Ch. 347 Cross-reference
See also ch. Trans 305
, Wis. adm. code.
Words and phrases defined.
Words and phrases defined in s. 340.01
are used in the same sense in this chapter unless a different definition is specifically provided.
Applicability of chapter. 347.02(1)(1)
No provision of this chapter requiring vehicles to be equipped in a particular manner is applicable to any of the following vehicles unless the vehicle is expressly included within or made subject to the particular provision:
Electric scooters and electric personal assistive mobility devices.
No provision of this chapter requiring or prohibiting certain types of equipment on a vehicle is applicable when such vehicle is not operated upon or occupying a highway.
No provision of this chapter requiring or prohibiting certain types of equipment on a vehicle is applicable to an imported vehicle which has been granted entry into the United States by the federal government solely for the purpose of test or experiment.
The exemption under par. (a)
is limited to the one-year period following the entry of the vehicle.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the use of additional parts and accessories on any vehicle not inconsistent with this chapter.
Beginning July 1, 1960, the provisions of this chapter covering lighting shall be applicable to all state, county and municipal trucks, truck tractors, trailers and semitrailers.
If a vehicle registered under s. 341.25 (1) (a)
, or 341.269
has equipment which was designated by the manufacturer as optional equipment in the model year the vehicle was manufactured, it is not necessary for such equipment to be in operating condition unless it replaces equipment which is required by law to be both present and functioning.
Notwithstanding the requirements of this chapter, the department may establish special equipment standards for vehicles operated under s. 343.135
which differ from the equipment standards established under this chapter. Equipment standards established under this subsection may not be less stringent than any federal standards established for the vehicle.
The vehicle equipment requirements for a street modified vehicle shall be the same as the vehicle equipment requirements for a vehicle of the same type and model year that is not a street modified vehicle. The vehicle equipment requirements for a replica vehicle or a homemade vehicle specified in s. 341.268 (1) (b) 2.
shall be the same as the vehicle equipment requirements for a vehicle of the same type and model year as the vehicle used for purposes of the reproduction.
Sale of prohibited equipment unlawful.
No person shall sell for highway use any device, appliance, accessory or replacement part the use of which on a motor vehicle is unlawful.
Owner responsible for improperly equipped vehicle.
Any owner of a vehicle not equipped as required by this chapter who knowingly causes or permits such vehicle to be operated on a highway in violation of this chapter is guilty of the violation the same as if he or she had operated the vehicle personally. No demerit points shall be assessed or counted pursuant to s. 343.32
against the operator's license of the owner of the vehicle by reason of the owner's conviction of any such violation unless the owner was personally operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
History: 1989 a. 105
Reciprocity agreements as to equipment. 347.05(1)(1)
The secretary, with the approval of the governor, is authorized to enter into reciprocal agreements with the duly authorized representatives of other jurisdictions exempting the residents of those jurisdictions from details of vehicle equipment requirements of this state which are particularly burdensome to residents of such other jurisdictions operating vehicles in this state, provided the law of such other jurisdiction requires vehicles to be equipped in a manner rendering them substantially as safe as those equipped in the manner required by the laws of this state. The agreements shall provide substantially like exemptions for residents of this state when operating vehicles in such other jurisdiction.
This section does not authorize reciprocity agreements as to laws governing the size and weight of vehicles.
History: 1977 c. 29
s. 1654 (7) (c)
When lighted lamps required. 347.06(1)(1)
Except as provided in subs. (2)
, no person may operate a vehicle upon a highway during hours of darkness or during a period of limited visibility unless all headlamps, tail lamps, and clearance lamps with which the vehicle is required to be equipped are lighted. Parking lamps as described in s. 347.27
may not be used for this purpose. This subsection does not apply if lamps that are automatically activated whenever the vehicle is started are in use, if the headlamps are of sufficient intensity to satisfy the requirements for daytime running lamps under 49 CFR 571.108
Headlamps need not be lighted on a towed vehicle or on a vehicle having at least 2 lighted adverse weather lamps on the front thereof and being operated under the circumstances described in s. 347.26 (3) (b)
The operator of a vehicle shall keep all lamps and reflectors with which such vehicle is required to be equipped reasonably clean and in proper working condition at all times.
