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Lighting regulations - moving brake light uk

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Hi all. I'm aware that there will be a lot of people here who have built their own specials and I'm sure there'll be some good knowledge of lighting regulations.


One of my project vehicles is a 2010 90 CSW.


I'm just ordering the parts I need to fit NAS/95mm rear lamps. The twist is that I want to fit them in the same way as they were fitted to genune 97MY NAS Defenders - i.e. in a row along the bottom of the tub. I've already found the correct NAS corner capping with a cut-out to allow the outboard lamps to fit close to the body side and moving holes/tigging up isn't an issue. So physically fitting them is now planned out and sorted.


But there's a legality question - the arrangement I'd be going for would be three lamps on each side: 

Indicator | Tail/Brake | Reverse----------&----------Fog | Tail/Brake | Indicator


The look would be near identical to the one in the photo below, albeit without the small 73mm brake lights in the upper corners (the NAS capping pieces have a blank piece here so they neatly cover the redundant holes):





To do this, I'd need to move the Reverse and Fog lamps inboard one position but crucially I'd need to move the brake lamps down from the top of the barrel sides to the centre of the rear panel. This is the bit that my spidey sense is tingling to tell me there may be a legal issue.


Does anyone know if it is permissible to relocate lamps in such a way and/or if there is any legislation on brake lamp positioning that would stop this (e.g. do they need to be Xmm from the edge of the vehicle.


Thank you.

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Thanks Steve - I couldn't find that when I looked earlier.


Scanning through - its looking promising: says that:

  • brake lights need to be a matched pair, they need to be a minimum of 400mm apart, a minimum of 350mm from the ground, a maximum of 1500mm from the ground. Doesn't seem to be any rules on how far inboard they are. OK!
  • Reversing light(s) have no regulations other than being at the back and havig no more than two. OK!
  • Fog lamp: one, on centre line or off side, 250mm from ground min/1000mm max. OK!
  • indicators: 400mm from side of vehicle, 500mm apart, 350mm to 1500mm from floor. OK!


That's a first glance, there may be other reg buried in there that supersede the above or a blanket rule that says you can't change from the type-approved  original vehicle standard. But it seems to say the plan is OK - and more that I could actually switch the order to exactly match the NAS spec (i.e. brake lights outboard, amber indicators in the middle and fog/reverse inboard) as the middle of the three is still way less than 400mm from the edge of the vehicle.



Edited by twodoorgaz
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I did also see that there's a minimum distance that the brake light needs to be away from  the fog light.

A distance of 100 mm between the light-emitting surfaces of the lamps when viewed in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle


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I see no problem at all. Although you might want to fit a high level brake light in the rear window, for no other reason than I think it is a good idea.

Back in the day, sequential indicators and brake lights were verboten, and as far as I know, still are.(cant be bothered to check) But as a lot of cars (mostly German) seem to have them, and be getting away with it, I cannot imagine you would ever have a problem as long as the chosen units have the correct markings and are set at the correct dimensions.

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Ace - thanks guys.


So looks like my A: Indicator | Tail/Brake | Reverse----------&----------Fog | Tail/Brake | Indicator is the winner.


That's really reassuring before I start ordering the cappings and paint to do the job.


I already have a high-level brake light as standard, so that's one thing off the to-do list.

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Having put more than a few Japanese imports thtough IVA, the #1 thing I'd be looking at is whether your proposed lighting-rejig will still give the required angular visibility of the tail=lights when the rear door is open to the full extent its check-stop allows.

This was the first thing the guys at the SVA/IVA facility in Bristol would check: if they could fail it on this then they didn't need to conduct the rest of the scheduled test and so could convert a 45-minute job into a 5-minute-and-spend-the-next-40-minutes-in-the-office-drinking-coffee job.

Remember also that the "high viz" rear-fog-lamp(s) needs to be on the outer-side of the centre-line of the vehicle. That was another instant-fail-and-back-to-the-cabin-for-a-coffee thing.

[Personally, I've never seen the point of frobbing-about with lighting-stuff unless it means I can go measurably-faster on the dark-stages]

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Yes, those blanking plates do make it a bit pointless.  He’d have been better off keeping the tail/brake lights up high, fitting twin fog lamps inboard of the indicators and twin reverse lights inboard of those, if he wanted the full deck along the bottom.  But maybe he just wanted to remove the light covers from inside the tub without leaving exposed wiring to gain a little extra storage space.  I’m sure he had his reasons.

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Lighting requirements are all detailed in the IVA manual:




Page 137 onwards will assist with dimensions and angles of view etc.


My only comment would be that you seem to suggest putting the indicators as the outermost lamp - is this for appearance?  My thoughts would be that tail-lights are going to be permanently illuminated at night and would (if used as the outermost lamp) give clear definition to the width of the vehicle.


Indicators, by comparison, are only used periodically - a motorcyclist coming up behind might make a judgement on how wide they ‘think’ the vehicle is - if it turns out to be 150mm or so wider on each side, then it could all get interesting!

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If it isn’t a requirement to place indicators outboard of tail lamps when mounted side by side, then it is certainly the assumed norm.  I cannot think of any vehicle that has them the other way around, and while having tail lamps denote the full width of the vehicle is desirable, having turn indications inboard of the tail lamps could be confusing, especially if only one of the tail lights is visible to the following vehicle.  Try to picture just tail or brake lights, possibly part obscured, with no other visual references, and imagine the perception of inboard indicators - they would be counterintuitive.

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@snagger - good point and I think I’d been taken in by the two photos shown in the OP’s first post.  On reflection, the second image shows a LHD Defender, possibly with US style plates and this may explain the disparity in lighting positions between the two vehicles.


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US vehicles never had a rear fog light like our UK/European models. as in the 2nd photo [red 90] 

the rear fog needs to be  


(d) Minimum separation distance between a rear fog lamp and a stop lamp–

(i)In the case of a rear fog lamp which does not share a common lamp body with a stop lamp:

A distance of 100 mm between the light-emitting surfaces of the lamps when viewed in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle

(ii)In the case of a rear fog lamp which shares a common lamp body with a stop lamp:

100 mm

I'm not sure if the dark green 90 complies. 

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