Are led headlights legal in Australia? Answered

In recent years, LED headlights have risen in popularity due to their long lifespan and energy efficiency. The rise in popularity has also attracted questions about whether or not they are legal to use on vehicles in Australia. This article explores in great depth, the legality of LED headlights in Australia, including any potential risks and benefits of using them on the road.

Are led headlights legal in Australia? Yes, LED headlights are legal in Australia. However, there are strict guidelines by the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) regarding color, intensity, electrical connections, and position to ensure the safety of other road users. These guidelines must be followed to ensure that the headlights are approved for use on the road.

The Australian Light Vehicle Standards Rules (ALVSRs) are model rules that regulate in-service vehicle standards for light vehicles. States and territories are required to implement their own vehicle Standards Rules based on these guidelines. 

According to the Australian Light Vehicle Standards, all vehicles must be installed with headlights that conform to visibility and performance standards. The standards define what is acceptable in areas such as color, position, intensity, electrical connections, and direction of the light, as well as the size and shape of the headlight beam.

LED headlights that meet these standards are approved for use on Australian roads, as long as they are properly installed and functioning correctly. 

LED headlights approved in Australia

It is crucial to note that not all LED headlights are approved for use in Australia. When in doubt, it is best to check with a qualified mechanic or the manufacturer before purchasing and installing LED headlights on your vehicle. You should only purchase LED headlights if they comply with Australian Design Rules (ADRs)  guidelines. 

For instance, flashing LED lamps are only allowed on specific vehicles, and the use of lamps that emit red and/or blue light may only be fitted to an emergency services vehicle, such as an ambulance or a police vehicle. 

Any additional lamps fitted to a vehicle be securely fitted, and adhere to the following: 

  1. Meets the ADRs specific guidelines that apply to the LED lamp. 
  2. Must be installed in such a way that it does not create a protrusion that can injure a person making contact with the vehicle. 
  3. If the LED lamp is fitted to the bumper or bull bar, it must be fitted rearward of the front face of the bumper or bull bar. 
  4. Do not obstruct the driver’s field of vision and traffic to the front or side of the vehicle. Furthermore, when in the driver’s position, where the steering wheel and pedals are accessible, the driver must have a good vision of the surface of the road 11 meters in front of the driver’s eye, when the driver’s gaze is upon the front edge of the original body or across the top of the driving lamps. 
  5. Except for high-beam headlamps, or driving lams, the emitted light should not in any way confuse other drivers. 
  6. The vehicle surface (e.g. the bonnet, bumper, or bull bar if fitted) must not reflect any light into the driver’s eyes. If there are areas of the vehicle found to be reflecting light, Anti-glare or matt treatments should be applied to the affected surfaces. 
  7. For lamps fitted in pairs, they must operate simultaneously, while emitting light of the same intensity and color, symmetrically fitted based on the vehicle’s center line and at the same height. 
  8. Electrical Connections: All electrical wiring and connections must be protected, insulated, and inspected at regular intervals. Furthermore, when the high-beam headlamps are in operation, the driving lamps must be able to be switched off and must automatically turn off in the event that the high-beam headlamps are turned back on. 

Now you know what it takes to get your LED headlights approved for use on a vehicle in Australia, but what about color? you must be curious about the accepted LED headlight colors permitted for use on vehicles in Australia. 

What color LED headlight is legal in Australia

In Australia, the legally acceptable colors for headlights are white or yellow. This applies to both the low-beam and high-beam headlights. Blue, purple and red colored headlights are strictly prohibited for use on personal vehicles. These colors can easily dazzle other vehicle drivers, which may cause confusion or lead to an accident. 

Furthermore, all vehicles must be fitted with a white reverse light, which has to be positioned at the rear of the vehicle and activated when the vehicle is in reverse motion. 

