Dubai: Installing after-market xenon headlights in cars is a federal traffic offence and could attract a fine of Dh200, officials said.
Though readily available in the market and a common sight on UAE roads, according to traffic authorities, the after-market xenon lights are illegal and fall under Article No 95 of the Federal Traffic Act.
Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, director of Dubai Traffic Police, said that it is illegal to install after-market xenon lights on cars.
“The stock xenon light that come fitted on the vehicles are fine as they follow quality standards and regulations, but the after-market ones do not,” he said.
He added that the after-market lights can be very bright and distracting to others on the road, which is considered a modification to the vehicle and warrants a fine. He said that police officers can tell the two kinds apart.
Interestingly, Article No 95 of the Federal Traffic Law only prohibits use of multi-coloured lights. However, a Sharjah Police official said that changing the colour of the headlight (after-market xenon headlamp emits bright white light) falls under this category and warrants a fine of Dh200.
He added that in case of strong lighting that affects the eye or dim lighting that is not suitable for driving, motorists will be fined Dh200, while six black points will be handed to the motorist, according to Article No 130 of the Federal Traffic Law.
But several motorists who were recently penalised for using after-market xenon headlights seemed unimpressed.
“I think the law clearly specifies multi-coloured light and the xenon lights don’t fall under this category. The explanation is not clear either. I was recently fined by Sharjah Police and when I asked the officer to explain the difference between legal and illegal light, he couldn’t,” said Mohammad Jaffer, a resident of Dubai.
Another motorist said that there are several types of after-market xenon lights with varying levels of brightness, suggesting that there should be a legal limit.
To understand the difference between the after-market units and the agency-installed xenon lights, Gulf News spoke with an engineer.
“Manufacturers employ a self-levelling system to prevent the lights dazzling the oncoming traffic, the after-market units don’t have this so this is maybe why the police are banning the use of after-market units,” said Gordon Ferguson, general manager of AAA Service Centre.
He added that the after-market units might also have higher watt bulbs compared to the original units.
Though the after-market xenon lights are illegal, there is no issue with passing the vehicle as long as the lights work.
“There is no rule specifying t zenon lights, but most modern cars manufacturers have it these days. Our role as vehicles inspection department is to check the functionality of the head lights. It is not within our jurisdiction to approve or disapprove after-market parts including Xenon lights as when a vehicle comes in for testing we look at the road-worthiness and functionality of the vehicle,” said Sultan Al Marzouqi, director of Vehicles Licensing at the Roads and Transport Authority.