Are LED Headlights Legal in Michigan?

Yes, bright LED headlights, also known as light-emitting diode headlights, are legal in Michigan with only a few exceptions. The state of Michigan has specific law regarding headlights while driving.

The law states that a vehicle’s headlights are required to emit only whit or yellow light and must be visible from 500 feet away. Given this definition, both traditional halogen bulbs and newer LED headlights are both legal.

Explaining The Concept of LED Headlights and Their Increasing Popularity

LED headlights have become increasing popular because of their efficient use of energy, long durability, and brighter illumination. This improved visibility is the overwhelming reason why you see so many vehicles on the road with them installed.

Michigan is known to have more days of in-climate weather than many other states and increased visibility is a huge pro of utilizing LED’s. Another pro is they have less heat output. This means they will prolong the life of both the bulb and the housing that the light is in.

The only real downsides of LED lights is that they are so bright, other drivers on the road can have difficulty seeing as they can be somewhat blinding and they are more expensive when replacing and more difficult to install.

Car Lighting Regulations in Michigan

The Michigan Motor Vehicle Code requires drivers to only have lights that are permitted. This means that any additional lights must be covered or turned off completely while driving. Some examples of lights that aren’t permitted under the code include:

  • Neon Lights including license plates
  • Colored license plate lights
  • Exterior neon lighting (neon underbody lighting)
  • Neon license plate frames lights
  • Interior neon lighting (interior after market lighting)
  • Flashing light, oscillating light, or rotating lights
  • Tire valve stem lights
  • Windshield wiper lights

What Are The Brightest Headlights Allowed By Law?

Bright LED headlights on white vehicleLaws regarding headlights are made at both the State and Federal level. Michigan does not have specific rules regarding brightness under the Michigan vehicle code, but the federal guidelines do have restrictions. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 states that the maximum amount of brightness allowed is 3,000 Lumens.

Car manufactures should meet these federal requirements. If you have stock vehicle headlights (amber light) which were not changed to aftermarket LED lights, they should be perfectly legal. The issue is when individual drivers purchase and install LED lights themselves which exceed this 3,000 Lumen limit. If you decide to purchase aftermarket lights, make sure they fall under this federal guideline.

Are Blue or Purple Headlights Legal?

No, they are not. Any other color besides white and yellow headlights are not legal in Michigan. Blue and purple high intensity discharge or Xenon lights are almost always illegal not only in Michigan, but federally as well. Simply put, colored headlights are illegal. Car manufacturers do not install this color lighting in vehicle so you should have nothing to worry about unless you purposely put in lights that aren’t white or yellow.

Do LED Headlights Cause Accidents?

LED headlights that are super bright can be dangerous to oncoming traffic. They can cause temporary vision loss for the other drivers on the road which is obviously a major road safety issue.

The traditional style of halogen lights are much less bright and they usually emit somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 lumens. The newer LED bulbs typically emit around 3,000 lumens which is nearly double or triple the brightness.

Given the fact that these LED headlights are a somewhat recent phenomenon and the fact that most bright led headlights legal, there really isn’t much data available about their safety and if they cause more accidents. There have been no studies about this topic either. Other factors are probably a larger contributing factor to accidents such as speeding and distracted driving, but I feel like it’s safe to say that the bright headlights will contribute to more vehicle accidents.

Accidents Caused by LED Headlights: Who is at Fault?

Fancy red vehicle with LED headlights installedIf you have driven at night recently, you will be familiar with how frustrating it can be when another driver on the road has excessively bright headlights or is driving with their high beams on. It can easily distract you the driver and cause you to lose sight of the road and crash. Unfortunately, it is exceedingly difficult to prove that the other driver was negligent in a court of law based on headlight brightness.

Because it is so difficult, it is recommend to contact a personal injury attorney who knows the different legal avenues and has handled complex cases like this. There are only really 2 ways that the other driver can be found negligent by causing a crash with their headlights.

The first reason is that the individual purchased and installed excessively and illegal headlights on their vehicle. The 2nd reason is that the other driver had the vehicle’s high beams activated during the time of the crash. As mentioned earlier, it is very difficult to prove that this is what caused the accident and not some other factor.

Even though it is difficult to prove negligence, it is not impossible. Michigan is a no-fault state so your no-fault benefits would still apply given the auto insurance you have purchases. In order to get pain and suffering or 3rd party benefits, you will have to prove that the other driver was at fault.

To do this, you will need an experienced car accident lawyer who is well versed in Michigan insurance law and knowledgeable about the current rules and regulations regarding LED headlights.

Other Rules For Michigan Headlights

Michigan also has additional rules regarding headlights, tail-lights, spotlights, and fog lights.

  • Headlights – 2 minimum (minimum height of 22 inches and maximum height of 54 inches)
  • Tail lights – 2 minimum (there is no minimum or maximum height)
  • Spot lights – 2 maximum (there is no minimum or maximum height)
  • Fog lights – 2 maximum (minimum height of 12 inches and maximum height of 30 inches)

Contact A Michigan Auto Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a car accident and feel that excessive brightness from led lights was a major contributing factor causing visual impairment, we can help. Proving that glare from LED is difficult and complicated. Our attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience that you need to ensure you receive your PIP benefits while also starting a separate negligence lawsuit against the at fault driver. Call us today at (517) 347-6900 for a free consultation.

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