KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Winter is approaching and the days will slowly become shorter, resulting in more people driving to and from work in the dark. That's why October's Motor Vehicle Lighting Equipment Check Campaign is so important.

This year's theme is "Light Test: Preparation is Worthwhile," and although vehicle illumination is a common subject of the promotion, motorist eyesight is a new focus for the campaign.

"Ensuring vehicle lighting works properly is essential when driving, but making sure you can see properly while driving is paramount," said Alfredo Nogueras, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Safety director. "If your vision is poor, you may not see hazards on the road or possibly create hazards for other drivers. People should make it a habit to have their vision checked as well as their vehicle illumination every year."

Every October, drivers are encouraged to have their vehicle lighting inspected to identify and correct deficiencies prior to the dangerous fall and winter driving conditions. Participating Army and Air Force Exchange Service Car Care Centers, U. S. Forces Vehicle Inspection Stations and local auto repair shops may provide free inspections in support of the Motor Vehicle Lighting campaign, Oct. 1 to 31.

The following items will be examined, during a vehicle light function test:

• Mist, search and other permitted auxiliary lights
• High and low beams
• Parking lights
• Brake lights
• Marker lights
• Hazard lights
• Direction indicators
• Fog lights

In addition to lighting inspections at vehicle inspection stations and garages, AAFES Car Care Centers will also check windshield wipers and tires as well. Vehicle owners are responsible for the cost of repair work to correct any deficiencies. In addition to completing automobile safety inspections, U.S. Forces Vehicle Inspection Stations will also offer the lighting systems inspections.

Additionally, according to Army in Europe Regulation 190-1/USAFE Instruction 31-202, paragraph 3-3. Mechanical Standards "c. First-line supervisors or platoon sergeants will visually inspect subordinates' POVs at least every 180 days for violations of basic safety standards (for example, worn or bald tires, the wrong type of tires for the current season, inoperative lights, broken windshields and glass, dangerous projections caused by rust, accidents) and record their findings on DA Form 3626. Supervisors will enforce basic safety standards by ensuring their subordinates do not operate unsafe vehicles until the vehicle is repaired, registered as nonoperational, or properly disposed of."

"The Motor Vehicle Lighting Equipment Check Campaign and annual vision examinations with an optometrist will help keep you, your family and other drivers safe on the road during the colder and darker winter months," Nogueras concluded. "Ensure you can see what's on the road and you can be seen by other drivers -- it's important for everyone's safety."