Q. In inclement weather, I see many vehicles on the road without headlights on, as required by law. And I mean headlights, not parking lights. Why isn’t this law enforced?
A. The NC General Statute 20-129 governing driving in inclimate weather without using headlights states:
At any other time when windshield wipers are in use as a result of smoke, fog, rain, sleet, or snow, or when inclement weather or environmental factors severely reduce the ability to clearly discern persons and vehicles on the street and highway at a distance of 500 feet ahead, provided, however, the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to instances when windshield wipers are used intermittently in misting rain, sleet, or snow. Any person violating this subdivision during the period from October 1, 1990, through December 31, 1991, shall be given a warning of the violation only. Thereafter, any person violating this subdivision shall have committed an infraction and shall pay a fine of five dollars ($5.00) and shall not be assessed court costs. No drivers license points, insurance points or premium surcharge shall be assessed on account of violation of this subdivision and no negligence or liability shall be assessed on or imputed to any party on account of a violation of this subdivision. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall incorporate into driver education programs and driver licensing programs instruction designed to encourage compliance with this subdivision as an important means of reducing accidents by making vehicles more discernible during periods of limited visibility.
According to Linda M. Rawley, Police Information and Community Relations Officer with the Wilmington Police Department, Police Officers use their discretion when enforcing this law based on the wording of the general statute and any travel safety concerns that are demonstrated.
Date posted: August 5, 2013
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