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By Dialynn Dwyer @dia_dwyer Staff | 04.06.15 | 12:39 PM

State police warned that beginning Tuesday drivers who fail to turn on their headlights when they have their windshield wipers on for inclement weather, or when driving in low light conditions, will be breaking the law.

Massachusetts State Police spokesperson Dave Procopio told the goal of the changes, signed into law in January, is crash reduction.

“The visibility of a driver can be significantly reduced in inclement weather, in rain and snow, and also low light conditions,” he said.

Starting April 7, drivers will be required to turn on headlights and taillights when their windshield wipers are on, from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise, and when there are low light or weather conditions, like fog, that prevent vehicles or people from being seen at 500 feet.

“It allows motorists to see you better and allows you to better see other motorists,” Procopio said.

The law requires headlights be switched on, so daytime running lights will not be sufficient, according to police.

Procopio said people are not always quick to turn their lights on when there is a change to low light at dusk and motorists are not conditioned to turn their lights on during the day.

“This law seeks to remedy that by giving them an incentive to do that,” he said.

Violation of the law is considered a surchargeable minor vehicle traffic law violation. Procopio said drivers cited for failure to comply will receive a $5 fine and will be subject to a surcharge from their insurance company, which usually results in a premium increase for about six years.

“That’s more of a big deal and is something most motorists really try to avoid,” he said. “That’s the stick, and the carrot is that you’re making conditions safer for you and other motorists.”



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