Is it legal to have led lights inside your car? Answered

Yes, it is legal to drive with interior lights on in most states. While that sounds great, driving with LED lights on may not be the safest thing. Driving with LED lights inside your car may not be illegal, but the fact that it is distracting can attract a ticket or lead to an accident. 

What are car interior lights? Why do we use them?

All cars ship with standard interior lights that help illuminate the innermost areas of our cars and help us see better in the dark.

These lights and their fixtures come in different shapes and sizes, as well as varying levels of intensity depending on what area of the car they’re installed.

Stick with me as we discuss different types of car interior lighting, including LED options.  

  • Dome light: Typically present in the middle or on the roof of your car. They are automatically turned on when the doors are opened, serving as indicators, informing you that a door is open. But that’s not all they’re meant for, passengers in the rear seat can also use Dome Lights for reading at night.
  • Map lights: These are the two small lights on the roof of a car, by their name you can already imagine what purpose they serve. Map lights were designed to help you read maps at night. Since these lights are installed on each side of the car, they can be used by the driver or passenger. 
  • Door lights: Door lights are installed at the foot of the door to give the driver or passenger a better view of the ground while getting out. 
  • Dashboard lights: Dashboard lights are responsible for lighting up the gauge cluster at night. Their intensity can easily be adjusted to prevent night blindness.   
  • Customizations: The standard lights may not be sufficient for your needs, leaving you with the need to enhance your car’s interior lighting. Today LEDs, fibre optic, and neon lights can be used to brighten the interior of a car. They are more affordable, consume less energy, and last longer than traditional bulbs due to their durability. 

Can I leave Led lights on while driving?

Leaving your  interior LED lights on at night while driving can be dangerous and fatal. Interior lights can bounce off your wiper, distort your vision and affect your ability to see the road ahead. 

Typically passengers are the culprits when it comes to leaving on interior car lights, they may be trying to peruse a map, or reaching for a phone that fell through the narrow sides of their seat.

While unaffected by the effects of interior LED lights turned on at night, the driver’s vision may be impaired in the process. 

Interior lights were not designed to be left on permanently, their sole purpose is to illuminate darker areas of the car when entering and exiting. These lights do not need to be turned on for extended periods.

Are car interior LED lights worth it?

LEDs tend to last longer so they’re well worth it! Studies prove that LEDs are capable of lasting 25 times more than incandescent bulbs. 

An interesting fact is that LEDs are a lot more energy efficient when compared to incandescent or other types of bulbs.

You may not be aware that 90% of the energy an incandescent bulb uses is wasted as heat.

Why can’t you have red LED lights on at night while driving?

The human eyes are not well adapted to the color red, in addition to that, red makes a terrible choice for illumination purposes. Think about it, the need for light at night is to see things better and red does not suit that idea. 

Can you get pulled over for having LED lights in your car?

Often enough, you won’t get pulled over in most states simply because you have interior lights on. However, if you have lights on for the sake of reading while driving, then you may be cited for distracted driving. If you plan to peruse a document or map, pull over at a safe location and do your business.


It is legal to light up the interior of your car with LED lights, so long as you adhere to highway safety codes applicable to your region. 

Related Questions

Why is green underglow illegal?

Underglows or ground effect lighting are LED or neon aftermarket lights that can be added to the underside of a car to illuminate the ground underneath the car.

Neon underglow lighting laws are necessary to keep our highways safe and free drivers from accidents and hazardous situations as a result of distraction. 

Police officers have also reported that the colors of underglow lights are distracting to other drivers and may as well distract the car owner. 

Due to safety and emergency reasons, there are laws specifically restricting the types of neon accent lights drivers can install on their cars. 

Is footwell lighting illegal?

So long as no loose cables are hanging, wonky contacts, or damaged wires they should be fine. The footwell lighting fulfills no real practical purpose but serves only the visual enhancement of the vehicle.