2nnd June 2023

Upper House Nick McGowen’s comments regarding drivers using headlights during the day caught my attention recently. HS 1st of June 2023, A Bright Idea.

In the 1970s, while stationed at Seymour Highway Patrol, I often found myself from time to time, losing sight of oncoming vehicles or those waiting to turn onto the highway. All be it for a slit second, but long enough for it to be potentially dangerous, particularly at dawn, dusk, and variable weather conditions. This was especially dangerous for catching-speeding motorists, as high-speed driving was commonplace, and that facilitated constant high-speed driving for enforcement.

I was ridiculed by my superiors when I suggested that drivers should use their parking lights while driving. I was even directed not to use them in police vehicles.

Interestingly, I could not find any regulation that prohibited driving with headlights during the day.

MP Nick McGowan’s proposal to require all drivers to activate their headlights during the day is a sensible measure that should be supported by all politicians. This simple initiative can significantly improve visibility on the country as well as metropolitan roads, particularly in areas with shadows and variable conditions. However, drivers of vehicles without daytime running lights should be required to use their parking lights.

Aftermarket daytime driving lights are available for less than $100 and are easy to install without the need for a specialist auto electrical service. Therefore, it is reasonable to require vehicles that need a Certificate of Roadworthiness to be fitted with these lights.

While I support this initiative wholeheartedly, it saddens me that it could have saved hundreds of Victorian lives if it had been introduced in the 70s.

The lesson here is that our legislators should not dismiss ideas simply because they cannot see their value; sometimes, the visions of others are critical.