A duly authorized warden, as defined in s. 24.01 (11)
, may operate a vehicle owned or leased by the department of natural resources upon a highway during hours of darkness or during a period of limited visibility without lighted headlamps, tail lamps, or clearance lamps in the performance of the warden's duties under s. 29.924 (2)
Special restrictions on lamps and the use thereof. 347.07(1)(1)
Whenever a motor vehicle equipped with headlamps also is equipped with any adverse weather lamps, spotlamps or auxiliary lamps, or with any other lamp on the front thereof projecting a beam of intensity greater than 300 candlepower, not more than a total of 4 of any such lamps or combinations thereof on the front of the vehicle shall be lighted at any one time when such vehicle is upon a highway.
Except as provided in sub. (3)
, or as otherwise expressly authorized or required by this chapter, no person shall operate any vehicle or equipment on a highway which has displayed thereon:
Any color of light other than white or amber visible from directly in front; or
Any color of light other than red on the rear; or
A motorcycle may be equipped with a lighting device that illuminates the ground directly beneath the motorcycle if all of the following apply:
The lighting device is not visible to approaching vehicles.
The lighting device does not display a red, blue, or amber light.
The lighting device does not display a flashing, oscillating, or rotating light.
History: 2015 a. 27
Determining the visibility distance and mounted height of lamps. 347.08(1)(1)
Whenever this chapter states a requirement as to distance from which certain lamps and devices shall render objects visible or within which such lamps or devices shall be visible, such distance shall be measured during hours of darkness under normal atmospheric conditions and upon a straight, level, unlighted highway unless a different time, direction or condition is expressly stated.
Whenever this chapter requires a lamp or device to be mounted at a certain height, the distance shall be measured from the center of the lamp or device to the level ground upon which the vehicle stands when such vehicle is without load.
Headlamps on motor vehicles. 347.09(1)(1)
No person may operate a motor vehicle on a highway during hours of darkness or during a period of limited visibility, unless the vehicle is equipped as follows:
Except as provided in pars. (b)
, every motor vehicle shall be equipped with at least 2 headlamps, which headlamps shall comply with the requirements and limitations set forth in sub. (2)
and s. 347.10
and shall be mounted symmetrically with respect to the vertical plane extending through the longitudinal axis of the vehicle with at least one on each side of the center of the front of the motor vehicle.
Every moped or motorcycle shall be equipped with at least one and not more than 2 headlamps, which headlamps shall comply with the requirements and limitations set forth in sub. (2)
and s. 347.10
Every motor bicycle or vehicle registered under s. 341.067
and operated by a person licensed under s. 343.075
shall be equipped with at least one and not more than 2 headlamps, which headlamps shall comply with the requirements and limitations set forth in sub. (2)
and s. 347.11
Every headlamp on a motor vehicle shall be located at a height of not more than 54 inches nor less than 24 inches.
Headlamp specifications for motor vehicles other than mopeds and motor bicycles. 347.10(1)(1)
Except as provided in sub. (4)
, the headlamps or the auxiliary driving lamp or the auxiliary passing lamp or combination thereof on motor vehicles other than mopeds and motor bicycles shall be so arranged that the driver may select at will between distributions of light projected to different elevations. No such lamp shall have any type of decorative covering that restricts the amount of light emitted when the lamp is in use. Such lamps may, in addition, be so arranged that such selection can be made automatically. This subsection does not apply to any type of decorative covering originally equipped on the vehicle at the time of manufacture and sale.
Multiple-beam headlamps shall comply with the following requirements:
There shall be an uppermost distribution of light or composite beam so aimed and of such intensity as to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 350 feet ahead for all conditions of loading;
There shall be a lowermost distribution of light or composite beam so aimed and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 100 feet ahead, and on a straight level road under any condition of loading none of the high-intensity portion of the beam shall be so directed as to strike the eyes of an approaching driver.
