Banned Headlight Standards Could Make U.S. Roads Safer

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Most drivers in the U.S. probably don’t think much about their headlights. The most dangerous time to drive or to be a pedestrian is at night. The reason nighttime is less safe for drivers and pedestrians is that it is hard to see pedestrians on the side of the road or other obstacles in the street. Many modern cars, including Ford vehicles – with its Auto High-Beam tech that is part of the Ford Co-Pilot 360 safety suite – can automatically turn the headlights on high beam when no other cars are present.

Some safety organizations and automakers think that this automatic high-beam tech isn’t enough and are calling for changes to federal headlight standards to allow tech used in other countries, called adaptive driving beam (ADB) headlights, to be used in the States. With the Ford Auto High-Beam system, the headlights are on bright only when another vehicle isn’t detected, the benefit of the extra light is lost when another vehicle is detected.

With ADB headlights the high beams are always on, so the driver has more light on the road to help avoid accidents at all times. When another vehicle is detected, the ADB headlights can shade the area that would otherwise blind the oncoming driver while allowing the driver to continue to benefit from the extra light. It’s not clear how exactly ADB headlights can shade portions to prevent blinding oncoming drivers.

Another challenge for bringing headlight standards in the U.S. on par with those in other countries has to do with testing. All headlight standards testing is done in a lab in the States rather than in real-world conditions. Automakers are behind bringing ADB headlights to the U.S. and Toyota was the first manufacturer to petition the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to amend standards to allow automakers the option of fitting cars with ADB headlights. New headlight testing standards and vehicles with ADB headlights are years away.

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Source: AAA

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Written by Shane McGlaun

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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One Comment

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  1. I have ADB lighting. I’m always having opposing traffic flashing high beams at me because the all times running lights and headlights are on at the same time when driving at night. Approaching drivers always see 4 illuminated headlamps 2 of which are high intensity. Add optional driving spotlights in the mix and there are a total of 6 lamps illuminated using the low beam setting. The high beam shading does not work very well with most of the aim always being about 4 ft above road hight on low and too diffuse on high. My car is a 2019 model. Based on my experience with this system and that of other drivers I have talked with the ADB lighting system needs more some re engineering and regulatory review. The dealers service technician told me re aiming has been attempted in many cases with limited effectiveness.

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