Are LED headlights legal in Australia?

We’ve done a lot of research on LED headlights and their legality in Australia, looking into guidelines from CarExpert and CarsGuide. Here’s what we’ve found:

While LED headlights are legal in Australia, they must comply with the Australian Design Rules (ADRs). These rules set guidelines regarding colour, intensity, electrical connections, and positioning to ensure road safety for both the driver and other road users.

Key points to consider when upgrading to LED headlights in Australia

Installation and design requirements

LED headlights must be installed to avoid creating protrusions that could injure someone. They should not obstruct the driver’s field of vision and must be fitted symmetrically based on the vehicle’s centre line, at the same height, and emit light of the same intensity and colour. Electrical connections must be protected and regularly inspected.

Colour regulations

The legally acceptable colours for headlights in Australia are white or yellow. Blue, purple, and red coloured headlights are strictly prohibited for use on personal vehicles, as they can dazzle other drivers and potentially cause accidents.

Brightness limits

The Australian Design Rules regulate the brightness of headlights. The maximum allowable intensity for low-beam headlights is 12,000 candela per square meter, while high-beam headlights are allowed a maximum intensity of 30,000 candela per square meter.

Legal compliance for aftermarket LED lights

For aftermarket LED lamps or replacement LED globes, it is essential that they bear a statement on their packaging indicating suitability for road use and compliance with relevant ADR requirements. This is crucial for ensuring that the lights meet safety standards.

State-specific regulations

Regulations can vary between states. For instance, in New South Wales, retrofitted LED globes are permitted as long as they are designed as a direct replacement for the original globe and maintain compliance of the lamp with relevant standards. In Queensland, you can fit a maximum of four additional forward-facing lamps to your vehicle, and the fitting must be done in a way that avoids dangerous protrusions for pedestrian safety.

Risks of non-compliance

Using LED lighting that hasn’t been ADR-approved can result in fines, defect notices, and potentially the requirement to remove the lighting and replace it with OE-spec ADR-compliant equipment.

Manufacturer’s responsibility

Manufacturers of LED upgrade kits often state that their products are not legal for road use, implying that consumers should be aware of the legal implications of using such products on public roads.

While upgrading to LED headlights can significantly improve visibility and the driving experience, it is crucial to ensure that the products used are compliant with Australian regulations to avoid legal issues and ensure road safety. For detailed information about specific regulations in your state or territory, it’s advisable to consult the relevant roads authority.