Feds Approve High-Tech Headlights That Won’t Blind Oncoming Drivers
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Apr 15, 2022 in Auto Accident
If you drive anything lower than a semi-truck, you probably know—and loathe—the oncoming driver with the headlights so bright you would think they were trying to signal the International Space Station. In the middle of the night, these high beams can seem like they are competing with the sun, especially when you are traveling a rural mountain road.
Adaptive Headlights in NHTSA Policies
Thankfully, being temporarily blinded by another vehicle’s headlights may soon become a thing of the past. Designed to mitigate this exact issue, technology for adaptive headlights has long existed in European countries. However, thanks to outdated National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) policies, the technology was banned from use in the United States.
The NHTSA is notorious for moving slowly to update safety measures mandated by Congress. In fact, the Associated Press reported last year that the NHTSA is years overdue on at least 13 auto safety rule updates based on deadlines by Congress. In many of these cases, the updates are opposed by powerful industries as they claim they are too expensive or restrictive.
Adaptive headlight technology has been in the United Kingdom since 2006. Ford vehicles sold in Britain have benefited from the technology for many years and still do today.
The U.S. federal government is working to bring American driver safety guidelines up to meet Europe’s more modern regulations. Recently, the feds were able to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill, finally permitting the use of adaptive headlights on American soil. With the new bill, the hassle of constantly flicking between separate high and low beam headlights could become a forgotten annoyance.
How Adaptive Headlights Work and Their Benefits
The system uses high-tech optical engineering and an assortment of LEDs instead of separate low and high-beam light bulbs. A front camera monitors for other cars by projecting precision light patterns onto the road ahead. This illuminates the terrain cleanly and evenly while gracefully preventing shining bright lights into the eyes of oncoming drivers as they adjust accordingly. The lights automatically dim in the areas they detect traffic while maintaining full high-beam brightness everywhere else. This allows drivers to keep high-beam brightness on at all times without having to risk temporarily blinding the drivers around them.
The new bill, which was supported by the auto industry, comes during a dramatic rise in traffic deaths. The new lights are highly anticipated and are expected to:
- Improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists nationwide by making them more visible at night.
- Prevent crashes by better illuminating animals and objects along the road.
- Help partially automated driver-assisted systems keep vehicles in their lanes and avoid objects at night.
Although they were still illegal in the U.S., Audi began selling vehicles with the forbidden tech (dubbed “HD Matrix-design Headlights with Audi Laser Light”) stateside in 2018. Audi allowed the system to be purchased for certain American vehicles but kept most of its features locked behind a software wall. The system could not be used to its full dynamic capability since regulators had not yet approved it, but now that the law no longer requires separate light sources for the low and high beam, a simple software patch can be applied to unlock the idealized headlight system.
Have You Been Injured in an Accident Caused by Blinding Headlights?
Headlights that are too bright are not just an annoyance; they are incredibly dangerous. A driver who is temporarily blinded by an oncoming vehicle’s high beams could get into an accident. If you have been injured in a crash that resulted from headlights that were too bright, you could be eligible for compensation under Oregon State Law.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with the Rizk Law team today to discuss your legal options. Call our personal injury attorneys at (503) 245-5677 or complete our convenient contact form for more information.