All new cars and small vans manufactured in Europe are now being fitted with automatic daytime lights, so-called daytime running lights in a new bid to raise road safety.
Already in effect from February 7, all new cars and light vans are being fitted with the DRLs that automatically switch on when the engine starts.
The European Commission is backing the move. Industry commissioner Antonio Tajani says the initiative will reduce casualties and contribute to environmental protection "as the lower energy consumption rates will reduce CO2 emissions compared to normal lights."
The commission says road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, detected vehicles using DRL more clearly and quickly than those equipped with dipped beam headlights.
The technology used links the daylights to the engine. As soon as the engine is turned on, the lights come on as well.
In addition, they have a lower energy consumption rate compared with existing dipped-beam head lights (roughly 25 to 30 per cent of the consumption of a standard driving light ).
"Daytime running lights will make an important contribution to our goal of reducing casualties on European roads," Tajani says.
The implementation of the new regulation will be followed in August 2012 by the adoption of a similar regulation for buses and trucks.
By implementing the new regulations, the European Union hopes to bring down the casualty numbers on its roads.
The Road Safety Authority backs their use, saying DRLs makes motor vehicles more noticeable.
The RSA says research shows DRLs reduce the likelihood of multi-party daytime collisions, therefore helping to save lives, prevent serious injuries, and reduce the societal and economic cost of collisions.