VCA approves Jimmy Beam light installation

A decision taken earlier this month by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) paves the way for the innovative downward-facing light system, Jimmy Beam Down Lights, to be fitted as part of a truck’s or trailer’s original equipment.

The amber LED lights, each 1W, illuminate the ground immediately next to a truck or trailer, helping drivers pinpoint the position of rear wheels on the road in their mirrors at night, for example. Inventor Jim Thomson said they also improve safety between trucks and vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians, particularly in poor visibility.

Until now, lack of type approval meant they could only be retrofitted in the aftermarket to completed vehicles or trailers.
Now, VCA has agreed down lights can be installed before type approval and registration, so they can be installed by the likes of bodybuilders, trailer manufacturers and truck dealers. 

Although they still cannot be type-approved – there is no UN regulation covering downward-facing lights – VCA says that it will deem the lights as ‘not present’ during type approval.

This hinges upon a Y-shaped connecting cable being omitted at type approval. The cable – unique to Jimmy Beam – can then be added to make the lights work. VCA also insists that the lights’ speed-sensitive function must be operational, so they come on with the ignition but go out when vehicle speed exceeds 15km/h. The vehicle owner can change a switch setting in the system’s control box, keeping the lights illuminated whenever side-lights are on.

“I have already had an influx of inquiries from truck and trailer manufacturers following the VCA’s decision,” said Thomson. He believes that eventually there will be a UN type-approval regulation covering downward-facing lights.