While more vehicles today have excellent headlights than in the past, they are still not required and many auto manufacturers do not include them as standard features. This is even after the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and other safety organizations have found that the right headlights can not only reduce the number of car accidents, but can significantly reduce the number of serious injuries.
If you have suffered an injury in a nighttime accident, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 to learn more about what your options may be. We are happy to begin with a free legal consutlation that gives you an idea of the legal protections that apply to you.
Carmakers Continue to Treat High-Quality Headlights as “Extras”
The truth of the situation is that despite the IIHS and other safety groups showing how important the right headlights are, most carmakers continue to offer good-quality options as extras – not as standard. We believe optional features should include luxury choices like leather seats or sunroofs, or convenience options like electronic start. Safety features that could save tens of thousands of lives and injuries should not be optional – they should be standard.
How Serious is the Issue?
Consider that half fatal car accidents in the United States happen at night. More than one in four fatal accidents happen on unlit roads. These simple facts make it easy to see that poorly performing headlights can have a huge impact on how likely a person is to become involved in an accident.
Changes Are Coming – But Not from Regulators
There are some actions being taken. Notably, in order for a vehicle to be considered a Top Safety Pick+, which is the highest possible rating from the IIHS, its headlights must, at a minimum, earn a rating of “acceptable.” Additionally, those “acceptable” headlights must be installed on all models of the vehicle for sale – not only available as an optional feature.
Unfortunately, in 2020 156 models have been rated by the IIHS and only six of them have headlights rated as “good.” 31 had “acceptable” headlights. Believe it or not, this is an improvement of 7% compared to the numbers in 2019. As models are brought out in the middle of the year, we hope to see more vehicles passing these fairly low standards.
The IIHS is Clear: They Want Regulators to Act
There are many safety regulations on vehicles, such as those that require seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features. The IIHS believes that “acceptable” headlights should be added to the list of features that should be on all vehicles as standard features. When will this change take place? Only the future will tell but hopefully it will be before more lives are lost.