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The Legality of LED Light Bars

Date:2021-11-16  Source:OGA
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We get asked all the time: hey, are LED light bars legal? And almost across the board, it is legal to mount an LED light bar or other lights, but there are certain regulations about when you can use it, and some other guidelines that go along with that. This topic is one of those that are super hard to answer with a lot of details, just because it depends on the certain regulations of the state that you live in. So, for that, we're going to start with some of the "don'ts" and then some of the "do's", pertaining to their legality of LED light bars and auxiliary LED lights.
 
DOT approved Lights

The "Don'ts": Don't Blind Others


We have all seen that guy driving down the road with his light bars going full freaking blaze, damaging to your retina, resulting in temporary blindness, making you unable to judge the specific location of the oncoming cars. Personal self-advice, don't be that guy, no matter what. If you're on the roads, and you have people coming at you, make sure that you're not causing an unsafe situation where you're blinding the driver of another vehicle barreling towards you, it's for both of your safety and for their safety. Even if you're off-road and you have another Jeep, side by side truck, whatever it is coming at you, it's pretty much common courtesy to make sure that you turn all of your super bright lights off, for at least a few seconds while they pass. In general, in most states, it is illegal to have none street-legal lights turned on when you're on the public roadway system, like your LED light bar. However, unfortunately, some states don't explicitly state this in their regulations, so it's up to all of us in the off-road community to set the standard for this. And because each state has its own regulations about general auxiliary lights and LED light bars, it's up to you to know your state's regulations and abide by them. So, for the "don'ts", it's really simple, just don't be that guy.
 
high-intensity automotive work light

Don't Overdo It


Other rules about SAE and ECE lights have to do with how many there are, and where they're mounted. Some states have rules about the number of auxiliary lights that you can have on your vehicle that are forward-facing, regardless of whether or not they are street-legal or off-road use only. 
 
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The "Do's": Use Street-legal Light with High Beam


Onto the set of things that are generally okay. Let's suppose that you just went out and you bought yourself a brand-new shiny pair of SAE street-legal lights, just like our 3012 series LED work lights in the auxiliary driving beam pattern. Now, just as a quick aside, if you guys are interested in learning more about these products, click here so you can learn more about those lights. Now these SAE street-legal lights are legal to use on the roadway, but with some conditions attached to that. So, for an auxiliary driving beam light that's SAE street legal, you're going to want to use those in conjunction with your high beams, so this means that as you're driving on the highway at night, there's nobody coming at you, you're free to have those auxiliary lights turned on, but the moment that you have somebody coming towards you, you're going to want to flip those auxiliary lights off, and go back to your low beams, just like you normally would.
 
led driving lights for trucks

The "Do's": Use Fog Lights with Low Beams


Now on the flip side of that, you have fog beams, a true SAE street-legal auxiliary fog beam is actually meant to be used in conjunction with your low beams.
 
led fog lights for trucks

Mount SAE Driving Beam Light Below Headlight


Many states also have rules about the mounting heights of street-legal lights, specifically driving beam lights. For example, you have a nice set of auxiliary driving beam SAE street-legal lights, and you want to mount them above your roof, or you want to mount them on your A-pillars, that's not going to be okay to use on the public roadway system. A good general rule of thumb is that these auxiliary driving beam lights have to be mounted inline with or below your headlights. So generally, just stick with mounting those auxiliary driving beam lights right below your headlights, and you're going to be okay.
 
led light mounting brackets

Keep Off-road Only Light Covered


So now, on to the legality of off-road use only lights, not all states are going to require this, but there are certainly some states out there that require you to have this off-road use only lights completely covered up and completely blacked out. California for example is one of those states, like we mentioned, not all states are going to require this, it depends on the state that you live in.
 
off road led light bar wholesale

Wrapping It Up


So, when it comes to the question of 'are LED light bars legal', it's up to you to know your state's regulations. Now in general, just don't be that guy, stick with the basics, don't be the person that's blinding oncoming traffic, and that's going to go a long way for you. 
 
If anyone has any other questions about auxiliary or off-road lights, please feel free to send us an inquiry at any time. We're doing our best to do more articles focusing on some of the most frequently asked questions that we get, so we're happy to cover any topics that you guys want us to cover. Feel free to check out some more of our articles, thank you all so much for reading, we hope everybody's staying happy, healthy and safe.


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