Scenarios for the implementation of daytime running lights in the European Union

Study in the framework of a European Commission project, Work Package 4


Commandeur, Jacques; Mathijssen, René; Elvik (TØI), Rune; Janssen (TNO), Wiel; Kallberg (VTT), Veli-Pekka



This report is the last part of the documentation of a project funded by the European Commission, designed to assess the effects of Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and possible strategies for implementing the use of DRL in the European Union (EU). The general objective of the present report is to produce implementation scenarios for DRL in the EU, as well as further specific recommendations for implementation that would maximize the positive effects, while minimizing the negative effects. The report starts off by summarizing the results of previous work done in this project. First, the results of a meta-analysis of 41 evaluation studies of the effects of DRL on road safety are presented. The main conclusions of the meta-analysis are that, given the evidence provided by the evaluation studies, the use of DRL is associated with a reduction in multi-party daytime accidents, and that it is likely that DRL have a favourable effect on accidents involving pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Then, the results of an experimental study on the possible adverse effects of DRL on vulnerable road users are discussed. The conclusion from this study is that no evidence was found of a reduced conspicuity of vulnerable road users in the vicinity of a vehicle using DRL. Next, an overview of possible DRL implementation scenarios for the EU is presented, as well as of arguments against DRL, and of expected acceptance levels of these scenarios, based on a survey that was conducted in countries that already have DRL legislation, and in other countries of the EU. The main conclusions of this survey are that most of the opposition against DRL greatly subsided in countries after DRL legislation was implemented, and that most DRL countries used a gradual approach to the implementation of DRL. As concerns the results of the survey for non-DRL member states of the EU, it is concluded that the installation of automatic dedicated DRL on new cars should be made at least part of the DRL implementation scenarios to be developed for the EU. Finally, the results of a cost-benefit analysis of five policy options for the implementation of DRL in the EU are presented and discussed, and it is concluded that the policy option with the second best benefit-cost ratio is likely to yield the largest acceptance. This policy option consists of the mandatory use of dipped headlights as DRL for the current car stock, together with the installation of automatic dedicated DRL in accordance with ECE-87 regulations on new cars, both to be implemented at the same time from a certain date onwards, and preceded by a period of recommended DRL usage combined with a large-scale publicity campaign. Should the technical part of the implementation take too long, however, the report recommends to start imposing the use of dipped headlights as DRL as soon as possible, thus avoiding an unnecessary delay in the expected road safety benefits of DRL.

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SWOV, Leidschendam