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A couple of months ago we attended a Malaysia Automotive Institute-Society of Automotive Engineers technical talk on tyre-related UN regulations and standards; now we’ve just come back from one on those pertaining to vehicle lighting and signalling.

Eleven new UN regulations on lighting and signalling are set to be enforced on July 1, 2017, to join the 22 lighting regulations and one Malaysian Standard (MS ISO 303 Installation of Lighting and Signalling Devices for Motor Vehicles and Their Trailers) already in force for new vehicle type approvals (VTA) in Malaysia.

Included in the aforementioned 11 are R87 Daytime Running Light, R128 LED Light Sources and R123 Adaptive Front Lighting Systems, while an additional two – R31 Halogen Sealed Beam Headlamps and R88 Motorcycle Retroreflective Tyres – are set to be gazetted on July 1, 2017 for enforcement in 2020.

You will recognise R88 from the earlier talk on tyre-related regulations, but the desire to gazette R31 will no doubt raise a few eyebrows – sealed-beam headlamps are a very rare sight on today’s roads, but according to Road Transport Department (JPJ) automotive engineering division assistant director Arif Fahmi Abdul Wahab, this ensures the regulations span more vehicle types.

A total of 10 lighting-related UN regulations came into force at the start of the year, namely R4 Illumination of Rear Registration Plates, R19 Front Fog Lamps, R23 Reversing Lamps, R37 Filament Lamps, R38 Rear Fog Lamps, R45 Headlamp Cleaners, R48 Installation of Lights (non-HID), R77 Parking Lamps, R91 Side Marker Lamps and R119 Cornering Lamps.

You’ll notice two R48s in the list – the 06-series (enforced three years ago) covers HID installation, while the recently-enforced 03-series covers the installation of all other lights.

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As such, the 03-series R48 is an important regulation here where VTAs are concerned – on top of meeting their respective spec requirements, all lighting and signalling components must conform to R48, which takes into account the dimensions of the vehicle(s) they are fitted to. Alternatively, the components may satisfy Malaysian Standard MS ISO 303.

Basic lighting and signalling components must also satisfy the specifications set out in Kaedah-kaedah Kenderaan Motor (Pembuatan & Pengunaan) 1959 – these cover head and tail lamps, brake lights, reflectors, directional indicators as well as side and marker lamps for heavy goods vehicles. Parameters include colour, number of light units, beam distance and area, frequency (indicator flashes), visibility and their location(s) in relation to the vehicle and the road.

An aside on VTAs – it was revealed at the talk that from July 1, 2017, the product labelling mandatory for Puspakom inspections of CBU vehicles should include the manufacturer’s name, VTA certificate serial number, VIN and chassis numbers, Gross Vehicle Weight, Gross Combination Weight (where the vehicle is used for towing), plus front and rear axle load ratings.

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This information must be displayed on a plate or sticker at a suitable, visible and legible location anywhere on the vehicle, but it is not known yet if the label must comply with the format shown above.

There exist 133 UN regulations in total under the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP29) – the aim is to incorporate a total of 126 into Malaysian law by 2020, JPJ automotive engineering director Ir Haji Mohamad Dalib said previously.

At present, a total of 77 UN regulations (78 if you count the double R48) are already in force for the type approval of new vehicles in Malaysia. These include ECE R94 (40% front overlap crash testing), ECE R95 (side impact crash testing), ECE R66 (bus, coach and truck superstructure strength and roll-over testing) and ECE R43 (safety glass installation and testing). Most, if not all of them, are concerned with vehicle and occupant safety.

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Malaysia was accepted by the UN on April 4, 2006 as a signatory to the 1958 Agreement on Reciprocal Recognition and 1998 Agreement on Global Technical Regulations, under WP29. As a result, Malaysia may test and certify an automotive product and export that product to 51 contracting nations without the need for further testing. These products will bear the stamp ‘E52’, which can be issued by JPJ.

Arif revealed previously that there are plans for Malaysia to sign the 1997 Agreement Concerning the Adoption of Uniform Conditions for Periodical Technical Inspections, which could pave the way for standardised periodic vehicle inspections, such as the Voluntary Vehicle Inspection proposed in NAP 2014.

Note that these UN regulations only apply where that component or system is on the vehicle in question, to ensure they adhere to specification – it does not mean, for instance, that new vehicles must have cornering lamps, headlamp washers, DRLs or fog lamps in order to be type-approved in Malaysia.