No person shall sell after July 1, 1958, any new motor vehicle equipped with multiple beam headlamps and no person shall operate any motor vehicle sold new after July 1, 1958, and equipped with multiple beam headlamps unless such vehicle also is equipped with a beam indicator which is lighted whenever the uppermost distribution of light from the headlamps is in use and which is not otherwise lighted. Such indicator shall be so designed and located that when lighted it will be readily visible without glare to the driver of the vehicle so equipped. This subsection does not apply to motorcycles.
Any motor vehicle may be operated during hours of darkness or during a period of limited visibility when equipped with 2 lighted lamps upon the front of the motor vehicle capable of revealing persons and objects 75 feet ahead in lieu of lamps required by subs. (1)
if the vehicle at no time is operated at a speed in excess of 20 miles per hour. No lighted lamp under this subsection may have any type of decorative covering that restricts the amount of light emitted when the lighted lamp is in use. This subsection does not apply to any type of decorative covering originally equipped on the vehicle at the time of manufacture and sale.
Headlamp specifications for mopeds and motor bicycles.
The headlamps on mopeds or motor bicycles may be of the single-beam or multiple-beam type but in either event shall comply with the following requirements and limitations:
The headlamp shall be an electric headlamp and the current shall be supplied by a wet battery and electric generator, by a current-generating coil incorporated into the magneto or by a generator driven directly by the motor by means of gears, friction wheel, chain or belt.
The headlamp shall display a white light of sufficient illuminating power to reveal any person, vehicle or substantial object at a distance of 200 feet ahead and shall be so adjusted or operated that the glaring light rays therefrom are not directed into the eyes of the driver of any oncoming vehicle. No headlamp shall have any type of decorative covering that restricts the amount of light emitted when the headlamp is in use. This subsection does not apply to any type of decorative covering originally equipped on the vehicle at the time of manufacture and sale.
If the moped or motor bicycle is equipped with a multiple-beam headlamp, the upper beam shall meet the minimum requirements set forth in sub. (2)
and the lowermost beam shall meet the requirements applicable to a lowermost distribution of light as set forth in s. 347.10 (2) (b)
If the moped or motor bicycle is equipped with a single-beam lamp, such lamp shall be so aimed that when the vehicle is loaded none of the high-intensity portion of light, at a distance of 25 feet ahead, projects higher than the level of the center of the lamp from which it comes.
History: 1983 a. 243
; 1995 a. 346
Modulating headlamps for motorcycles, motor bicycles or mopeds.
A motorcycle, motor bicycle or moped may be equipped with and use a means of modulating the upper beam of the headlamp between a high and a lower brightness at a rate of 200 to 280 changes per minute. A headlamp may not be modulated during hours of darkness.
History: 1981 c. 52
; 1983 a. 243
Use of multiple-beam headlamps. 347.12(1)(1)
Whenever a motor vehicle is being operated on a highway during hours of darkness or during a period of limited visibility, the operator shall use a distribution of light or composite beam directed high enough and of sufficient intensity to reveal a person or vehicle at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to the following requirements and limitations:
Whenever the operator of a vehicle equipped with multiple-beam headlamps approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, the operator shall dim, depress or tilt the vehicle's headlights so that the glaring rays are not directed into the eyes of the operator of the other vehicle. This paragraph does not prohibit an operator from intermittently flashing the vehicle's high-beam headlamps at an oncoming vehicle whose high-beam headlamps are lit.
Whenever the operator of a vehicle equipped with multiple-beam headlamps approaches or follows another vehicle within 500 feet to the rear, the operator shall dim, depress, or tilt the vehicle's headlights so that the glaring rays are not reflected into the eyes of the operator of the other vehicle. This paragraph does not prohibit an operator from intermittently flashing the vehicle's high-beam headlamps as provided under par. (a)
Sub. (1) (b) does not require proof that the headlights reflected into the eyes of another driver. The statute directs drivers operating within 500 feet to dim their headlights and concludes by describing the purpose of this requirement: to prevent the glaring rays from reflecting into another driver's eyes. An interpretation that would require an ordinary driver using high beams to know whether his or her headlights will impair another driver's vision is absurd. State v. Tomaszewski, 2010 WI App 51
, 324 Wis. 2d 433
, 782 N.W.2d 725