According to the California Vehicle Code, "No vehicle shall be driven at any time with the parking lamps lighted except when the lamps are being used as turn signal lamps or when the headlamps are also lighted."

Why is it illegal to, for example, use the parking lights as daytime running lights (if the car doesn't have DRLs)?

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    Hi, welcome to the site. In general we don't do "why is the law X?" questions as that is the domain of politics, not law. – Dale M May 19 '17 at 8:28
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    And the law is old enough that there won't be evidence from floor debates. – user6726 May 19 '17 at 14:36
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    Ah, my apologies. – PunctualEmoticon May 19 '17 at 19:32
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    Presumably for the same reason it's illegal to color your headlights red and your brake lights white: the potential for confusion. – Mark May 20 '17 at 1:49
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    If someone sees your car with parking lights only on, they will reasonably presume your car is parked. – Tim Lymington May 20 '17 at 9:13

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