The Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has called on government to mandate daytime running lights (DRLs) after research found the technology reduces the likelihood of being involved in a non-night time multi-vehicle crash by 8.8 per cent.
The study assessed the relationship between crash risk and the fitment of DRLs using data on crashes that were reported to police in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia between 2010 and 2017. There were 119,606 casualty crashes in the database, of which 11,013 crashes were found to involve at least one vehicle fitted with DRLs.
The MUARC said there have been few studies examining the real-world crash-based effectiveness of DRLs in recent years.
“This is the first study to broadly capture the newer type of LED DRL now commonly fitted on new vehicles by various vehicle manufacturers,” said Dr Angelo D’Elia, the study’s lead author.
The authors said the study’s results provide “clear evidence” that mandating DRLs on all new vehicles would likely lower crash risk.
“DRL fitment can reduce the overall risk of being involved in a non-night-time multi-vehicle crash where vehicle visibility may be a factor in crash causation. Governments should consider a DRL mandate on all new vehicle models, including all variants to accelerate the process of fitment through the fleet. This would likely lead to reductions in the overall crash risk of the fleet,” the report said.
DRLs have been made mandatory in Europe for all new cars and small delivery vans since 2011, and for trucks and buses since 2012.
D’Elia said that an examination of NSW data indicated that as of 2020, at least half of the existing vehicle fleet does not have DRLs fitted.