Light Bars and the law?

While becoming very common on 4wds the legalities are still very grey, especially from state to state. It has been a couple of years since this was last discussed at length on the forum (except WA changes this year). So I’m hoping this post can be a place for people to deposit any research they have done on the legalities of light bars and there mounting to vehicles.

I purchased my current 4wd about a year ago and in the process of setting it up I was keen to have good lighting for the safety factor. I live in a regional area where you see dead kangaroos on the side of the road every day. So good lighting and a bulbar are really essential for safety.

So before I went and spent the money I did my research and also called into my local police station.

1. The lamps should, as far as is possible, be installed symmetrically in pairs to the front of the vehicle.
2. If lamps are not fitted as pairs (e.g. one, three etc), they must be fitted to the front of the vehicle, symmetrically about the centre.
3. A maximum of four driving lamps (including LED light bars) can be fitted to a vehicle in addition to the vehicle’s main beam headlamps.
4. The lamp/s must be installed in a way that the light produced does not cause the driver of the vehicle discomfort either directly or by reflection.
5. The lamp/s must only come on when the main-beam (high beam) headlamps are used, and must automatically turn off when the main-beam headlamps are turned off.
6. The lamps must not obstruct the driver’s view of the road

To me that all seams very reasonable. Point 4 would seam to rule light bars on the roof given the possibility of reflection of the bonnet and side mirrors. Point 6 seamed a bit vague so I did a bit more digging and found the following

Drivers field of view clarification

So my understanding of the drivers view of the road is that a driver from his/her normal seating position must be able to see the road surface 11 metres ahead of his/her seating position. This would suggest to me that you can mount lights to your bulbar as long as your ability to see the road surface 11 metres ahead is not impaired.

Anyway, this is what I have found in my research for Victoria. Has anyone found conflicting or clearer info for Vic. I’m keen to be as up to date as possible.

Also, It would be great to get a summary for all the other states given the reason most of us are on this site is because we like to travel.


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Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 13:05

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 13:05

It would appear the planets are aligning and the states are coming to one agreement.

WA laws are almost identically worded to what you have posted above. The one exception would be that the light bars can not sit on the top bar of the bullbar.

I have included a WA Dept of Transport Info and safety bulletin that explains and shows pictures of what is and isn't allowed.



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Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 13:18

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 13:18
All states are getting close to being on the same page....with a few slight differences..

The main one that gets people talking is the mounting on top of a bull bar......if it's no higher than the bonnet height ( at the front ) you will have no problem, but as pointed out, the 11M rule will rule out nearly all other ones mounted up there. That's if you ever get pulled over for it ?? If you do get pulled over, the copper isn't going to measure that 11M, he will just defect it and let you worry about getting it cleared !

FollowupID: 861713

Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 14:53

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 14:53
Point 4 is pretty arbitrary, I have light bar mounted to the front of my roof rack and it does not cause me any reflection issues or discomfort.

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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 14:57

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 14:57
Forgot to add this reply from VicRoads via social media to a question on roof area mounting.

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Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 16:50

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 16:50
Only because you live in Victoria... If you live in ACT or WA light bars are illegal on the roof. That's where the states still differ. Didn't check Qld or SA.

FollowupID: 861727

Follow Up By: 2000 Red Rodeo - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 17:12

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 17:12
It makes it interesting when you travel.

I'm plannng a trip to the Kimberley next year. In Vic i'm legal, when i cross the border into WA i suddenly become illegal.

Not sure if there is a work around. I have the lightbar well attached to prevent theft which makes it a difficult job to remove quickly.
FollowupID: 861730

Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 17:49

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 17:49
That's a question you'd have to ask someone in the know ? Not sure if it applies to travellers or only 4wds registered in WA ?
FollowupID: 861732

Follow Up By: The Landy - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 19:30

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 19:30
The requirement is that you meet/comply with the regulations for the State in which the vehicle is registered.

But always a "tricky" one to argue roadside...

