The U.S. government has left headlight regulation mostly untouched for half a century. This means, while Europe experiments and reaps the benefits of matrix LED lighting and so forth, the U.S. is stuck with relatively primitive technology.
The latest headlight study performed by the IIHS found only 1-in-31 new vehicles sold in the U.S. were granted a “good” rating, with the rest spread out between “acceptable”, “marginal”, and “poor.” In particular, four General Motors vehicles were combed from the list, and scored a “poor” rating for their visibility.
The Buick Verano, Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Malibu and Chevrolet Malibu Limited all scored poor ratings in the study, along with the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and CLA, the Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat.
The worst vehicle on the road regarding visibility may surprise, you though. The BMW 3 Series posted the worse performance of them all.
The NHTSA agreed the time has come to update regulations to help create safer visibility standards in U.S. vehicles.
“The ability to see the road ahead, along with any pedestrians, bicyclists or obstacles, is an obvious essential for drivers,” IIHS said. “However, government standards for headlights, based on laboratory tests, allow huge variation in the amount of illumination that headlights provide in actual on-road driving.”
Will we soon be able to experience the grand technology that is matrix LED lighting? We hope so, since Opel has already introduced the system on its affordable Astra K.