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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Is It Illegal to Drive with Interior Lights on in Ohio? | Learn More from a Legal Expert!

There are many myths about operating a motor vehicle circulating across the United States, including the one where people believe that it is illegal to drive with interior lights on in Ohio. It is important for citizens to know about the traffic rules and regulations to help them drive responsibly and reduce the risks of accidents.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have the legal expertise to represent injured victims and protect their rights. Those who have suffered injuries in Toledo, Ohio, should contact their legal team for a free consultation to discuss their case. They can also consult about quesitons like Is brake checking illegal in Ohio?

Is It Illegal to Drive with Interior Lights on in Ohio?

Is It Illegal to Drive with Interior Lights on in Ohio?

The older generation often told their children many things to protect them and ensure that they don't hurt themselves. One of the things that has stuck around is that it is illegal to drive with interior lights on.

However, the reality is far from it. It's legal to drive with interior lights on, but this action sits on the grey side of the traffic law.

Although driving with interior lights on in Ohio is legal, it doesn't mean that drivers should do it. The law does not directly address the legality of switching on an interior or dome light in a vehicle.

However, it can be a safety hazard, resulting in a citation from a law enforcement officer or leading to a car accident. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help with other questions like Are u turns illegal in Ohio?

How Is Driving with an Interior Light or Dome Light a Safety Hazard?

Having LED lights inside a vehicle or any other form of interior lighting is a safety hazard, as it could lead to distracted driving or make it difficult for other drivers to see the road.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, distracted driving is a term that refers to an activity a driver participates in that may not be necessary to the operation of the motor vehicle.

These activities may include fidgeting with the radio dial, setting the air conditioner's temperature, putting makeup on, or eating food, among many other things.

An interior dome light may cause a glare, impairing the driver's vision and making it difficult for them to see up ahead. This vehicular traffic hazard can lead to serious car accidents.

Since it is legal to have interior lights on inside a vehicle while driving, a police officer may not pull over the driver. However, if they suspect distracted driving, there is a possibility that they might pull the driver over and fine them.

Besides getting pulled over, a vehicle's interior lights can lead to a car accident. A driver with interior lights on suggests that they might be looking for something.

Whether they're reaching for their smartphone or want to check for an item in the glovebox compartment, an interior light could indirectly lead to a devastating collision.

The main purpose of the interior dome light is to illuminate the vehicle when the driver enters or exits it. There is no need to have such lights on unless the driver is distracted and searching for something.

Is It Illegal to Have Colored Lights on in Ohio?

Currently, there is no legislation that prevents car owners from having colored lights on in their vehicles. However, traffic laws dictate that drivers cannot drive with rotating, oscillating, or flashing lights. There is also a requirement that requires motor vehicles to have bulbs that illuminate the license plate.

Another thing for drivers to be mindful of is that although they can have colored LED lights in their cars, they can't have a combination of blue and red lights. Other drivers might mistake them for a police officer or emergency vehicles.

What Types of Lights in a Motor Vehicle Are Illegal in Ohio?

Section 4513.17 of the Ohio Revised Code states that it is illegal to have flashing lights on motor vehicles unless:

  • The lights indicate the direction the driver wants to turn in; or

  • There is a vehicular traffic hazard, prompting the driver to turn the flashing lights on to warn others.

Besides flashing lights, there are no other types of lights mentioned in the law that is illegal to have on motor vehicles in Ohio.

Some car owners modify their rides by adding strobe or excessively bright lights. Although they may not be illegal, using such lights is highly discouraged, as they can adversely impact the vision of other oncoming drivers.

Is It Legal to Have an Amber Light in a Motor Vehicle in Ohio?

Only tow trucks and other maintenance vehicles in the state can have flashing, rotating, or oscillating amber lights. It is clearly mentioned under clause c of the Ohio Statute 4513.17 that it should have a pendulum-like, swaying pattern.

However, amber lights in a motor vehicle's turn signals are legal in the state. These are flashing lights that are only permitted when indicating right or left.

When Can Drivers Use Overhead Lights in Ohio?

When Can Drivers Use Overhead Lights in Ohio?

If a driver needs to turn an overhead light to search for something, they must pull the car aside in a safe place before switching it on.

After finding what they are looking for, the driver can safely continue their route. It's best to avoid overhead or dome lights while on the road.

Can an Injured Victim Recover Compensation for a Car Accident Due to Interior Lights?

If the driver with interior lights on is driving distractedly on the road and crashes into another car, under Ohio personal injury law, the injured victim may be able to recover compensation for the damages incurred.

Distracted, drunk, or reckless driving are all negligent acts for which injured parties can hold the negligent drivers responsible.

However, the legal process to obtain compensation is not straightforward, and there are many hassles that victims may face.

It's crucial that the injured victim reach out to an experienced car accident attorney in Ohio to discuss their case and learn more about their legal options.

Pursuing Personal Injury Claims with Experienced Trial Attorneys in Ohio

Those who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of other drivers in Toledo, Ohio, should call to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys.

They can help assess the case, determine the liable parties, and go to war against the negligent party's insurance company to get the injured victim the compensation they deserve.


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