California Implements Daytime Headlight Law On Highway 99 Stretch

by Staff Blogger | September 30th, 2020

Running daytime headlights is a safety technique that has been utilized by motorcycles for years to make themselves more visible to other vehicles. Studies have shown that the use of headlights during the day can reduce the chances of a vehicle being in an accident by as much as 23%. In California, drivers are legally required on certain stretches of highway to run headlights during the day to reduce the number of crashes.

Daylight Headlight Section on Highway 99

All vehicles on the 29-mile length of Highway 99, between Chico and Red Bluff, California, are required to have their headlights on at all times. When the mandate was first given, officials said the area was notoriously plagued by a high number of motor vehicle accidents along the narrow, winding road. Officials worked for more than 18-months to have the initiative passed. Caltrans workers then began installing daytime headlight warning signs along the highway to remind drivers of the new measure.

Did the Daylight Headlight Section Actually Work?

Yes. In the seven years following the implementation of the daylight headlight section, the results were impressive. On the Tehama portion of this daylight headlight section, there were:
  • 2% fewer daytime crashes resulting in property damage.
  • 8% fewer crashes involving injuries.
  • No fatal crashes on this stretch from 2014-2017.
According to KRCR News, crashes decreased even while the average number of cars on the road increased by 4.2%. The success of the daylight headlight section on Highway 99 was cited by safety advocates who wanted similar requirements in other parts of California. In early 2019, a daylight headlight section was added on Highway 70 south of Oroville in hopes of achieving similar results to those on Highway 99.

Benefits of Daytime Headlights

Studies show varied results of leaving headlights on during the day, but many suggest that they do reduce the risks of being involved in crashes. That’s true for both standard headlights turned on during the day and daytime running lights, which are designed solely to be kept on during daylight. Keeping headlights on during the day is also beneficial when visibility is low due to inclement weather.

California’s Headlight Laws

California’s headlight laws state that drivers in California are required to use headlights:
  • In the dark.
  • When continuous use of windshield wipers is needed.
  • When visibility is less than 1,000 feet.

We’re Advocates of Daylight Headlight Usage

The number of California car accidents could be significantly reduced if all drivers adopted the use of daytime running headlights. That’s why the San Francisco personal injury lawyers with Berg Injury Lawyers ask that all drivers always turn on their headlights, regardless of the time of day, before driving anywhere. If you’d like to learn more about California’s road and vehicle laws, here are some more resources you might enjoy: This story was originally published in May 2012. It was updated in October 2020.