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Reply By: Roachie Silverado - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 15:33

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 15:33
From my understanding of it, it is point #1 that is the one that will prevent a "conventional" vehicle having a roof-rack-mounted LED bar.....because it is not at the front of the vehicle.

Opposite to "conventional" in this instance, would be a "cab-over" truck or van....including an OKA for example.

On my previous rig (a 100 series Landcruiser), I had a LED bar installed on the front of the roof rack, but I installed it within an aluminium "box", the front of which could be flipped down at an angle of about 45 degrees. That way, the LED bar was totally hidden when I wanted it to be and the floor of the box also acted as a deflector so the light didn't shine on my bonnet.


I was going to do the same thing on my current truck (apart from not having a roof rack, so was going to mount it on the front of the cargo canopy), but have instead settled for a 4-row LED bar in the middle opening of the bullbar, with the Fyrlyts either side:


As for the 11 meter rule, I've got enough issues already without adding a light bar to the top of the bullbar. The Chev has a 6" lift AND the top rung of the TUFF bullbar is quite a bit higher than the "front" of the bonnet.... (SIGH)...
AnswerID: 593516

Follow Up By: 2000 Red Rodeo - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 17:01

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 17:01
Love the set up.

My rigs a dual cab patrol. Out the front you can see everything (out the back is another issue??). Even with the lightbar on the bar I have no trouble meeting the 11 metre requirement. But it still makes you worry about being pulled over by police officer lets say with a different interpretation.

FollowupID: 861729

Reply By: Member - TonyV - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 19:33

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 19:33
Geoff, now that's a contentious question.

I have always believed that headlights and spotlights were to be no higher than 1200 mm.
this diagram is from the ComLaw site for current ADR 1300 regarding vehicles. ADR 1300 (click here)

I understand that people like to put them on the top of bull bars and on roof racks, I see that some states have different interpretations.

No wonder its so bloody difficult for the average motorist.

My opinion is that additional lights should be no higher than 1200, unless set up as work lights and wired that way.

With roof lights on the driver looks down a tunnel of light and may not see items outside that tunnel or even on-coming headlights, especially when driving over a slight rise, roof lights will blind an oncoming driver until they are seen by the driver sitting below the light bar.
Even travelling the same way when someone a kilometer back on main beam blinds you for the next 15 minutes hopefully dipping lights just before your retinas burn out...

Then the problem apart from reflected light, is going from daylight with all lights on to darkness when dipping.

I do a lot of distance driving, between Cairns, Townsville and Mackay. I do have LED spotlights on my 4WD but over the past few years I have learnt not to always use them and upgraded my dip and main beam with Osram Halogen replacements giving 130% more light without the increase in wattage. On coming HID and LED's can still affect this old fellas eyes.

Most trucks lights are below 1200mm (have a look next time your are out)

AnswerID: 593529

Follow Up By: 2000 Red Rodeo - Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 22:15

Monday, Dec 07, 2015 at 22:15
That sure would make it simple to comply with.
FollowupID: 861748

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 08:12

Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 08:12
Yep Even I can follow that. And it makes sense.

We have not changed our lights apart from fitting yellow fog lights in the front bar. Statndard lighting is all we need as we rarely travel at night. Prefer to be camped up with a tinny in the hand. So spent the money else where.

PS Work lights I believe are not to be pointed straight ahead whether they work or not. Read that a day or two ago.

FollowupID: 861771

Follow Up By: Roachie Silverado - Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 15:19

Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 15:19
These lighting laws are just ONE area that our "brilliant" senator, Ricky Muir (of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party) should be concentrating on. I realise there's not much he can do the change the laws (as they are all state-based.....which is just SOOO BLOODY STUPID), but he should at least be lobbying the states to get their acts together so we can have ONE set of uniform road rules.

Of course, the MUCH better solution would be to do-away with state governments altogether...but sadly I can't ever see that happening while so many people have got their snouts in the rough.
FollowupID: 861814

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