TN Legal SAE/DOT Light Bar Question (What's a Lamp?)

Dissent

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I have a TN law question about lighting. I'm cross-posting in the Lighting and 80-Series Tech forums. Thanks in advance for any and all help!

The back roads are DARK here and all 3x of our cars could use some low beam/ditch enhancements. I'm considering a wide fog beam auxiliary light setup and came across some nice fog and/or driving light bar solutions that are SAE/DOT approved with nice cut-off's that prevent blinding/dazzling other drivers. One of my cars, the RX300, has a perfect slot in the valance section that would accommodate up to 28" light bar without screwing up the aesthetics of the car and/or drilling holes in the bumper and I can leverage the same light on my 97 LX450 which has a similar gap between my OEM valence and @kelly saad's LC grill. (LX and LC grills are different sizes. I knew this when I bought it but am planning a bumper to make the valance obsolete some day in the far future)

TN law states that you can only have 4x lamps on at once on-road. (Tennessee Code 55-9-402 – Lights required on motor vehicles — Exceptions — Regulations as to color, type and visibility distance » LawServer - https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/tennessee/tn-code/tennessee_code_55-9-402)
"(2) Auxiliary road lighting lamps may be used, but not more than two (2) of the lamps shall be lighted at any one (1) time in addition to the two (2) required headlights."

Since an LED light bar has multiple lamps, is it considered a single beam? JW Speaker offers an SAE/DOT approved Fog light bar that has 3-6 lenses. (Light Bars – Product Categories – J.W. Speaker - https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/categories/light-bars/) Is this considered a single lamp or 3-6 lamps?
 
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I have a TN law question about lighting. I'm cross-posting in the Lighting and 80-Series Tech forums. Thanks in advance for any and all help!

The back roads are DARK here and all 3x of our cars could use some low beam/ditch enhancements. I'm considering a wide fog beam auxiliary light setup and came across some nice fog and/or driving light bar solutions that are SAE/DOT approved with nice cut-off's that prevent blinding/dazzling other drivers. One of my cars, the RX300, has a perfect slot in the valance section that would accommodate up to 28" light bar without screwing up the aesthetics of the car and/or drilling holes in the bumper and I can leverage the same light on my 97 LX450 which has a similar gap between my OEM valence and @kelly saad's LC grill. (LX and LC grills are different sizes. I knew this when I bought it but am planning a bumper to make the valance obsolete some day in the far future)

TN law states that you can only have 4x lamps on at once on-road. (Tennessee Code 55-9-402 – Lights required on motor vehicles — Exceptions — Regulations as to color, type and visibility distance » LawServer - https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/tennessee/tn-code/tennessee_code_55-9-402)
"(2) Auxiliary road lighting lamps may be used, but not more than two (2) of the lamps shall be lighted at any one (1) time in addition to the two (2) required headlights."

Since an LED light bar has multiple lamps, is it considered a single beam? JW Speaker offers an SAE/DOT approved Fog light bar that has 3-6 lenses. (Light Bars – Product Categories – J.W. Speaker - https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/categories/light-bars/) Is this considered a single lamp or 3-6 lamps?
These laws were written prior to LED lights being a thing.

It is as @zapatius stated, one "lamp" which is one wired unit to turn on. Since all LED bulbs are hard wired to a circuit board, it is all considered to be one lamp.

Then you have interpretation and enforcement of the law.

Many states have height limits and how white lights must be pointing forward and cannot be above a certain height.

When I did the research for the state of Iowa 35 years ago, they stated a height of 48" maximum, and only on the front of the vehicle. So, I could place as many lights as I wanted on the front and could run as many as I wanted on, as long as it was not "damaging" to other drivers on the highway like what high-beam headlights would be. If they were on a separate switch, they were required to have covers on the lights, as they were considered off-road use at that time.

Technically, I had to have covers on my roll bar lights as well as the additional lights on the bull bar since they were all on separate switches.

If you wire your extra lights into the hi-beam circuit of your vehicle, you may be able to skirt the letter of the law due to how they are switched, so they cannot be on when low beams are required.

It really comes down to the LEO that you are talking to. If you are drunk and disorderly and on a highway with every conceivable light on, blinding people on the highway, then yes, he'll nail you for all it's worth.

If you are toodling along in your grampa truck and no lights on, but you have 20 of them on the front, he may not even look twice at you.

Make them so they are "stealth", don't be stupid, and be respectful of others.

