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6 may 2022

LED and Law - part 1: legislation - regulation - standards

MobiLED occasionally receives questions about the legally permissible application of LED lighting on vehicles. We have summarised this for you in the blog series LED and Law.

This blog is about the Dutch Road Traffic Act, Vehicle Regulations, the MOT manual and European certification. We can be brief and long about the laws and regulations for vehicle lighting.


In a nutshell...

-The 1994 Road Traffic Act is the basis for all requirements that are imposed on vehicles on public roads in the Netherlands. It is further elaborated in the Vehicles Regulation, which contains the technical requirements for vehicles.
-The MOT manual is based on the Vehicles Regulation and contains the inspection requirements for vehicles and extra information for the inspector.
-The Vehicles Regulations state that vehicles and their components must comply with European type approval. The standards are described in European regulations.
-EU type approval, EU certification, UNECE certificate, CE marking, ECE approval, E-approval, all refer to the same, the lamp complies with regulations laid down by the European Union.


In longhand...

That's nice, the short summary, but what is it based on? Here we will go a little deeper into the background of the Dutch and European laws, regulations and standards that apply to vehicle lighting.


Road Traffic Act

The 1994 Road Traffic Act is the basis for the rules of road traffic in the Netherlands. It states that traffic must flow and that no one may cause danger. This law is further elaborated in rules, for example the traffic regulations and traffic signs. Chapters 3 and 6 are elaborated in the 'Vehicles Regulation'.

Source in Dutch: Overheid.nl


Vehicle Regulations

The Vehicles Regulation contains the technical requirements for all vehicles in the Netherlands. Because the world of technology is not standing still, the requirements are revised from time to time and published in a new version of the Vehicles Regulations. The following articles are based on Regeling voertuigen 2022. Chapter 5, section 2, paragraph 10 of Regeling voertuigen contains the technical requirements for lighting and reflectors for passenger cars.

Source in Dutch: Overheid.nl


MOT handbook

The Algemene Periodieke Keuring (APK) is a legally required vehicle test in the Netherlands to increase road safety and protect the environment. It is similar to an MOT test in the UK. The APK handbook contains the standards that a vehicle must satisfy. These are based on the Vehicles Regulation.

The handbook is also adjusted periodically. As of 2022, the text of the Vehicles Regulations and the APK handbook are almost identical in large sections. However, the APK handbook also contains additional explanatory notes for special cases, such as dynamic rear lights that do not flash but "run". The inspector knows from the explanation what to pay attention to.

For the most up-to-date inspection requirements see the RDW website in Dutch: APK-handboek


Certification of vehicle lighting

The Vehicles Regulation refer to various ordinances. Ordinance (EU) 2018/858 and 661/2009 stipulate that vehicles and vehicle parts must have a homologation. The standards for homologation are described in regulations. The certification number refers to a regulation, e.g. R10 refers to Regulation 10 which contains the standards for electromagnetic compatibility.


These regulations have been agreed upon by the European Economic Commission of the United Nations (UNECE). In addition to European countries, countries from the former Soviet Union, USA, Canada, Turkey and Israel are also members of UNECE. This means that the standards also apply in 29 countries outside the EU.

This explains why UNECE certification is sometimes referred to as E-mark. It just depends on which document is referred to, even though the standards it contains are identical.


There are some 30 European regulations that relate to vehicle lighting. In part 2 of the blog series LED and Law we will tell you more about European certification.

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