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Traffic Tips: Sometimes, lights needed during daytime

Feb. 13, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 12, 2011 at 8:13 p.m.


BY SGT. JULIAN HUERTA

This week's traffic law is found in The Texas Transportation Code, section 547.302

DUTY TO DISPLAY LIGHTS.

(a) A vehicle shall display each lighted lamp and illuminating device required by this chapter to be on the vehicle:

(1) At nighttime; and

(2) When light is insufficient or atmospheric conditions are unfavorable so that a person or vehicle on the highway is not clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead.

(b) A signaling device, including a stop lamp or a turn signal lamp, shall be lighted as prescribed by this chapter.

(c) At least one lighted lamp shall be displayed on each side of the front of a motor vehicle.

(d) Not more than four of the following may be lighted at one time on the front of a motor vehicle:

(1) a headlamp required by this chapter; or

(2) a lamp, including an auxiliary lamp or spotlamp, that projects a beam with an intensity brighter than 300 candlepower.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Why the emphasis on this particular traffic law?

In my experience, a lot of times, people don't get past the "nighttime" aspect of the law with regards to the headlights being on. But there's more to the story. As you can see by reading the entire law, you're even required to use your headlamps during broad daylight hours, if the conditions merit you doing so.

Some examples of when the conditions require you to do so would be: dense fog, dense smoke from a grass fire, a dust storm or heavy rain. Basically, anytime visibility at a distance of 1,000 feet (the length of about three football fields) is questionable, and most importantly, where safety is an issue; the headlights should be on.

Is this really a legal or valid reason to be stopped?

As defined by the Texas transportation code, you can see, the officer would be within his authority to affect a stop and take whatever enforcement action that particular officer deems appropriate. Remember, traffic enforcement is about correcting driving errors through issuing of warnings and citations as a means of education to help assure a safe driving environment for everyone.

If you have a traffic law question, contact Sgt. Julian Huerta, Victoria Po lice Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.

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