Back in 1985, I had one time I was running down a 2 lane highway in my 69 4x4 Chevy with my headlights on high, (4) off-road lights on the bull bar on, and (6) roll bar lights on, running about 70 in a 55, and I met another car at the peak of the hill.

Nothing happened, but I couldn't get my hand to the (5) switches fast enough to turn them off for the poor guy. I had so much wattage (about 1.5million candlepower) out there that I couldn't even see the light wash from his vehicle coming at me from the other side of the hill at midnight. Two of my roll bar lights were literally aircraft landing lights in a pencil beam. I was running that way because of time of day, the road I was on, and the extreme possibility of deer. Illegal as hell, and if that would have been a Sheriff, I would have had a massive fine.

Some cities and states insist you have covers on them at all times on-road.

Talk to other locals with lots of lights and see what their experiences have been in your area in reference to LEO's.
 

ppc

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Install the lights and use them respectfully and I doubt anyone will care.

I'd rather take the chance on a $100 ticket than pay a $1,000 deductible after hitting a deer 🦌


Better off using less lights when it comes to animals in the road. I guess you're not aware of the expression "deer in the headlights"

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Dissent

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Thanks for all the great feedback. I do like those Diode Dynamics Fog lights!
 
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Better off using less lights when it comes to animals in the road. I guess you're not aware of the expression "deer in the headlights"

View attachment 2788066
Oh I'm familiar.... As I watch 5 deer walk across my yard. I meant that having additional side and distance light comes in handy to see them on dark roads. Once you see one there will be more and you can slow down early enough.
 
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Better off using less lights when it comes to animals in the road. I guess you're not aware of the expression "deer in the headlights"

View attachment 2788066
Yeah, I'm gonna disagree here.

I want to see the eye shine or movement from 1/4 mile away so I can get it shut down and let them walk across in front of me. There is never just one deer, and usually it's the second one that gets you.
 

Godwin

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Yeah, I'm gonna disagree here.

I want to see the eye shine or movement from 1/4 mile away so I can get it shut down and let them walk across in front of me. There is never just one deer, and usually it's the second one that gets you.

Exactly. When I see one deer cross I look to the side of the road where it was because often others are following.
 

clx16

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In GA they have a dumb law that you can run a lightbar on the road if it is below the headlights ... Stupid blinding because flood is still flood even if it is below your headlights. We already have a bunch of people that squat their vehicles then cant see the road with their headlights pointing up and then just run brights all the time. Never hear of anyone ever getting pulled for it.

Maybe it is better there but if you just make sure the cutoff is below 40 inches at say 45-65 feet out you might not get any attention. I make sure that my stuff cuts off at 36 inches at 30 foot, but i realize i have much better night vision than most.

My fogs well those have a very low cutoff cause they're are fogs. So i doubt anyone ever gets blinded by those.
 
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Dissent

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I don't know how well it's enforced in TN but if I am running 4x lamps (2x headlights & 2x fogs) then I kick on my high beams (just flipping my HID louver up) and my 2x grill lights kick on...now I'm running 6x lamps. I can wire in a relay to cut the 2x fogs when the highs kick on but are the police really counting the number of forward facing lamps in TN?
 

FMC80

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Install the lights and use them respectfully and I doubt anyone will care.

I'd rather take the chance on a $100 ticket than pay a $1,000 deductible after hitting a deer 🦌
Disagree. $100 ticket = higher insurance premiums. Think of the opportunity cost of NOT hitting that deer. No deer back strap, jerky, stew, sausage. Man I’m hungry. :flipoff2:
 

zapatius

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I don't know how well it's enforced in TN but if I am running 4x lamps (2x headlights & 2x fogs) then I kick on my high beams (just flipping my HID louver up) and my 2x grill lights kick on...now I'm running 6x lamps. I can wire in a relay to cut the 2x fogs when the highs kick on but are the police really counting the number of forward facing lamps in TN?

They only count them if you're up to no good in my experience. That and, is your county number sticker in the correct spot, is your registration signed in ink, is your bumper height less than 30" and/or a maximum deviation of 3" from stock. Lots of laws out there.....
 

Dissent

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They only count them if you're up to no good in my experience. That and, is your county number sticker in the correct spot, is your registration signed in ink, is your bumper height less than 30" and/or a maximum deviation of 3" from stock. Lots of laws out there.....
Good points. My truck is very low profile compared to the loaded out Jeeps here. Blending in helps a bunch.
 

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