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Old 28th April 2012, 12:51   #1
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Default Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

Last night I was returning home from a friend's event at 2:30am. There was a naakabandi on the eastbound side of Andheri flyover. They had my car pulled to the side, spoke very rudely to my driver, and told him to come out and pay the fine for "white headlights".

This was not a traffic naakabandi. It was just a bunch of regular police constables with a van. No one above the rank of havaaldaar.

I got down and tried to understand what exactly was the offence that was committed. The guy who was sitting with the challan book told me that I am using headlamps "that didnt come with the car". I told him it was a 10 year old car, and it would be a bit optimistic to expect that the same lamps would have lasted so long. And that, Yes I have changed the lamps with Philips bulbs that are officially available in the market. And that if they were illegal, how are they allowed to be sold? For all this his reply was, "They are white. Hence they are not allowed. We are doing what our superiors have instructed us to do."

They then asked me to pay Rs. 210/-. I did so, and they issued me a receipt for Rs. 200/- however. I did not notice this till I had left. The receipt says that they have taken the fine on account of "LAC 3053/12".

While leaving from there, I whole-heartedly congratulated the whole bunch of cops for the remarkable job and service to the nation that they were doing at 2:30 am!

So, I was wondering:

Am I wrong in using white replacement headlight bulbs?

How is something like "headlight color" the business of non-traffic cops?

Even traffic constables cannot collect any money from an erring motorist in the event of a traffic offence, unless there is an officer. Can the regular cops do this?
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Old 28th April 2012, 12:59   #2
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

My Innova had got stopped once for this, we had a Philips HID kit installed. My driver called me and made me speak to the cop. He said that these bright white lights are illegal, so I said what about the Mercs, BMWs that come with them? He said they're legal only if they come with the car. The cop said apparently there was some court order etc, but I said the lights are 35w, the stock lights are 55w, so there is no way he can catch me for that. He let my driver go after another 2-3 mins of arguing.

I still don't think the law says HIDs or white lights without projectors are illegal, so technically you shouldn't have paid any fine, even more so since you only have Philips bulbs and not HIDs.
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Old 28th April 2012, 13:08   #3
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

The law isn't written specifically against white lights or HID ( it is in Europe/US where HID lamps mist be used only with approved optical assembly , not plug and play replacement in headlamps designed for incandescent bulbs ). What the law states is modifications to headlamp in terms of output power and beam pattern , so over 60W and lights that cause glare are out of legal bounds. The question is how does the cop verify this ?

Any aftermarket bulb that gives white light but stays within 60W , is thereby legal. The glare component is verified by beam throw but that needs a proper test/measurement to detect stray light.

EDIT: not sure if MV act was amended in last few years for inclusion of light source types like HID/LED , since the original was based on the only known light sources then , incandescent bulbs.

Last edited by Ricci : 28th April 2012 at 13:10.
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Old 28th April 2012, 13:38   #4
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

I believe cops are known to pull aside cars emitting blue or white light regularly especially in town limits.

This is because most of these are done un-professionally and all they do is blind the oncoming traffic. I for one would not mind the cops asking for fines because night time driving is such a pain.

But yes its quite a different matter when it comes to gentlemanly drivers who dim their lights. But are not they an endangered species?
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Old 28th April 2012, 13:43   #5
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

I checked the MVA and there is nothing mentioned about use of non-OE headlights.

Check out the thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...icles-act.html (Let's know the law (Motor Vehicles Act))

This two year old news relating to this topic throws a lot of light on the "absence of laws". Xenon, halogen headlights cause of worry - Indian Express

If there isn't a law, then why do all car makers invariably give us 55W headlights instead of 100W?
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Old 28th April 2012, 15:06   #6
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

more then what the cops charge you - have you ever been on the recieving end of white lights? They burn eyes only lesser than the purple lights. Yellow lights are comparatively less hurting than white or purple.

ofc, OEM projector lights are well focussed but white is still a more painful color.
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Old 28th April 2012, 15:16   #7
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bass&Trouble View Post
Even traffic constables cannot collect any money from an erring motorist in the event of a traffic offence, unless there is an officer. Can the regular cops do this?
A constable cannot fine you. A Head Constable cannot fine you in excess of Rs 100/-. A penalty which invites a fine in excess of Rs 100/- has to be issued by an officer of the rank of ASI.
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Old 28th April 2012, 15:21   #8
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

White lights are illegal!

