Skip to Content
Road Users

Daytime running lights (DRL)

General information and use of daytime running lights.

This content is for general information only. It does not, and is not intended to, provide legal or technical advice or to represent a legal interpretation of the matters it addresses.

Frequently asked questions

A daytime running light or lamp (DRL) is a lighting system on the front of a vehicle which generally operate automatically when the engine is running emits a white light to increase the visibility of the vehicle during daylight conditions. Currently under EU Type Approval legislation, DRL’s are only required to the front of vehicles and do not illuminate the rear of the vehicle.

DRL's increase a vehicle’s visibility during daylight hours and therefore improve road safety.

No, as they do not produce enough light to illuminate the road at night-time. DRL's are only suitable for daylight hours and when in use, your lights to the rear and instrument lights may not be on in some cases so it is extremely important to remember that headlights still need to be switched on before darkness. For guidance on the correct operating procedure for DRL’s fitted to a particular make or model of vehicle, you should refer to the owner’s manual or contact the vehicle manufacturer or authorised distributor.

Yes. If your vehicle is not fitted with daytime running lights, you should drive with your dipped headlights on during the daytime as they can help reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

It is not mandatory for DRLs to be fitted to vehicles however where fitted they must work, otherwise the vehicle will fail the roadworthiness test.


  • New cars and light commercial vehicles manufactured since 07 February 2011 are required to fit DRLs as specified in Regulation (EC) 2019/2144.
  • New heavy commercial vehicles and buses manufactured since 07 August 2012 are required to be fitted with DRLs.

However, the types of vehicles which were already in production prior to these dates were not obliged to comply and therefore could continue to be manufactured without DRL’s after this date. It will not be until their type or model is renewed that DRLs will be required to be fitted to such types.

Yes. There are dedicated DRL retrofit kits available and should be type approved showing the ‘E’ or ‘e’ mark. It should also be noted that not all vehicles can have DRL’s fitted due to physical constraints, so it is advisable to contact the original manufacturer or authorised distributor. All additional lighting systems should be fitted strictly in accordance with Irish road traffic legislation and should not invalidate a vehicle’s type approval.