicles designated by the Director of the Department of Corrections and any law-enforcement vehicle.

1. Approved type secondary warning lights installed only on the four corners, on law-enforcement vehicles, Department of Corrections, fire apparatus, government-owned vehicle operated on official business by a local fire chief or other local fire official, rescue squad vehicle, ambulance, or any other emergency medical vehicles. These lights shall also have primary warning lights installed.

2. The hide-away or undercover strobe lights shall be installed in the side marker lights, tail lights or parking lights. The strobe itself must be clear and the lens color must continue to be the same type and color as originally approved. It will not be permissible to install the hide-away lights in the headlights.

3. Approved type (SAE-W) red warning lights or red and white lights showing to the front are permitted on fire department vehicles, including publicly-owned state forest warden vehicles, ambulances, any rescue vehicle used for emergency calls, local department of emergency management, animal warden vehicles, school buses and vehicles used by security personnel at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Bassett-Walker, Incorporated, the Tultex Corporation, the Winchester Medical Center, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Wallops Flight Facility.

4. No more than two flashing or steady-burning red lights or red and white combination lights of an approved type (SAE-W) may be installed on one vehicle owned by any member of a fire department, volunteer fire company or volunteer rescue squad, any ambulance driver employed by a privately-owned ambulance service, and any police chaplain.

F. Vehicles mentioned in subsection E of this section permitted to be equipped with flashing, blinking or alternating red, red and white, blue, or blue and red emergency lights (except vehicles owned by any member of a fire department, volunteer fire company, volunteer rescue squad or any ambulance driver employed by a privately-owned ambulance service) may be equipped with the means to flash their headlamps when their emergency warning lamps are activated provided:

1. The headlamps are wired to allow either the upper beam or lower beam to flash but not both.

2. The headlamp system includes a switch or device which prevents flashing of headlamps when headlamps are required to be lighted pursuant to current statute.

3. Emergency vehicles in Chesapeake, Poquoson, and York County may be equipped with flashing headlights that will function whenever their warning lights are activated.

G. Any firefighting vehicle, ambulance, rescue or life-saving vehicle, Virginia Department of Transportation vehicle, or tow truck may be equipped with clear auxiliary lamps which shall be used exclusively for lighting emergency scenes. Such lamps shall be of a type permitted by the superintendent. Any government-owned police vehicle may be equipped with clear auxiliary lamps of a type approved by the superintendent.

H. Approved type (SAE-W) amber flashing, blinking or alternating lights are permitted on vehicles used for the principal purpose of towing or servicing disabled vehicles or in constructing, maintaining and repairing highways or utilities on or along public highways and vehicles used for the principal purpose of removing hazardous or polluting substances from the state waters or drainage areas on or along public highways. Such lamps are permitted on vehicles used for servicing automatic teller machines, refuse collection vehicles, hi-rail vehicles and on vehicles used for towing or escorting over-dimensional materials, equipment, boats, or manufactured housing units by authority of highway hauling permit.

1. Approved type (SAE-W) amber flashing, blinking or alternating lights are permitted on fire apparatus, government-owned vehicles operated on official business by a local fire chief or other local fire official, rescue squad vehicles, ambulances, and any other emergency medical vehicles to be equipped with alternating blinking or flashing red, or red and white secondary lights mounted inside the vehicle's tail lights or marker lights.

2. Approved type (SAE-W) amber flashing, blinking or alternating lights are permitted on vehicles owned and used by municipal safety officers in the performance of their official duties, businesses providing security services and vehicles used to collect and deliver the United States mail, vehicles used by law-enforcement personnel in the enforcement of laws governing motor vehicle parking, government-owned law-enforcement vehicles provided the lights are used for giving directional warning, and vehicles used to provide escort for funeral processions.

3. Approved type (SAE-W) amber flashing, blinking or alternating lights are permitted on vehicles used as pace cars, security vehicles, or firefighting vehicles by any speedway or motor vehicle race track.

4. An approved type (SAE-W) amber flashing, blinking or alternating light may be mounted on the rear of any vehicle used to transport petroleum products. The light must be wired through the reverse gear circuit and activate in conjunction with the back-up lights and audible alarm.