As per CMVR, each and every component of a motor vehicle has some specification under IS:XXXXX statutes. As per rule no. 138 of CMVR 1989, a vehicle cannot have halogen lamps greater than 70/75 W in a 24V system or 60/65 W in a 12V system.

The design parameters of headlamps are guided and restricted by AIS-008/2001 for lighting and light signalling devices for motor vehicles having more than 3 wheels.

And as regards to the commercial availability of the higher wattage lights, please note that they are illegal here as well apart from being in Europe which is clearly written on them.

Cheers
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Old 28th April 2012, 19:14   #9
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

The lights may not be tampered with. Whether replacing the bulb with a similar bulb of the same rating can be debated. I think it is not. Remember the 90/100W bulbs are also illegal.

With HIDs without projectors they are legal only for low beam. The Altis has this, but I hear the reflector pattern is somewhat different in this case.

My own viewis that 4300K HIDs may pass muster, provided the lamp are adjusted after installation - I mean in practical terms and not legal.

My suggestion is to put HIDs in fogs. They are not that restricted. I may say use 2700k or at most 4300K.
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Old 28th April 2012, 19:22   #10
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

the other challenge with ebay 4300K HIDs is that they end up burning some reflectors.

/as per a couple of pulsar owners in Delhi. of course, YMMV - but just be careful. HL units cost a bomb. and a half.
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Old 28th April 2012, 19:53   #11
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

B&T,

The cops probably can't differentiate between 55w and 130w HALOGEN("peela") lamps ; they only know that "white" light is not ok while "yellow" is ok.

As far as I know , the CMRV only mentions the max. wattage and not the colour temperature(Kelvin) ; but the cops wouldn't buy all this.

Thank God they let you off for 210.
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Old 28th April 2012, 20:31   #12
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
White lights are illegal!
All higher wattage bulbs are not white. HIDs are 35w only, so how can they be illegal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
My suggestion is to put HIDs in fogs. They are not that restricted. I may say use 2700k or at most 4300K.
Infact in fogs the light scatters much more and blinds more too.
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Old 29th April 2012, 11:18   #13
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

White lights in most cars are well above 55/60 which is the legal wattage, and which is what comes OE in most cars. This is why you were stopped.

I see no reason why they should fine you, if your upgrade stays below 55/60.

P.S: Yellow lights have more visibility in situations where light scatters. So, if not for HID's I'd advise to use yellow lights only.

P.P.S:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bass&Trouble View Post
And that, Yes I have changed the lamps with Philips bulbs that are officially available in the market. And that if they were illegal, how are they allowed to be sold?
They are not sold for street use. You can check the pack, which comes with it. It is specifically written that its illegal.

Last edited by dhanushs : 29th April 2012 at 11:23.
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Old 29th April 2012, 11:32   #14
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
P.S: Yellow lights have more visibility in situations where light scatters. So, if not for HID's I'd advise to use yellow lights only.
I agree. When I bought my used Forester, It had the higher wattage white light upgraded by the previous owner. Since it started tripping, I replaced it back with the stock (normal) light. What i found was, even though the white light appears brighter, it doesn't help you see the details, texture etc like in a normal yellow light. White also affects the other motorists as it creates a haze.
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Old 29th April 2012, 11:46   #15
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Default Re: Are headlights that emit white light illegal?

Logically, white lights shouldnt be illegal, since ARAI-certified higher-end cars come factory fitted with HIDs. However, as are many aspects unique to this country, there will be a delta in interpretation of rules amongst various police organizations - some which could be expected to deem white lights as illegal.

In hindsight, this enforcement seems to be a relic from the earlier days of mandatory shading of headlights for reducing oncoming glare.

That said, not once during my 5 years of having a bi-xenon HID kit in my car was I ever pulled over for "white/dazzling headlights".
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