washington d.c. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Tuesday decided to allow OEMs to install Adaptive High Beam (ADB) headlights on new vehicles in the United States
In its decision, NHTSA found that ADBs actually help prevent pedestrian and cyclist-related crashes by improving driver visibility in low-light conditions.
However, a clear conclusion could not be drawn on the issue of glare, for which NHTSA said it had not “established and is not aware of a quantified relationship between the dose of ‘glare and the risk of accident’.
The NHTSA wrote in its final rule that “ADB systems are an improvement over the ‘auto hi-beam’ technology currently available in the United States because they are capable of providing more illumination than a low beam without increase glare.
“When operating in automatic mode, instead of simply switching between upper and lower beams, an ADB system is able to provide a dynamic, adaptive beam pattern that changes based on the presence of other vehicles or objects, providing less lighting in occupied areas of the road and more lighting in unoccupied areas of the road.
The decision cited 2012 data from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (now the Automotive Innovation Alliance) which indicated that 70% of pedestrian fatalities occurred at night and that in 2016 this had risen to 75%. .
The Alliance also noted a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) which found that the number of pedestrian fatalities in the dark increased by 56% between 2009 and 2016.
NHTSA added that “This final rule does not require manufacturers to provide ADB systems, but only specifies the requirements the systems must meet if equipped on vehicles.”
Adaptive headlights have long been a standard in Canada and Europe, however, in the United States there are questions about whether the technology complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108.