Properly installed headlights that meet the legal requirements are important for your own safety and that of other road users, as they can help to improve visibility on the road and reduce the risk of accidents. If you’re in doubt about the condition or color of your vehicle’s headlights, I recommend you check with a professional mechanic or at a vehicle inspection center. 

Brightest legal headlight in Australia

The brightness of headlights in Australia is regulated by the Australian Design Rules (ADR), these regulations provide guidelines as to the intensity, and direction of the light beam. The standards exist to ensure that headlights are bright enough to provide clear visibility for the driver while ensuring that other road users are protected from glare. 

According to the ADR, the maximum allowable intensity for low-beam headlights is 12,000 candela per square meter (cd/m2), while high-beam headlights are allowed a maximum intensity of 30,000 cd/m2. Keep in mind that these intensity levels apply to the entire headlight beam, and not just the center beam. 

When it comes to aftermarket headlights, the options are generously broad, including halogen, xenon (HID), and LED headlights. Of course, they each offer different levels of brightness, which is why you should be particular about those that meet the standards set by the ADR.

Simply put, the brightest legal headlights in Australia are those that adhere to the safety requirements as outlined by the ADR and produce a white or pale blue light beam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are LED replacement globes legal in SA?

Except for a vehicle manufacturer’s approved replacement part, any aftermarket LED lamp or replacement LED globe for a fitted lamp must bear on its package that the lamp/globe is suitable for road use and complies with the relevant ADR requirements. 

All Lamps containing LED globes must meet the set guidelines, including ADR 51/00 as those containing filament/incandescent globes, including the intensity, distribution, and color of their emitted light

You can read more about the legality of LED replacement globes in Australia.

Are LED replacement globes legal in Queensland?

Yes, LED replacement globes are legal in Queensland. But you can only fit a maximum of four additional forward-facing lamps to your vehicle in Queensland. This can be a combination of Spotlights and LED Light Bars. 

What you need to know is that an LED Light Bar is considered one lamp if all of the LEDs operate together – A good example would be a sealed unit whereby all the sections in the unit can be turned on and off at the same time. If your LED Light Bars are switchable ones, where multiple sections can be independently turned on or off, then each section is considered a lamp.

Fitting of Lights

The goal is to fit the lamps in such a way that there are no “protrusions” for pedestrian safety. If the lights are fitted on top of a bull bar or bumper, any protrusions will be a dangerous protrusion for pedestrians and as such are not acceptable.

The Queensland Government states that lights “must not be fitted to the top of a bull bar above the forward bonnet line, and must not protrude forward of the bull bar or bumper in any way that influences the profile of the impact zone. Additional driving lights can be fitted above the roof line so long as they are on the front half of the vehicle.

All lights fitted to the front of your vehicle must be placed symmetrically to the center of the vehicle. In instances where you are fitting a single light (in the case of an LED light bar), you must fit the light to the exact center of your car. Please note also that the lights must be positioned in such a way that the driver isn’t visually impaired by the lights either by reflection or by being in their field of view.

Are HID light conversions illegal?

What you need to know is that if a vehicle wasn’t factory fitted with LED or HID headlights, and you install them just by changing the globes, it’s not illegal. The reason is that halogen lights have a specific reflector (the housing), that is carefully engineered to safely and evenly distribute the light in front of your vehicle.

So, when you span on an LED or HID globe inside a normal reflector, it will result in light scattered everywhere as opposed to the one direction, blinding and causing confusion to other vehicle drivers. 

You can spot factory-fitted headlights from a mile away. A nicely focused beam is one such way to tell right away. If the globes are not for the headlamps, you’ll end up with a light reflector that is lit up like the moon, with no clear reflection onto the road.

In conclusion

LED headlights are legal and okay to install in Australia as long as they meet the guidelines set by ADR. These guidelines are constantly revised and updated. If you are ever in doubt about the legality of your headlights with respect to color, intensity, or position, please check with a qualified mechanic or vehicle inspection outlet closest to you.

See also:

Is it legal to have led lights inside your car?