Lights on a vehicle primarily are for illumination and recognition. They’re designed to help, not hinder.
But how and when you use them is just as important as having them.
I drive a Mazda Miata which sits pretty close to the ground. Having someone driving behind me on clear nights with fog lamps on is just like having them use their high beams. The law plainly prohibits the use of fog lamps except under (certain) conditions. Title 47 O.S. § 12-217(D) provides:
D. 1. A motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two front fog lamps or two rear fog lamps which shall only be used when visibility, as described in paragraphs 3 and 4 of subsection A of this section, is limited to one-half (1/2) mile or less.
(all emphasis added). The reference to “paragraphs 3 and 4 of subsection A” leads us to the following language:
A. As used in this article:
3. “Front fog lamp” means a lamp mounted to provide illumination to the front of a motor vehicle during conditions of rain, snow, fog, dust, or other atmospheric disturbances;
4. “Rear fog lamp” means a lamp mounted to provide illumination to the rear of a motor vehicle during conditions of rain, snow, fog, dust, or other atmospheric disturbances[.] (emphasis added).
Why are people permitted to unlawfully use fog lamps with apparent impunity? I see so many drivers unlawfully using fog lamps on clear nights that it does not seem anyone is being stopped for this abuse. What is OCPD’s policy regarding enforcement of this statute? What is OHP’s policy on enforcement of this law? Will you please remind your readers about this law?
Even in a larger vehicle, Charles, you aren’t always out of the line of glare when certain lighting is used, often incorrectly.
It could be that such lights were added and mounted improperly. Maybe they are just in need of adjustment. It’s possible the driver for whatever reason doesn’t know they’re on. Some drivers use them when the slightest weather change occurs. And then again, it just might be that the driver wants to use them, even though conditions don’t meet the criteria listed above.
Any of these situations can cause problems, but on a night such as you describe, that can be dangerous, as well as annoying.
Information about how and when to use fog lamps is readily available, from the owner’s manual that comes with the vehicle to the instructions with each lighting kit.
Several states have specific rules and regulations on when these lights can be used. Always check your state and local restrictions.
As for law enforcement policies, they generally follow state law. Improper equipment is more likely to get you in trouble. Improper use generally must be witnessed.
By the way...
Do you have ideas about where Oklahoma should go with transportation in the future? Have you ever thought of something that would improve roadways, safety, or other related areas? Well, here’s your chance. Three chances, actually.
State Transportation Department officials want public input as they prepare the state’s Long Range Transportation Plan for 2015-40. To that end, department staff members will lead three public meetings in June where you can give your comments and suggestions.
These are opportunities to meet engineers, planners and others who can update you with information on proposed plans, existing conditions and possibilities. Meetings will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on these dates and at these locations:
•June 10: Muskogee Civic Center, 425 Boston
•June 11: Moore Public Library, 225 S Howard Ave.
•June 12: Frisco Center, 101 S Fourth, Clinton
If you can’t attend, or if you have more to offer, you can mail comments to: ODOT Long Range Transportation Plan, 200 NE 21, Oklahoma City 73105, or go online to www.oklongrangeplan.org.
Information from the meetings also will be made available on the website for viewing.