NHTSA May Finally Update Headlight Regulations In US9
The United States drastically lags behind Europe when it comes to automotive lighting regulations. Outdated regulations leave the U.S. without some of the more innovative headlight designs that can help drivers see better at night. That could change soon, however.
Automotive News (subscription required) reported the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has proposed to permit adaptive headlights for U.S. cars. Essentially, the new regulations would give an OK to intelligent “matrix” headlights, such as the IntelliLux system Opel has used for years.
The headlights keep a constant high beam active, while various portions constantly adapt to the road ahead. In Opel’s system, developed under General Motors ownership, 16 LED segments, eight in each headlight, constantly adapt to road conditions, changing the lighting cone shape and intensity automatically with help from the onboard Opel Eye camera. As the photo below shows, the headlights can block out light for oncoming cars, traffic in front of the vehicle and more while keeping optimal lighting for areas that still require light.
The NHTSA submitted the notice on October 11 and said the tech “has the potential to reduce the risk of crashes by increasing visibility without increasing glare.” The potential update comes as safety bodies like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have routinely slammed most passenger cars for housing sub-par headlights. Many times, headlight ratings have led to a particular car missing out on a Top Safety Pick+ accolade.
The agency is now seeking comments on the proposal and it’s unclear when the NHTSA could officially lift the ban on more advanced headlights. However, numerous automakers have already petitioned the agency to amend its rules. Notably, Audi and Toyota lobbied for the change in 2016.
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It’s about time…
Seriously, why is this taking so long?
At the risk of sounding cliche, this is the U.S. Federal Government we’re talking about. They have little incentive to move this forward with any sense of urgency.
Audi has matrix LED lights on US roads already…
They aren’t fully activated though like in Europe. Mercedes has the same thing, just gimped for the US.
The DOT is loathe the regulate vehicle headlight lighting because of; incompetence, zero experience, no one or group exists to review regulations and amend them, fear from industry backlash. Take your pick.
This is something that needs to be addressed. Almost every new car these days have headlights with glare that is so bad, its like they all have high-beams only. There seems to be absolutely no direction or level cut-off to most of them. Just light in all directions with a harsh dazling-glare quality to it. It’s very easy to id which cars have LED headlamps
Lol. I feel bad because some people flash their brights at me thinking I have mine on. Then when I /DO/ flash my brights, they’re sadly mistaken lol. I have LED 6000K w/ 3000LM per bulb, for a total of 6k lumen just for my Low beams. High beams same output, just a bigger coverage area.
I will say though that my headlights are approved by the DOT.