There is no question the government regulations can dictate a significant amount of safety on U.S. roads. For example, while nighttime crashes have the highest death rate for drivers and pedestrians, it is widely known that the headlights currently required and used in the U.S. do not provide enough adequate lighting to illuminate the roads.
However, according to new research conducted by AAA, there is better technology already in use in countries like Canada; technology that has the potential to improve both safety and visibility if it is ever approved and widely used here in the U.S.
Adaptive Driving Beam Headlights (ADB)
The improved technology is known as adaptive driving beam headlights (ADB) which, unfortunately, is not currently approved for use in the U.S. via US federal standards. The AAA research examined the use of this technology in other countries and found that the beams are able to continually adjust and adapt their beam patterns to result in improved illumination without the issue of glare.
With the systems, one’s high beams are always on, and, if another vehicle is detected in the area, the beams become shaded to prevent the glare that would otherwise result from having your high beams shine into the other driver’s field of vision. Studies indicate that this increases roadway lighting by approximately 86 percent.
Will the U.S. Make the Switch for Safety’s Sake?
While some U.S. vehicles are now being made with technology that automatically switches between high and low beams to increase visibility, this technology is only in effect when other vehicles are not present. When other vehicles are detected in the area, the car automatically reverts to low beams.
However, there may be some hope for the U.S., but it is still very much on the horizon and nowhere near implementation: Last fall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed an amendment that would allow manufacturers to equip their vehicles with these ADB systems. Still, until some basic changes to the standards become official, drivers should take the following precautions when driving at night on roads:
- Use high beams when possible;
- Adjust your driving speed to allow you enough time to detect and react to someone or something in the road; and
- If your headlamp lenses are not clear, have them replaced or restored so as to improve light output. Not enough people are performing headlight restoration services each year and deteriorated headlamps produce approximately 22 percent of the light output that they should. Even do-it-yourself restorations reportedly return that light output up to 70 percent.
Better Enforcement Regarding The Use Of High Beams At Night
In addition, changing the types of beam technology that we use is not the only issue that needs to be resolved here in the U.S.: according to previous AAA research, 64 percent of Americans currently do not use their high beams at all at night and, unfortunately, even driving at a moderate speed of 40 miles per hour with low beams do not allow motorists to properly react to something on the road. High beam headlights provide a significant advantage in terms of being able to provide the right amount of light.
Contact Our Rhode Island Accident Attorneys to Find Out More
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident here in Rhode Island due to driver negligence at night, contact our experienced auto accident attorneys today to find out.
Mark Dana has been practicing in Rhode Island for over 25 years. He has handled hundreds of cases in courthouses throughout the state. Due to Attorney Dana’s knowledge and reputation, he can often be seen appearing as the legal commentator for NBC 10 in Providence.