It is a commonly mistaken belief of many commercial drivers, DOT inspectors, and law enforcement officers that every accessory or auxiliary light be working at all times. However, according to the 2014 FMCSA regulation contained in part 393.99(a): “All lamps required by this subpart shall be capable of being operated at all times. This paragraph shall not be construed to require that any auxiliary or additional lamp be capable of operating at all times.” (The information above refers to only federal regulations, some states may require that any or all accessory lights be operating at all times.)

The biggest issues presented by the confusion surrounding this regulation are the consequences that an inaccurate or unspecific citation could cause a driver. After all, an inoperative required light citation could result in a hefty fine, add up to 2 points to a drivers record, and 2 more CSA points could be applied to the carrier’s rating.

That being said, there are a few measures that drivers can take to protect themselves from accumulating unnecessary points on their driving records. First and foremost – request specificity. In the event that a law enforcement officer or DOT inspector tickets a driver for inoperative lights, it would be in his or her best interest to ask that the exact inoperative light be specified on the citation.

Although drivers may not be able to dodge a fine for an inoperative required light citation, inappropriate points in the FMCSA’s database can always be contested using the DataQ’s system which be accessed here.

We’re interested to know if any of our fans have had experience with receiving an inaccurate citation, and how the process of contesting the points went for you – if in fact, you chose to fight it. Send your thoughts about the experience to [email protected].