Making sense of light bar laws in each state

Having owned a 4×4 for a while now I have seen the popularity of light bars increase dramatically. I have also seen the laws really struggle to keep up. A few years ago it was actually ridiculous, the law still stated that all lights had to be mounted in pairs… Enthusiasts were putting black tape down the centre of their bars to ensure they looked like two lights and remained legal. Thankfully the laws have been reassessed since. You’d think that would mean consistent Australia wide laws on light bars, but no, unfortunately there are still some slight variances. We’ve pulled together a summary below based on the information available to us online. It should be noted that this is our interpretation of the rules and it would be wise to check the documentation we’ve linked to in each state before deeming the position you mount your LED bar legal.

Australia Wide:

  • The light/s must only come on when the main-beam (high beam) headlights are used, and must automatically turn off when the main-beam headlights are turned off.
  • The driving lights must be fitted with an isolator switch to allow high beam to be switched on without the driving lights also being switched on.
  • Light bars can not be mounted on top of the bull bar.

Vic (Positions 1 is OK but 2 and 3 are open to interpretation based on the first line of the LED light bar section)
WA (Positions 1, 2 and 3 are OK)
SA (Positions 1, 2 and 3 are OK)
NT (Positions 1, 2 and 3 are OK)
QLD (Positions 1, 2 are OK but 3 is not)
ACT (Position 1 OK but 2 and 3 are not)
Tas (Position 1 OK but 2 and 3 are not)

References to documentation in each state:

Vic

https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/vehicle-safety/fog-and-driving-lights

WA

http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/licensing/LBU_VS_IB_132.pdf

SA

https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/driving-and-transport/vehicles/vehicle-standards-and-modifications/lighting-and-instrumentation

https://www.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/76070/MR1517-Driving-Lamps-and-Daytime-Running-Lamps.pdf

NT

https://nt.gov.au/driving/safety/additional-lighting

QLD

https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/-/media/Safety/Vehicle-standards-and-modifications/Vehicle-standards/Vehicle-standards-instructions/L153.pdf

ACT

https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/2945/~/motor-vehicle-headlights-and-lamps

TAS (Thanks Alex for the link!)

https://www.transport.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/154154/Additional_Lighting_on_Vehicles_-_Information_Bulletin_-_Aug_2017.pdf

NSW

Unable to find anything concrete online

11 comments

  1. NSW:
    1 is ok for light bars, rest are illegal without a physical externally mounted on/off switch.
    ADR13 specifies “must be at the front of the vehicle”, and “not above headlight height” and “at a maximum of 1200mm from the ground”. NSW road rule laws stick with ADR13.

    Another dumb NSW rule: All roof mounted lights must also be covered (not clear covers) in day light – which covers for LED lights bars pretty much don’t exist , so that also adds to the killing of having them mounted upstairs.

    NSW: Dumb much?

    1. Far out…. that’s ridiculous. I feel sorry for the people who live near some of the borders who may have lights which are perfectly legal where they live but if they travel across the border and be breaking the law.

      1. Under Australia law if a vehicle is legal in the state it is reg. It can not be defected in another state , ie:- in South Australia we can have a light bar or a pair of spotlight mounted on the bull bar an a light bar mounted on the roof or the sports bar legally , if we travel to WA it can not be defected for the top light bar .

    2. there is no height restriction for additional lights. but must be fitted to the front of the vehicle.

      https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015C00543

      7.3 DRIVING LAMPS

      7.3.1 Presence: Optional on motor vehicles. Prohibited on trailers.

      7.3.2 Number:

      7.3.2.1 Up to a maximum of four.

      7.3.2.2 To be used in conjunction with headlamps.

      7.3.3 Arrangement:

      7.3.2.1 No special requirement.

      7.3.4 Position:

      7.3.4.1 In width: no individual specifications;

      7.3.4.1.1 Be fitted symmetrically in relation to the median longitudinal plane of the vehicle.

      7.3.4.2 In height: no individual specifications.

      7.3.4.3 In length: at the front of the vehicle and fitted in such a way that the light emitted does not cause discomfort to the driver either directly or indirectly through the rear-view mirrors and/or other reflecting surfaces of the vehicle.

      1. ‘At the front of the vehicle.’ Can be interpreted differently from person to person hence the amendments of vehicle bulletins to complement them. ‘Front’ of the vehicle in some states means the ‘front half’. I have one on my ute in NSW. Thats my argument.

      2. ADR13 has since been updated. The new rule says the requirement for lights to be at the front of the vehicle is satisfied as long as the light isnt reflecting or causing discomfort for the driver

  2. Is there similar restrictions to light bars facing the rear? I’m guessing they have to be linked with the reverse lights and have an independent switch?

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