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How many citations are issued for driving without headlights on?

Ashley Morris

Q. I see a lot of cars and trucks traveling without headlights on in the pouring rain. How many summons are issued for this infraction?

It is hard for officers to look back over the year and see exactly how many citations they wrote for traveling with headlights turned off during stormy or dark weather. Wilmington Police Department spokeswoman Cathryn Lindsay said this year officers wrote 14 citations for “failing to burn headlamps,” and 11 citations for “headlights required.”

But easily officers have written more than 25 tickets for this issue, she said. For example if a driver was cited for reckless driving after they made improper lane changes and also failed to turn their lights on, they may just be cited for the greater charge of reckless driving.

WPD traffic officer Cpl. Kevin Getman said he sees drivers fail to turn their lights on every once in while. But the infraction is something he said he is more likely to pull someone over for and give them a warning rather than a citation because, “usually people just forget to turn them on — they aren’t doing something devious,” he said.

Getman warns that driving without headlights on in dark conditions (smoke, sleet, snow, rain, dusk and dawn) is more dangerous than people realize. It’s also more dangerous for the drivers around the car without headlights than it is for the driver who forgot to turn them on, he said.

Anytime a driver is using windshield wipers, they are required to turn on their headlights by law.

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