Code Section Group

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 12. EQUIPMENT OF VEHICLES [24000 - 28160]

  ( Division 12 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

CHAPTER 2. Lighting Equipment [24250 - 26106]

  ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

ARTICLE 2. Headlamps and Auxiliary Lamps [24400 - 24411]
  ( Article 2 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

24400.
  

(a) A motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall

be equipped with at least two headlamps, with at least one on each side of the front of the vehicle, and, except as to vehicles registered prior to January 1, 1930, they shall be located directly above or in advance of the front axle of the vehicle. The headlamps and every light source in any headlamp unit shall be located at a height of not more than 54 inches nor less than 22 inches.

(b) A motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall be operated during darkness, or inclement weather, or both, with at least two lighted headlamps that comply with subdivision (a).

(c) As used in subdivision (b), “inclement weather” is a weather condition that is either of the following:

(1) A condition that prevents a driver of a motor vehicle from clearly discerning a person or another motor vehicle on the highway from a distance of 1,000 feet.

(2) A condition requiring the windshield wipers to be in continuous use due to rain, mist, snow, fog, or other precipitation or atmospheric moisture.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 491, Sec. 43. (SB 1318) Effective January 1, 2011.)

24401.
  

Whenever any motor vehicle is parked or standing upon a highway any headlamp that is lighted shall be dimmed or on the lower beam.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

24402.
  

(a) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two auxiliary driving lamps mounted on the front at a height of not less than 16 inches nor more than 42 inches. Driving lamps are lamps designed for supplementing the upper beam from headlamps and may not be lighted with the lower beam.

(b) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two auxiliary passing lamps mounted on the front at a height of not less than 24 inches nor more than 42 inches. Passing lamps are lamps designed for supplementing the lower beam from headlamps and may also be lighted with the upper beam.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

24403.
  

(a) A motor vehicle may be equipped with not more than two foglamps that may be used with, but may not be used in substitution of, headlamps.

(b) On a motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, the foglamps authorized under this section shall be mounted on the front at a height of not less than 12 inches nor more than 30 inches and aimed so that when the vehicle is not loaded none of the high-intensity portion of the light to the left of the center of the vehicle projects higher than a level of four inches below the level of the center of the lamp from which it comes, for a distance of 25 feet in front of the vehicle.

(c) On a motorcycle, the foglamps authorized under this section shall be mounted on the front at a height of not less than 12 inches nor more than 40 inches and aimed so that when the vehicle is not loaded none of the high-intensity portion of the light to the left of the center of the vehicle projects higher than a level of four inches below the level of the center of the lamp from which it comes, for a distance of 25 feet in front of the vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 451, Sec. 20. Effective January 1, 2004.)

24404.
  

(a) A motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two white spotlamps, which shall not be used in substitution of headlamps.

(b) No spotlamp shall be equipped with any lamp source exceeding 32 standard candlepower or 30 watts nor project any glaring light into the eyes of an approaching driver.

(c) Every spotlamp shall be so directed when in use: That no portion of the main substantially parallel beam of light will strike the roadway to the left of the prolongation of the left side line of the vehicle.

That the top of the beam will not strike the roadway at a distance in excess of 300 feet from the vehicle.

(d) This section does not apply to spotlamps on authorized emergency vehicles.

(e) No spotlamp when in use shall be directed so as to illuminate any other moving vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 1967, Ch. 544.)

24405.
  

(a) Not more than four lamps of the following types showing to the front of a vehicle may be lighted at any one time:

(1) Headlamps.

(2) Auxiliary driving or passing lamps.

(3) Fog lamps.

(4) Warning lamps.

(5) Spot lamps.

(6) Gaseous discharge lamps specified in Section 25258.

(b) For the purpose of this section each pair of a dual headlamp system shall be considered as one lamp.

(c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to any authorized emergency vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 234.)

24406.
  

Except as otherwise provided, the headlamps, or other auxiliary driving lamps, or a combination thereof, on a motor vehicle during darkness shall be so arranged that the driver may select at will between distributions of light projected to different elevations, and the lamps may, in addition, be so arranged that the selection can be made automatically.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

24407.
  

Multiple-beam road lighting equipment shall be designed and aimed as follows:

(a) There shall be an uppermost distribution of light, or composite beam, so aimed and of such intensity as to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 350 feet ahead for all conditions of loading.

(b) There shall be a lowermost distribution of light, or composite beam so aimed and of sufficient intensity to reveal a person or vehicle at a distance of at least 100 feet ahead. On a straight level road under any condition of loading none of the high intensity portion of the beam shall be directed to strike the eyes of an approaching driver.

(Amended by Stats. 1963, Ch. 547.)

24408.
  

(a) Every new motor vehicle registered in this state after January 1, 1940, which has multiple-beam road lighting equipment shall be equipped with a beam indicator, which shall be lighted whenever the uppermost distribution of light from the headlamps is in use, and shall not otherwise be lighted.

(b) The indicator shall be so designed and located that when lighted it will be readily visible without glare to the driver of the vehicle so equipped. Any such lamp on the exterior of the vehicle shall have a light source not exceeding two candlepower, and the light shall not show to the front or sides of the vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 1970, Ch. 422.)

24409.
  

Whenever a motor vehicle is being operated during darkness, the driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, directed high enough and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to the following requirements and limitations:

(a) Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, he shall use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver.

The lowermost distribution of light specified in this article shall be deemed to avoid glare at all times regardless of road contour.

(b) Whenever the driver of a vehicle follows another vehicle within 300 feet to the rear, he shall use the lowermost distribution of light specified in this article.

(Amended by Stats. 1965, Ch. 37.)

24410.
  

Headlamps arranged to provide a single distribution of light not supplemented by auxiliary driving lamps are permitted on motor vehicles manufactured and sold prior to September 19, 1940, in lieu of multiple-beam road lighting equipment if the single distribution of light complies with the following requirements and limitations:

(a) The headlamps shall be so aimed that when the vehicle is not loaded none of the high-intensity portion of the light shall at a distance of 25 feet ahead project higher than a level of five inches below the level of the center of the lamp from which it comes, and in no case higher than 42 inches above the level on which the vehicle stands at a distance of 75 feet ahead.

(b) The intensity shall be sufficient to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 200 feet.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

24411.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a vehicle may be equipped with not more than eight lamps for use as headlamps while the vehicle is operated or driven off the highway. The lamps shall be mounted at a height of not less than 16 inches from the ground, or more than 12 inches above the top of the passenger compartment, at any place between the front of the vehicle and a line lying on a point 40 inches to the rear of the seat occupied by the driver, shall be wired independently of all other lighting circuits, and, whenever the vehicle is operated or driven upon a highway, shall be covered or hooded with an opaque hood or cover, and turned off.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 149, Sec. 1.)

VEHVehicle Code - VEH2.