OMBUDSMAN’S ALERT: Auto Headlights Must Leave the Dark Ages!!

Safety Experts Claim That Poor Illumination Is Responsible For The Increasing Number Of Highway Deaths Especially Among Pedestrians

BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT
Ombudsman

In Europe as well as Japan, automakers have introduced head lamps that automatically adjust to incoming traffic to reduce glare and help drivers see better;however, in the United States outdated federal rules have prevented automakers from using this innovative technology!

Gregg Brannon, Director of Automotive Engineering at the Automobile Association of America(AAA) states:“Regulators have not done a lot to help this through inaction. There’s technology available today that would potentially reduce some fatalities and it would be simply a matter of regulation change to allow that in the US.”

The topic of headlight illumination is particularly sensitive to this Ombudsman as my wife was such a victim of an accident caused by just this problem in 1986.

According to USA Today, “The number of pedestrians killed on US roads  in 2015 rose 9.5 percent to 5,376, although distracted driving is suspected as the key culprit for the uptick. Still, low-beam headlights on 80 percent of vehicles on the road may not provide adequate stopping distance at speeds above above 40 mph on unlit roadways, according to a study by AAA and the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center.”

Finally, published data exposing the poor performance of certain headlights whose design

was inspired by the trend toward “whatever looks the coolest” led USA Today to state:

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Congressman Eliot Engel, formerly a representative of parts of Rockland, agrees with our Ombudsman. He said, “Safety must be paramount when it comes to our roadways. While used cars can present a tremendous value, consumers need greater protection when it comes time to purchase one. We need to strengthen the FTC’s ability to recall vehicles in need of repair or replacement of defective parts, and require used car dealers to ensure parts are repaired or replaced before the vehicle is resold. These are commonsense steps Congress should take to ensure everyone gets a fair shake at the dealership.”

“We had lighting engineers that told us they were glad we were doing this because internally in their companies, there’s a war between the styling department and the safety department…The packaging of headlights has been getting smaller and smaller and smaller and more distinctive.That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have good visibility at the same time, but it makes it much harder to accomplish and more expensive if you’re going to do both.”

Let us all hope that the economics of headlight design does not favor “SEXY” over “SAFETY”!

Please address all questions and comments to: editor@rocklandcountytimes.com