Flashing brake lights - GL1800Riders

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Flashing brake lights

I know this will stir up a frenzy, and I am not making an opinion, but I thought I would share some info I just read in the Driving section of our local newspaper.

Apparently Mercedes Benz issued a proposal to the DOT and NHTSA to equip their vehicles with brake lights that would flash when a driver made a panic stop. The Feds turned down the proposal, skeptical that they would provide any safety benefit, and Mercedes was unable to provide any proof that there is. It added that currently, flashing brake lights are illegal.

Despite the many folks who say "they have checked on it and found they are legal", apparently they are not. The aftermarket is bound by these same laws too, regardless of whether you have been using them for years and never been stopped.

Just thought anyone contemplating the addition would want to know. Now try not to kill the messenger.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 08:56 PM
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Larry---I have to wonder about which "local newspaper" this was from and the source for the assertion that brakelight modulators are illegal, presumably in every state. The fact that the statement was contained in a newspaper does not automatically make it any more authoritative than the assertions on this board or elsewhere.

Can you share the newspaper's identity and the legal source for the claim, if they mentioned it?

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday driving section.

As far as the legal source for the comment in the article about them being illegal, I think a little common sense would dictate that MB wouldn't be proposing to make them legal unless they were currently illegal, would they?

The Federal Government has the say so on require safety equipment, not the states. The states can make them stricter, but they can't make them more lenient.

BTW, many owners here have received citations for "Euro Style" brake lights too, (on cars) since they are not DOT approved replacements. Same thing.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 09:07 PM
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Well, we know that part of the story isn't true as in another thread on this subject someone already posted the California Vehicle Code that allows modulated (flashing) brake lights (just not Wig-Wags it seems.)

So there's proof that 1 out of 50 states allow them.

According to Lewis of EC, 12 other states have adopted Calfornia's code on the subject verbatim. So if that true, now there's 13 out of 50 states where they'd be legal.

Not shooting or doubting the messenger, just the accuracy of the newspaper story and how heavily the facts were checked prior to publishing. Newspapers stories HAVE been known to be wrong from time to time due to not fully checking sources.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 09:08 PM
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If some cop wants to ticket me for doing everything in my power (even if the flashing lights have even a remote chance of getting their attention) to save my A$$ from some ignorant fool popping in a DVD, talking on a cell phone, smoking a cigarette, and/or trying to tame the wild indians in the back seat----well your honor, I am guilty!!!
post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 09:27 PM
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I could see where they might ticket you if you use wigwag lights, or ones that continually flash. As for the ones that flash 3 or 4 times, then go steady, that isn't any different than someone pumping their brakes a few times as they come to a stop.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAW05WING
If some cop wants to ticket me for doing everything in my power (even if the flashing lights have even a remote chance of getting their attention) to save my A$$ from some ignorant fool popping in a DVD, talking on a cell phone, smoking a cigarette, and/or trying to tame the wild indians in the back seat----well your honor, I am guilty!!!
Well said.
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 10:39 PM
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Larry--I may lack common sense, but perhaps not for the reason stated.

MCL 257.697, the Michigan statute governing signal lamps, including brake lights, does not prohibit flashing brake lights. 49 CFR 571, Section 108, the Federal regulatory code addressing brake lights and every miniscule aspect of motor vehicle lighting is also silent on the issue of flashing brake lights (at least as best I can tell).

If there is other authority to support the Plain Dealer's article on the Federal level, I have not been able to find it.

My intent is not to kill the messenger, but to determine the truth of the matter.

Keep in mind too, that although the CFR's may require manufactures to design and equip vehicles in certain ways, this does not prevent the states from enacting legislation as to modifications to the vehicle and its operation thereafter.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 11:21 PM
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Here is the California vehicle code on the subject that I posted under a seperate subject earlier today:

Deceleration Warning Lights

25251.5. (a) Any motor vehicle may also be equipped with a system in which an amber light is center mounted on the rear of a vehicle to communicate a component of deceleration of the vehicle, and which light pulses in a controlled fashion at a rate which varies exponentially with a component of deceleration.

(b) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with two amber lamps on the rear of the vehicle which operate simultaneously with not more than four flashes within four seconds after the accelerator pedal is in the deceleration position and which are not lighted at any other time. The lamps shall be mounted at the same height, with one lamp located on each side of the vertical centerline of the vehicle, not higher than the bottom of the rear window, or if the vehicle has no rear window, not higher than 60 inches. The light output from each of the lamps shall not exceed 200 candlepower at any angle horizontal or above. The amber lamps may be used either separately or in combination with another lamp.

(c) Any stoplamp or supplemental stoplamp required or permitted by Section 24603 may be equipped so as to flash not more than four times within the first four seconds after actuation by application of the brakes.


A lot of room for interpretation, but the bottom line is, "Flashing" brake lights in California are Legal, (On all vehicles, not just motorcycles).

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-28-2005, 12:30 AM
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Then Wig Wag should be legal - when installed as "User Selected Mode II" where the lights remain on steady after it completes its less than 4 second flashing sequence.





In "User Selcted Mode I" it continually repeats the sequence as long as the brakes are applied and from the way I read the regulation that could be in violation.

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