Lighting and the law

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admin

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Sir,

I have noticed over the course of years that your magazine raised interesting comments on the motoring situation as a whole, and I thought readers might be interested in my own personal experiences with the law during the first three months of this year.

The first relates to the rebuilding of a TR2 which has taken place over the last 12 months in quite appalling conditions: when the time came for a M.o.T. Certificate to be obtained the vehicle failed the test, not altogether unexpectedly. All points were corrected and the car resubmitted to a second testing station which failed it again on a set of factors which bore no relationship to the first. On submission for a third test at yet another testing station a further list of faults was produced which bore no relationship to the first and corresponded to the second in only one detail.

All this you might say must point to a vehicle in a chronic condition, but the parting comments of the inspecting mechanic that “the Ministry are trying to force old cars off the road” might help explain the situation.

The second experience relates to the new regulations concerning spot lamps. My own car, a 2-litre Riley Roadster, has been fitted with a large single spot-light in a central position, its centre point being not less than 24 in. above ground level, and wired to operate, through an on/off switch, only when the headlights are on main beam, these being the conditions under which I understood, perhaps mistakenly, that a single spotlight was legal. About 3 weeks after the fitting of the spot-light, I was approached by a policeman who told me quite firmly that a single spot-light was illegal and would I please extinguish it on the spot and I could only have a matching pair of spot lights. I telephoned the AA for moral support at this stage and was told that the policeman was wrong, one could use a single spotlight and headlights on unlit roads and a single spot light and side lights on lit roads—the single light did not have to work in conjunction with the headlights. I was promised that a leaflet to this effect was being published. In search of an official document to corroborate either statement I took a trip to my local police station and enquired of the station Sergeant, the letter of the law. To my surprise I received a third version which corresponded to my original beliefs on the subject!

So, in two different cases, each with three separate instances, representatives of the authorities have given different opinions. Whilst I agree with the idea of the spirit of the law being flexible, surely the letter of the law, especially on such fundamental issues as M.o.T. tests and lighting regulations should be known—if not always enforced—by the instruments of the law.

R.J. Holman – Maidenhead, Berks.