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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 19. Public Safety
Agency 30. Department of State Police
Chapter 70. Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Regulations
5/24/2024

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).

NOTE: Any light or lighting device not defined or otherwise authorized in 19VAC30-70-140 through 19VAC30-70-200 that is installed on a vehicle shall not be considered for inspection as long as it remains unlit during the inspection and is not wired to activate with any required lighting system in this chapter.

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 that 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. No more than four lamps, including two headlamps, may be lighted at any time to provide general illumination ahead of the vehicle. An approved headlamp assembly that contains bulbs for both high and low beams within the same housing shall be considered one headlamp.

D. Inspectors shall rely on Article 3 (§ 46.2-1010 et seq.) of Chapter 10 of Title 46.2 of the Code of Virginia to determine if a vehicle should be allowed to have such lighting (such as emergency vehicles or dealer demo vehicles).

E. 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 as defined in subsection A of this section.

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.

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

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.)

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 (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.

f. Any backup lamps do not emit white light.

9. 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 (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 and lens is other than clear or amber;

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

10. 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 or the lens is not 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;

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.

11. 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 or light 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.

12. 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 (SAE-O) or a lamp has been altered;

c. The lens in any spot lamp is other than clear or light is not 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 or filaments do not burn.

13. 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; or

e. The color is other than white to amber.

NOTE: 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, Virginia Register Volume 10, Issue 8, eff. February 9, 1994; Volume 12, Issue 21, eff. August 7, 1996; Volume 15, Issue 2, eff. November 11, 1998; Volume 17, Issue 15, eff. May 9, 2001; Volume 21, Issue 4, eff. September 22, 2004; Volume 24, Issue 8, 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 1, eff. October 4, 2018; Volume 35, Issue 25, eff. September 1, 2019; Volume 36, Issue 25, eff. September 4, 2020; Volume 40, Issue 10, eff. February 1, 2024.

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