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Q: Pulled over for green headlights?

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I got pulled over today for having green headlights I bought the truck right before spring of this year and it had them when I got it. I've driven around with them on passed multiple cops and never been stopped until today he gave me a fix it ticket so I can fix them or pay $20 and noticed the site says $10 so wondering why it would be more and why I first got pulled over for it to day asked the cop and he said it's their discretion on whether they want to bust for it or not which I don't think is right so one cop will leave me alone about it but another can pull me over and bust me for it?

My car has 290000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Basically, only headlights that emit "...

Basically, only headlights that emit "white" light are legal for use on public roads in the United States. The legal (regulatory) authority for this color requirement is set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations at 49 CFR 571.108 - Standard No. 108; Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment. See, in particular, Table I-a in that Rule. YourMechanic’s FAQ on headlight colors will give you further background.

With regard to your question, which is a good one, the enforcement of traffic laws, and motor vehicle equipment safety standards, is left largely to the discretion of individual local police officers. Very seriously, if we look at these laws hypertechnically and literally, we all know that quite literally 99% of violations go unaddressed even when, as you are pointing out, the violation occurs right in view of the police officer. At present, a notable category of this wholesale, large scale violation involves speed limits. As you may know, speed limits of late have been raised to as high as 70 MPH in many urban, populated areas. Despite the new high limit, now everybody routinely goes 80 MPH and we have all seen officers running radar where car after car whizzes by at 80 MPH, but the officer is apparently only interested in the ones who are now doing 90 MPH. That is, the officer sees practically everyone violating the speed limit law and thus has to focus on "particular" violations. At any rate, it is sort of socially accepted that although all these violations do occur and go unpunished, if you are in violation and happen to get caught there’s not much you can do about it legally or otherwise. In your case, you’re actually lucky on two counts: 1) there is no financial penalty; and 2) it’s a good idea anyway for your own safety to change to lights that emit white light. If you need assistance procuring the parts and/or the installation by all means feel free to follow up with YourMechanic. If you have additional concerns, please don’t hesitate to re-contact us.

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