5. An approved type (SAE-W) green warning light is permitted on vehicles used by police, firefighting, or rescue personnel as command centers at the scene of incidents. Such lights shall not be activated while the vehicle is operating upon the highway.

6. Approved type (DOT or SAE-W) colored warning lights may be used by dealers or businesses engaged in the sale of fire, emergency medical services, or law-enforcement vehicles. They may, for demonstration purposes, equip such vehicles with colored warning lights.

I. Inspect for and reject if:

1. Auxiliary lamp is being used for a purpose other than for which it is manufactured or previously approved by the superintendent.

2. Auxiliary lamp does not have a clear lens.

3. Any reflector in such auxiliary lamp device is not clear.

EXCEPTIONS: An auxiliary lighting device that is both covered and unlit shall not be considered for inspection. An auxiliary lighting device that has a clear lens, has clear reflectors, and is unlit shall not be considered for inspection. Fog and driving lamps mounted below the level of the regular headlamps must be checked for aim as outlined in subdivisions I 12 h and 13 f of this section if not covered.

NOTE: The covers shall be a type that would be installed as original equipment and not tape, paper bags, aluminum foil or similar materials.

4. A vehicle has installed on it a warning lamp (DOT or SAE-W) that is not of an approved type or has been altered.

Reject if the vehicle has wire, unapproved lens or plastic covers, any other materials that are not original equipment or any colored material placed on or in front of any auxiliary lamps: backup, cornering, driving, fog, spot, or warning lamps.

5. Motor vehicles may be equipped with more than two fog or auxiliary lights; however, only two of these types of lights can be illuminated at any time. Reject a vehicle equipped with a headlamp mounted or used as an auxiliary lamp.

6. Vehicle is equipped with an auxiliary lamp that does not function properly. (If an auxiliary lamp has been modified by removing the wiring, bulb and socket, the unit will be considered an ornament and not a lamp and will not be considered in inspection.)

7. Vehicle is equipped with a lighted advertising sign, except commercial motor vehicles, buses operated as public carriers, taxicabs, and privately-owned passenger cars used for home delivery of commercially prepared food. Commercial motor vehicles, buses operated as public carriers, and taxicabs may be equipped with vacant and destination signs and one steady burning white light for the nighttime illumination of external advertising. Privately-owned passenger cars used for home delivery of commercially prepared food may be equipped with one steady burning white light for the nighttime illumination of a sign identifying the business delivering the food. Do not reject approved identification lights.

8. Any lamp is not of an approved type or if lamps to be burned together as a pair do not emit the same color light.

9. The lens has a piece broken from it. The lens may have one or more cracks provided an off-color light does not project through the crack. Taping or gluing cracks or pieces is not permitted.

10. Backup lamps are not required. However, if installed they must operate and be inspected.

Inspect for and reject if:

a. Required lamps are not of an approved type (DOT or SAE-R) or a lamp has been altered;

b. Wiring or electrical connections are defective or filaments do not burn;

c. The lens has a piece broken from it. The lens may have one or more cracks provided an off-color light does not project through the crack. Taping or gluing cracks or pieces is not permitted;

d. Lens is other than clear. LED (light-emitting diode) lights with a clear lens are acceptable if of an approved type. For those vehicles that are equipped with a multiple LED light (not filament-burning bulbs), they will pass inspection if more than 50% of the diode lights are burning;

e. Lamps are not wired into the reverse gear. Vehicles manufactured without backup lamps may be wired into an independent circuit.

11. Cornering lamps are not required. However, if installed they must operate and be inspected.

Inspect for and reject if:

a. Required lamps are not of an approved type (DOT or SAE-K) or a lamp has been altered;

b. Wiring or electrical connections are defective or filaments do not burn;

c. The lens has a piece broken from it. The lens may have one or more cracks provided an off-color light does not project through the crack. Taping or gluing cracks or pieces is not permitted;

d. The color of the light is other than clear or amber;

e. The lamps do not burn in conjunction with the turn signals.

