New cars have cameras, computers and warning signals to make driving safer. However, all cars have outdated 20th century technology for headlights. On May 26, 2017, an article in USA-Today The Journal News by Nathan Bomey entitled “Vehicle headlights are stuck in tech’s dark ages”. According to the article, 250 pedestrians are killed at night every year crossing the road and many cases it is because drivers can’t see them because their headlights don’t shine bright enough. These findings are backed by headlight expert Michael Flanagan at The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded last year that two-thirds of lighting packages available on 21 small SUV models including Jeep Wrangler, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and the Nissan Rogue deliver poor performance. Ten midsized car headlights systems were poor including Buick Verano, Hyundai Sonata and the Mercedes Benz C Class. The headlights of seven pickup trucks were rated poor including the Ford F-150, the GMC Canyon and the Toyota Tundra.
The cause of these poor headlights is outdated federal rules that have blocked automakers from introducing head lamps that automatically adjust to oncoming traffic to reduce glare even though the technology is available in Europe and Japan. According to AAA “there’s technology available today that could potentially reduce some fatalities and it would be simply a matter of regulation change to allow that in the U.S.”