Most states have a statute very similar to KSA 8-1703 describing when headlamps on a vehicle are required to be used. In reading this statute, the policy behind such a law is very clear; vehicles must be able to be seen and see the road and obstacles during times of limited light. The question in today’s blog, however, rests in defining these required “headlamp” times.
If we review this statute, some of the terms are quite vague and seem to leave a lot of discretion up to the officer or Judge. When exactly does sunset begin? What exact atmosperic conditions require headlamps? Everyone could possibly define these times differently and it leaves a lot of discretion to the Judge in deciding the case. Most prosecutors would likely argue for a more strict application to help upkeep public safety.
For the defense, however, most arguments would likely be made in those areas where some members believe headlamps are required and others would think they are unnecessary. An argument should be made to observe the record of the driver and ask the Judge or prosecutor for discretion or leniency for those drivers who have a fairly clean record and are caught in a situation where it is a close discretionary call whether to use headlamps or not.
Until next time, drive safe!