Is it illegal to have the Light On in the Car while Driving?

Posted by

The topic of whether it is legal to drive with the interior lights on in a vehicle is a subject of much debate and misinformation. This article aims to clarify the legal standing of using interior car lights while driving in the United States.

Related posts

Federal and State Regulations

No federal law specifically prohibits the use of interior lights in a moving vehicle. State laws may vary, but most do not directly outlaw this practice.

“While there are no laws that explicitly make the use of an interior dome light illegal, drivers can be cited for anything that impairs their ability to drive safely. This can include the use of interior lights if they’re considered distracting,” explains Sarah Johnson, a traffic law expert.

Enforcement and Officer Discretion

Police officers have discretion to stop and cite drivers if they believe an interior light is creating a distraction or hindering the driver’s visibility.

Safety and Best Practices

Driving Conditions and Distractions

Safety organizations often advise that drivers minimize potential distractions, including the use of interior lights, which can affect night vision and concentration.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), “Using interior lights while driving at night can create reflections on the windshield and windows, compromising visibility and increasing the risk of an accident.”

Law Enforcement Views

Officers may stop a vehicle if they believe the driver’s visibility is compromised by interior lights, and while it may not be the primary cause of the stop, it can contribute to a citation.

Misunderstandings and Parental Advice

Common Beliefs

Many drivers have been led to believe by parents or peers that using the car light while driving is illegal, though this is not typically codified in law.

“It’s a widespread belief that it’s illegal to drive with your dome light on, but in reality, it’s more about the potential risk of distraction rather than a direct violation of the law,” states Michael Roberts, a former traffic officer.

Expert Recommendations

Avoiding Unnecessary Use

Experts recommend that interior lights be used only briefly when necessary, to prevent any decrease in the driver’s ability to see outside the vehicle.


It is not categorically illegal to drive with the car’s interior light on. However, because it can be a safety concern, it is best to keep the use of these lights to a minimum while the vehicle is in motion.


How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *