Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Question for Oral Answer: 11 April 2007

I drive a sedan. It's always bugged me tremendously when I have a SUV behind me at night, shining its headlights right smack into my mirrors. I get angry when their lights are, for some reason, on high-beam. And you can't imagine (or maybe you can, if this has happened to you) how furious I am, when that SUV happens to have high density aka high intensity discharge lights installed.

They might make sense in rural countries, but in an urban environment like Singapore where there are roadlights everywhere, it just Does Not Make Sense.

And there seems to be some inconsistency between permitting SUVs with their headlights that shine right into the mirrors of the car in front to have HID lights to boot, and prohibiting foglamps from being used in clear weather. I have much, much less of an issue with foglamps. They're bright, but they're not shining right into my eyes.

So, I filed a question to ask why they are permitted. The answer was basically that they met the "relevant safety requirements". Perhaps those requirements are a little lacking. In any case, I was glad to hear that LTA are looking into requiring SUVs to have an automatic levelling feature installed. I only wish that it will happen faster, and will be applied retrospectively (unlikely though).

I will admit it was a little trivial and perhaps even frivolous. But I think the driving population (less SUV drivers, anyway) will understand.


Mr Siew Kum Hong asked the Minister for Transport what is the rationale for permitting high density lights to be installed on vehicles, especially sports utility vehicles, considering that use of fog lights is illegal except in low-visibility conditions.

The Minister of State for Transport (Mrs Lim Hwee Hua) (for the Minister for Transport): Mr Speaker, Sir, Mr Siew Kum Hong is concerned about the safety implications of the high intensity discharge or HID headlamps installed on vehicles, especially sports utility vehicles (SUVs). The use of HID headlamps is a technological trend in the automotive industry. HID headlamps are more efficient in terms of energy consumption and can improve visibility for drivers, as compared with halogen lamps. As HID headlamps have met the relevant safety standards, LTA has allowed them to be fitted on vehicles registered here.

To reduce the glare caused by HID headlamps, some vehicle manufacturers have incorporated an automatic altering or levelling feature, which automatically adjusts the headlamp angle and direction according to the road and driving conditions so to minimise glare. This feature is currently not mandated. However, as SUVs are usually constructed with higher ground clearance and, hence, have a higher headlamp position, the LTA is currently looking into requiring SUVs fitted with HID headlamps to incorporate features such as the automatic levelling feature as a condition for such vehicles to be registered for use.

Mr Siew Kum Hong: Sir, I would like to ask for clarification on what are the safety considerations that have been cleared for these HID lamps.

Mrs Lim Hwee Hua: Sir, the LTA requires all designs of vehicle lights to comply with the Road Traffic (Motor Vehicles Lighting) Rules, and they must bear approved markings to show that they comply with internationally recognised standards, such as those adopted in the European Union countries, Japan and the United States. The lights must also conform to the stipulated illuminated colour and intensity. For example, headlamps must show a white light, red light must show a red light. For headlamps, the LTA requires every unit fitted on a vehicle to be capable of casting a white light to the front of the vehicle. The intensity and alignment of the headlamp must also be within the specified limits.


Salary said...

Recall the Tampines void deck playground fire that was started by some kids that blacken the block? The playground also met "relevant safety requirements" but they were going to do some improvement on that. Steve Chia raised that question in Parliament.

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