NHTSA Approves Adaptive Driving Beam Headlights

NHTSA Approves Adaptive Driving Beam Headlights

Great news that's been long time coming when it comes to nighttime safety on U.S. roads.  Nearly a decade after Toyota petitioned the U.S. government in 2013 to allow adaptive driving beam headlights on new vehicles in the U.S., it has done so.  Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized a rule "allowing automakers to install adaptive driving beam headlights on new vehicles".  

“NHTSA prioritizes the safety of everyone on our nation’s roads, whether they are inside or outside a vehicle. New technologies can help advance that mission,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator. “NHTSA is issuing this final rule to help improve safety and protect vulnerable road users.”

The news could not come at a better time, as the NHTSA recently reported that U.S. traffic deaths are on the rise. Researchers say adaptive beam headlights improve roadway visibility and prevent glare.

Adaptive driving beam headlights, reportedly legal in Europe since 2006, have been a topic of discussion among U.S. safety experts for many years. In 2019, AAA shared research on the importance of allowing adaptive beam headlights on U.S. vehicles. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety wrote this post back in 2018 which sheds light on why adaptive headlights were banned in the U.S.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which reportedly represents Toyota and most other major automakers in the U.S., had urged the NHTSA to expedite a final rule in October 2021. The organization responded to the final ruling last week, saying: 

“Auto Innovators has supported NHTSA’s efforts on the adaptive driving beam (ADB) rulemaking and has actively participated in the rulemaking process through public comment. Research shows the safety benefits of this technology, which can help provide enhanced down-road visibility without increasing glare to oncoming vehicles. We are reviewing the final rule and look forward to continuing to work with NHTSA and other stakeholders on our shared priority of a safer transportation future.” - Auto Innovators President and CEO John Bozzella: 

Read the official NHTSA' press release below


 | Washington, DC

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a final rule today allowing automakers to install adaptive driving beam headlights on new vehicles. This satisfies a requirement in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law more than a year and a half ahead of schedule.

This final rule will improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists by making them more visible at night, and will help prevent crashes by better illuminating animals and objects in and along the road.

“NHTSA prioritizes the safety of everyone on our nation’s roads, whether they are inside or outside a vehicle. New technologies can help advance that mission,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator. “NHTSA is issuing this final rule to help improve safety and protect vulnerable road users.”

Adaptive driving beam headlight systems, or ADB, use automatic headlight beam switching technology to shine less light on occupied areas of the road and more light on unoccupied areas. The adaptive beam is particularly useful for distance illumination of pedestrians, animals, and objects without reducing the visibility of drivers in other vehicles.

The final rule amends Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, “Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment.” The amendments adopted today are intended to allow manufacturers to offer this technology and establish performance requirements for these systems to ensure that they operate safely.

Source: NHTSA

 

Image Credit: Vukasin Antanaskovic/Shutterstock.com.