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Juneau, AK 99801

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Juneau Police Department

Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"

Q. Are there any laws related to the brightness of headlights on vehicles? It seems that more and more vehicles have lights which seem far more intense than even the bright setting on a regular car. It is distracting and dangerous - particularly when rain, snow and fog add to their intense glare. Thank you for any information you can provide.

Dear Juneau Resident,

Had to go to one of the 'car guys' here at JPD for this one. It seems the restriction on 55 watt and above has been repealed. I will attach some restrictions below and they present some challenges for establishing the elements of a violation. You will see....

As a real world assessment, if the headlights are from a manufacturer the odds of a citation holding up are pretty slim. The court considers it an unreasonable burden to expect drivers to immediately change a car that was just purchased and all the equipment is factory specified. If someone starts adding a bunch of after market items, then the driver can be cited and required to remove or change the non-factory equipment. Here is the part of the ordinance that seems to address the issue.

72.04.020 Headlights.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or 13 AAC 04, a motor vehicle must be equipped with at least two headlights, one on each side of the front of the motor vehicle. The headlights must emit white light to the front of the vehicle, comply with the requirements and limitations set out in this section, and be mounted at a height of not more than 54 inches or less than 24 inches.
(b) When a motor vehicle is driven on a highway during the times specified in subsection 72.04.010(a) or 13 AAC 04.010, the driver shall use a high distribution of light or composite beam, directed at a height and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of 450 feet in advance of the vehicle for all load conditions, subject to the following requirements and limitations:
(1) When the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, the driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, so that the glaring or high-intensity portion of the light is not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver; the light must be of sufficient intensity to reveal a person or a vehicle at a distance of 150 feet in advance of the vehicle for all load conditions; and
(2) When the driver of a vehicle approaches another vehicle from the rear, within 300 feet, the approaching driver may not use the highest distribution of light.


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