12. Driving lamps are not required. However, if installed they must operate and be inspected.

Inspect for and reject if:

a. Driving lamps are installed on vehicles equipped with the four-headlamp system, except the "F" type headlamp system;

b. Driving lamps are not of an approved type or have been altered;

c. The color of the lamp is other than white;

d. The lens has a piece broken from it or is rotated away from its proper position. The lens may have one or more cracks provided an off-color light does not project through the crack. Taping or gluing cracks or pieces is not permitted;

e. Wiring or electrical connections are defective;

f. Any driving lamp is mounted above the level of the regular headlamps, or is not mounted firmly to prevent excessive vibration;

g. Driving lamps are not wired so that they will burn only when the high beams of the regular headlamps are activated;

h. Driving lamps are not aimed so that the center of the hot spot drops three inches in 25 feet so that the hot spot is directly ahead of the lamp.

NOTE: Driving lamps must be aimed using the optical headlight aimer. A tolerance of four inches in 25 feet is allowed in both the horizontal and the vertical adjustment.

13. Fog lamps are not required. However, if installed they must operate and be inspected.

Inspect for and reject if:

a. A vehicle may be equipped with more than two fog lamps; however, not more than two fog lamps can be illuminated at any time;

b. The lens is other than clear or amber. Fog lamps may have black-end bulbs or small metal caps over the end of the bulb;

c. The lens has a piece broken from it or is rotated away from its proper position. The lens may have one or more cracks provided an off-color light does not project through the crack. Taping or gluing cracks or pieces is not permitted;

d. Wiring or electrical connections are defective or filaments do not burn;

e. Any fog lamp is mounted above the level of the regular headlamps, or is not mounted firmly;

f. Lamps are not wired and aimed according to the following instructions:

(1) Fog lamps are general illumination lamps as covered in subsection A of this section. They must burn through the tail light circuit even if on a separate switch. If installed on a vehicle with a four-headlamp system, or a vehicle equipped with driving lamps, they must be wired into the low beam circuit.

(2) Fog lamps must be aimed so that the top edge of the high intensity zone is set at the horizontal centerline and the left edge of the high intensity zone is set at the vertical centerline. (Same as low beam headlights.)

NOTE: Fog lamps must be aimed using the optical headlight aimer. A tolerance of four inches in 25 feet is allowed in both the horizontal and the vertical adjustment.

14. Spot lamps are not required; however, if installed they must operate and be inspected.

Inspect for and reject if:

a. Vehicle is equipped with more than two spot lamps;

b. Lamps are not of an approved type (DOT or SAE-O) or a lamp has been altered;

c. The lens in any spot lamp is other than clear;

d. The lens has a piece broken from it or is rotated away from its proper position. The lens may have one or more cracks provided an off-color light does not project through the crack. Taping or gluing cracks or pieces is not permitted;

e. Wiring or electrical connections are defective or filaments do not burn.

15. Daytime running lamps (DRLs) are not required. However, if installed they must operate and be inspected. DRLs must be installed in pairs.

NOTE: DRLs may or may not be wired into the tail light circuit.

Inspect for and reject if:

a. Any lamp, except headlamps, used as DRLs if not an approved type (SAE-Y2) and is not marked "DRL";

b. Fog lamps or parking lamps are used as DRLs;

c. More than one pair of lamps is used and designated as DRLs;

d. A DRL is mounted higher than 34 inches measured to the center of the lamp;

e. The color is other than white to amber;

f. DRLs do not deactivate when the headlamps are in any "on" position.

Any DRL optically combined with a turn signal or hazard lamp must deactivate when the turn signal or hazard lamp is activated and then reactivate when the turn signal or hazard lamp deactivates.

Statutory Authority

§ 46.2-1165 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR545-01-07 § 16, eff. May 1, 1990; amended, Volume 10, Issue 08, eff. February 9, 1994; Volume 12, Issue 21, eff. August 7, 1996; Volume 15, Issue 02, eff. November 11, 1998; Volume 17, Issue 15, eff. May 9, 2001; Volume 21, Issue 04, eff. September 22, 2004; Volume 24, Issue 08, eff. March 1, 2008; Volume 28, Issue 24, eff. August 1, 2012; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. October 3, 2016; Volume 33, Issue 25, eff. September 8, 2017; Volume 35, Issue 01, eff. October 4, 2018.

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