Federal law changes could make nighttime driving safer


Eighty-percent of drivers don’t use their high-beam lights when they should, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). Maybe it’s the fear of blinding other drivers, or the annoyance of turning them on and off. 

But with an increasing number of pedestrian-involved crashes that occur at night, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is on the verge of amending its laws regarding headlight standards, paving the way for adaptive beam headlights. NHTSA noted findings of a recent IIHS study indicating a 56 percent rise in pedestrian deaths in the dark from 2009 to 2016

The advanced lights operate on “high beam” at all times. They automatically dim specific portions of each headlight’s beam, casting less light on oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, and rearview mirrors of drivers ahead of you.

Adaptive beam headlights differ from those on newer-model cars that react to steering, speed, and elevation.

The advanced headlights are widely used throughout Europe, but are banned in the US because of laws that set maximum levels for low-beam lights.

The NHTSA wrapped up a public comment period on proposed changes. News Channel 8 contacted the agency and asked when a decision might be made, but hasn’t gotten a response yet. 

You can read about the proposed changes here. 

Have a rant about your commute, or a question about road construction in your area? Contact Traffic Reporter Meredyth Censullo at mcensullo@wfla.com  or on Facebook at WFLAMeredyth.

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