Ask the Mayor: Are Blue HID Headlights Legal?

October 19, 2015, 8:04 AM HST · Updated October 19, 8:23 AM
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Image courtesy MPD.

Image courtesy MPD.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Dear Mayor,

Q: Are blue HID headlights legal in vehicles if they’re not factory installed?

A: It is my understanding that some vehicles may be equipped with High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, which are in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards whether or not they are factory-installed or after-market.

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At certain distances or angles these HID headlamps may appear to have a colored or blue appearance; however, at close range they emit a white light. Other headlights that do not emit a white light are not legal and would not pass safety inspection.

Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS), Section 291-25 (b) require motor vehicle headlamps to “display white light.” On a federal level, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has regulated headlamp bulbs since about 1983. The NHTSA approved federal rules requiring the color of both the lower beam headlamps and upper beam headlamps to be “white.”

The official State of Hawai‘i safety inspector’s manual for “Inspectors of Passenger Cars and Light Trucks” references the federal rules as a standard. Thus, in order for the car to pass safety inspection, the color of the headlamp beams must be white.

According to the HRS, any motor vehicle not properly equipped with lights in conformity with this section is prohibited from use from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise; violations carry a fine of not more than $10. Each violation shall be deemed a separate offense, and a subsequent violation of the same provision within a one-year period shall be subject to twice the fine imposed upon the prior conviction.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

 

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