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Too many, too bright lights on vehicles in traffic a growing concern, Colorado State Patrol says

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A state trooper says that Colorado law mandating how bright vehicle lights can be, and how many can be in use, is probably outdated for modern automobiles that have better technology and automatic features.

"The level of enforcement won't change until the law changes," said Sgt. Patrick Rice, of the Colorado State Patrol.

Several viewers have contacted KRDO 13's The Road Warrior about the frequency of drivers being blinded or distracted by other drivers improperly using fog lights, newer vehicles having brighter lights and automobiles that have multiple lights pointing toward traffic.

"Colorado statute says that an approaching vehicle from the other direction needs to dim its lights within 500 feet," Rice said. "In the 1970s or whenever the statute was written, that was probably appropriate. Now, most people within 500 feet, you're blinding oncoming traffic if you're not dimming. So, I think some of those things can kind of be changed to help.

"As far as fog lights go, there's a requirement that you can only have four white lights facing the front of your vehicle while you're in motion. So, you can have your fog lights and your headlights, or fog lights and some other kind of auxiliary light going at that moment. Typically, when fog lights are on, headlights are not on."

But Rice said that troopers are enforcing the law because they see violations often.

"I have seen that violation frequently where people have an entire light bar across the top of their cab," he said. "Another light bar down, low fog lights and headlights. Everything's on. That is a violation. And it's worthy of a stop, a contact and a citation, if appropriate."

Rice also commented on newer models of vehicles that have brighter lights, and even turn on high beams automatically if they sense no traffic nearby.

"Automatic headlights have kind of become an issue," he confessed. "It's there for the driver's convenience and to make driving safer for everybody. But, sometimes those automatic headlights are not as sensitive as the drivers coming the other way would like them to be. And lots of times, people don't even reach down and turn their headlights on anymore. We've gotten to the point where we're so accustomed to our cars turning our lights on and off for us, we'll see people driving down the interstate after dark without their lights on because they didn't know that they had to turn their lights on. They're used to the car doing it for them. And on that note, it's not uncommon for people to have daytime running lights -- which appear to be headlights, and they illuminate the roadway. But they turn on no tail lights."

Rice advises that drivers know the features on their vehicles and know how to use them.

"Think about how you would feel if you were the other driver being blinded by someone's lights that were too bright," he said.

The Road Warrior's report on this topic produced several comments from viewers Friday.

"I am a retired police office and have seen red and blue grill lights being used on some cars," one viewer wrote. "Colored lights used on cars are also illegal when viewed from front or rear. It sure is aggravating seeing the light violations."


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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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