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Substandard lights pose risk to road users

Update: April, 28/2018 - 12:52
Many motorbike and car drivers ignore traffic regulations, including installing substandard lamps, posing a danger for other road users.— Photo

HCM CITY — Many motorbike and car drivers ignore traffic regulations, including installing substandard lamps, posing a danger for other road users.

The Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper reports that it is very easy to find lamps with high illumination at motorcycle repair shops and car shops in HCM City.

According to staff at a motorbike shop in Thủ Đức District, the preferred lamp is the xenon or high-intensity discharge (HID) version, which provides brighter headlights and increases the visibility of peripheral objects such as street signs and pedestrians, often left in the shadows by standard halogen lighting.

These lamps come from China and cost between VNĐ250,000 (US$11) to VNĐ1 million ($44.4) each.

Additional accessories are required to install and replace the lamps on a motorcycle, according to a mechanic in HCM City.

A range of xenon and LED lamps with 2-3 times the brightness of common halogen lamps are available at many auto shops in HCM City.

According to a car shop owner, they are basically the same - both use xenon lamps which are brighter, more efficient, and longer lasting than halogen headlights. 

The difference is that xenon headlamps have two headlights on each side of the car, one aimed low and one aimed high.  Bi-xenon lamps use a single lamp on each side of the car, with a single bulb. Switching from low to high beam is accomplished either by moving the bulb, or moving the reflector to redirect the beam.

Xenon lights obviously cost more, due to having four headlights and four bulbs, and they are safer, since if one bulb burns out, the car can still have lights on both sides. However they can risk blinding oncoming drivers if it is the low beam lamp that burns out.  Bi-xenon lights are cheaper, but risk losing all the light on one side if a single bulb burns out. 

A new LED bulb is now also available in markets, and is easy to be replaced and installed in the headlight and backlight.

Nguyễn Hậu Trường, a motorcycle repairer in Bình Thành District told the newspaper that many people chose xenon lamps with blue-white light because they are cheaper.

Young people in particular are very interested in replacing lights for motorcycles or cars.

Replacing the bulb with stronger lighting can make it difficult for incoming drivers to see ahead, and see what is going on around the lights, thus putting them at risk

“LED and xenon lamps have a tremendous lighting. I often get dazzled by that lighting. My eyes are blind, unable to see anything,” said Lê Minh Toàn, a coach diver on the HCM City-Phú Yên route.

“With that lighting, an accident could happen anytime while I was driving with dozens of passengers in my coach, and the consequence of that would be severe,” he said.

It doesn’t just cause danger for drivers in the opposite direction, but the car owner with high intensity light is also at risk of becoming a victim, according to Toàn.

LED and xenon lamps from China are sold widely in markets, and no one can ensure the quality of these products, according to Vũ Tuấn Thành, a motorbike repairer.

Replacing these lamps can affect the internal structure of the headlight, and it can even cause electric shock or fire if water flows in while washing the car,.

The power supply of these lamps was often incompatible with the original plug, so it could affect the battery charging and increase the risk of fire.

Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Văn Bình of the HCM City Police Department said that traffic police routinely fined drivers due to improper head and back lights of their vehicles.

Drivers shall be fined VNĐ300,000-400,000 ($13-18) for lack of lights or use substandard lights.

The driver will also be fined at VNĐ800,000-1 million for using additional lights.

In some cases, the driver shall be revoked of their driving licence for 1-3 months. — VNS



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