Outdated Headlights Keeping Drivers in the Dark

close-up of car headlights, car accident lawyer

Many vehicles in Illinois are equipped with headlights that perform poorly, raising the risk of car accidents. When headlight systems do not provide enough light to warn drivers of animals, people, objects or changes in the roads at night, or they cause unnecessary glare for other motorists, the risk for car accidents increases. A number of vehicle makes and models have headlights that were rated as poor in a recent study.

Problematic Headlights

Approximately 2,500 pedestrians are struck and killed by motorists every year in the U.S., and many are reportedly struck because drivers were unable to see them at night. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported in 2017 that headlight systems on numerous SUVs, trucks, and cars were all rated as poor in a recent study. According to the IIHS, 21 lighting packages for small SUVs, seven trucks and 10 mid-sized cars all had performed poorly. Among the 82 vehicles that were tested in the study, only the 2016 model of the Toyota Prius V that had the advanced technology lighting package with LED lights received a rating of good. The other two available lighting packages for the Prius V received acceptable ratings.

Why The Headlights Are Problematic

The federal government has resisted implementing regulations that would require automakers to install headlights that are brighter and that automatically dim when vehicles are approaching to avoid glare. The technology is available and is widely implemented in Europe and in Japan. Despite this, the government has been reticent to enact regulations that would place similar requirements on manufacturers that make vehicles for the U.S. market. As a result, the manufacturers have failed to use adaptive beam headlights for vehicles that are sold in the U.S. even though they design them with the adaptive technology for overseas nations.

Headlights that provide poor illumination make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, animals, other objects or changes in the roads that can lead to accidents. Many pedestrian collisions happen at night because the drivers are unable to see people who are crossing the road in the dark. Drivers with poor headlight systems might consider installing aftermarket headlights that provide better illumination to help them avoid automobile accidents.