A Brighter Reality with Safer Headlights

by Gwen Newell
driving in rain|

The federal government has given the green light for modern, safer headlights on cars in the United States, and research by Automotive Engineering helped make a compelling case for allowing the new technology.

final rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation allowing automakers to install adaptive driving beam (ADB) headlighting systems on new vehicles sold in the United States was published Feb. 22. AAA Public Affairs advocated for the inclusion of language in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act requiring the federal government to update safety standards for headlamps and allow these headlights, which are already legal in Europe. AAA research was referenced 22 times in the rulemaking, demonstrating the direct, clear influence that AAA is having on vehicle design.

Two studies by Automotive Engineering, in partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, exposed the limitations of headlights used in the United States.

In 2015, Automotive Engineering research showed that halogen headlights, found in most U.S. vehicles, failed to safely illuminate unlit roadways at speeds as low as 40 mph. At higher speeds, these headlights do not give drivers enough time to see, react and brake to avoid a pedestrian or object in the roadway.

In 2019, AAA partnered with Mercedes Benz and Audi to obtain European vehicles with adaptive headlamps that could be used for AAA’s independent testing. Adaptive driving beam headlights allows for “always on” high beam, while shuttering the light for other drivers to prevent glare. The results showed these vehicle’s sophisticated headlights greatly increase roadway lighting when compared with U.S. low beam headlights.

We are thankful to AAA research for making safer headlights a reality!

You may also like

Leave a Comment