While many drivers take precautions to drive safely in hopes of preventing being seriously injured in a car accident, many vehicle owners overlook a critical safety feature of their vehicles which puts them in a great risk of being involved in the accident they are hoping to avoid. That safety feature is the vehicle’s headlights. Improperly maintained or installed headlights create a danger not only for a driver, but for preventing pedestrian accidents – as they may not been in enough time to avoid being stuck.
Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety demonstrated that the majority of headlights on a number of small SUV, including the Jeep Wrangler, Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan Rogue had poorly performing headlights. Even so-called luxury vehicles such as the Mercedes C-class had poorly rated headlight systems.
Incredibly, it is actually old federal regulations which are the cause of numerous vehicles with poorly rated headlights. While many manufactures actually want to install items including adaptive beams, regulations prevent them from installing the same technology they have on vehicles being sold around the world. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has failed to take action on a number of manufactures requests to install newer headlight systems, such as curving headlights which actually turn themselves into a turn a vehicle is making. In fact, Toyota’s request which they made over four years ago, are still pending.
While headlight safety doesn’t receive the same publicity as autonomous vehicles, the IIHS believes that advances would play a vital role in reducing the increasing number of traffic wrongful deaths, which increased nearly 10% last year. The AAA found that nearly eighty percent of vehicles’ headlights are inadequate in being able to provide proper stopping visibility for vehicle driving faster than 45 m.p.h. Although some manufactures are urging the NHTSA to implement higher standards, others are more concerned with how their vehicles and headlights look rather than how they perform.
Another factor which may help headlight performance is proper driver education. Studies have found that drivers do not use their high beams often enough. According to a University of Michigan study, motorists only used their high beams about twenty-five percent of the time they actually should have used them.
As Florida car accident lawyers we only hope the Federal Government takes the necessary steps to bring car and truck headlights into the 21st Century.