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Bringing Headlights Into the 21st Century

With all of the advances in motor vehicle safety, it is hard to believe no one was paying attention to headlights. Federal government standards for headlights, for instance, have remained essentially the same as they were in 1968.

Car Headlights in the Nighttime

Then, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) called attention to the issue. In 2016, IIHS began its headlight ratings program. The simple goal was to rank how well headlights on different vehicles worked under real-world conditions and to pass that information on to consumers so they could make more intelligent decisions when comparing vehicles.

Five years after beginning the program, ratings have been assigned to some 1,000 headlight systems. Nighttime crash rates for vehicles with “good” headlight rankings from IIHS are nearly 20 percent lower per mile when compared with vehicles fitted with “poor” headlights. Crash rates for vehicles with “acceptable” or “marginal” headlights are 15 percent and 10 percent lower, respectively.

“Driving at night is three times as risky as driving during the day,” IIHS Senior Research Engineer Matthew Brumbelow said. “This is the first study to document how much headlights that provide better illumination can help.”

Bringing auto manufacturers into the 21st Century

IIHS had its proof about the positive impact of quality headlights on preventing car accidents, but that was not enough. Motor vehicle manufacturers had to be convinced it was in their best interests to make improvements.

So, IIHS tweaked its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ award programs to include headlight rankings. Automotive manufacturers, who consider the award programs a key selling point, responded almost immediately by installing better headlights on more models. In some cases, they even made midyear design changes. As a direct result, the proportion of headlights with a “good” rating jumped from 4% to 29%

In terms of safety, highly rated headlights provide a driver with up to 6 extra seconds to see and react to a potential driving hazard. The IIHS study showed injuries to drivers of vehicles with “good” headlights fell 29% compared to drivers in vehicles with a “poor” rating. The rates of both tow-away and crashes involving pedestrians each fell about 25%.

Injured in a Philly crash? Talk to a car accident lawyer about your rights.

If you were injured or a loved one died in a car accident in Philadelphia due to negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses. The problem is negligent drivers rarely want to admit responsibility, and auto insurance companies are financially motivated to pay crash victims as little as possible—if anything at all.

At Villari, Brandes & Giannone, P.C., our Philadelphia car accident attorneys have decades of experience helping injury victims just like you. We know how to independently investigate car accident cases, build strong cases, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

We are not intimidated by the hardball tactics of insurance companies or uncooperative motorists. Instead, we are motivated by a desire to make the legal system work for you. To find out how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free case consultation.

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