Apparently Headlights In the US Are A Joke

Technology / 14 Comments

And our government is the reason why!

According to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, the headlights on one third of midsize cars in the US earned a "poor" rating. The insurance group found that only one car, the Prius V, performed well enough (with an optional upgrade) to get a "good" rating. The IIHS said that "many headlight problems could be fixed with better aim." Of the 31 cars tested, only 11 earned an acceptable rating. Nine were rated marginal and 10 were poor. The Prius received a good rating because of its optional LED headlights with adaptive high beams.


The Audi A3, Honda Accord and Nissan Maxima all received acceptable ratings while the Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat received poor ratings. According to the IIHS, "government rules allow for significant variation in the amount of illumination that headlights provide in actual on-road driving." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also went on to say that it "is committed to promoting a higher standard of safety, including in headlighting systems." Sorry, but all of that is complete crap. The US government has actually done nothing to help improve headlight technology. In fact, they have set progress in this area back. Just look at Audi and BMW's matrix headlight systems!

These systems are essentially laser headlights that create far better illumination that any headlight on the market today. Yet, due to a law from 1968 (two years before the NHTSA was founded), we can not have these systems in the US. The law stipulated that all headlights need to have the ability to switch from high to low beam. The Audi and BMW systems eliminate the need to do this by making the high beams fully automated. The Prius V was the only car in the IIHS test to receive a good rating because it uses a similar technology, just with LEDs and an ability to default to regular crappy low beams. It is comical that the IIHS and NHTSA want to have safer headlights because they both prevent safer systems from being legal!

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