Automakers Want NHTSA to Lighten Up on High-Beam Rules


Automakers are asking U.S. safety regulators to lighten up on headlight restrictions. They want to implement new headlight technologies that allow motorists to use their high beams without blinding other drivers. European and Japanese automakers, in recent weeks, have ramped up the dialogue on the issue with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in hopes of bringing to U.S. consumers headlight advancements already used on thousands of vehicles sold overseas.

Volvo in March announced that S60 sedans, V60 wagons and XC60 crossovers on sale this spring in Europe will have "Active High-Beam Control," which uses a camera and an automatic shading mechanism to avoid blinding oncoming drivers, USA Today reported. The system would need government approval before the automaker could sell vehicles equipped with it in the U.S. Audi and BMW also have similar technologies ready to deploy, but are still working with NHTSA for approval, while Mercedes-Benz's enhanced headlight-dimming technology isn't yet ready for the U.S. market, the newspaper reported.

Toyota has taken an extra step, filing a petition in March officially requesting that NHTSA update its 14-year-old headlight regulations, according to Automotive News. The Japanese automaker already has installed a system in cars sold overseas that detects other cars and dims portions of the high beams that would shine in other drivers' eyes. Toyota contends that, in addition to being a convenience, the system could reduce the number of pedestrians killed due to dark driving conditions, the trade paper reported.

USA Today reported that NHTSA is considering the changes and working with the Society of Automotive Engineers International to study the matter.

"The advancement in lighting technology, electronics, and the use of cameras and sensor information are allowing manufacturers and suppliers to develop innovative projects that were just not possible with sealed beam bulb technology," NHTSA said in a statement.

Cars' LED lighting revolution slowed by regulations (USA Today)
Building a Better High Beam
Infographic: Headlight Regulations by State



Make the driver pay attention for him/herself.


good its about time we join the rest of the world ,and move forward with technology,and im guessing george thinks we should all go back to crappy sealed beam headlights


George, why don't we remove all people's mirrors as well? They can just as well turn around and look. And for that matter, our eyes adjust to the dark, why have headlights at all. Also, airbags are stupid, no sensible person really ever crashes, and if they do, it's their fault. You know what, just let them walk - no one needs a car.


Please, just eliminate those blinding bright blue lights coming at me.

Anonymous Coward

IMO, most of the blinding blue lights are poor aftermarket HID conversions (or malfunctioning factory lights).


Do you know how little effort it takes to move the headlight selector forward (or pull back for click type switching) to activate high beams?
Virtually nothing.
Pay attention, and use your high beams when/where you can.
Don't just say, a computer will do the thinking/planning for me.


I'm confused. My 11 Grand Cherokee already has auto high beams. It uses a camera and tilts the lights up or down depending if there is a car ahead.


I have to agree with George.



It is more about the high beam that can wrap around oncoming traffic instead of blinding them...
RTFA please...

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