AAA wants better standards for headlight technology


AAA is looking to bring new headlight technology to the United States.

New research from AAA found that European vehicles that use adaptive driving beam headlights (ADB) increase roadway lighting by 86% compared to headlights in the United States. 

“Driving at night doesn’t have to be such a risky undertaking for Americans," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. "Improved headlight technology not only exists but is being used in other parts of the world to effectively provide the light needed to keep drivers and pedestrians safer.” 

Newer U.S. vehicles are equipped with similar technology that automatically switches between high and low beams, but only when other vehicles aren’t present.   

The lack of updates and phrasing in the Federal Motor Safety Standards for headlights does not exclusively prohibit ADB technology, but it does not allow for low and high beam headlights to be used at the same time, which is the primary function of ADB technology.

AAA, Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are looking to petition for an update to the Federal Motor Safety Standards.

“AAA supports adaptive driving beam headlights and NHTSA’s work in this area to consider changing the current standards,” Jenkins said. “Allowing ADB will not only improve roadway visibility but the safety of every driver and pedestrian who must travel at night.” 

It is unclear when new headlight standards and testing protocol will be released. AAA recommends drivers use high beams when possible on unlit or dark roadways, adjust driving speed and replace your car’s headlamp lenses if they are not clear.