Many studies, both national and international, have shown that the use of daytime running headlights reduces the risk of being in a car accident. Motorists and pedestrians can better see vehicles with headlights than vehicles without headlights even during the daytime. Despite the evident benefits of permanent headlight usage, there is a debate regarding whether drivers should be able to decide if they want to use daytime headlights or whether the use of daytime headlights should be mandated by law.
Permanent headlight usage is not required in the United States. Only 27 percent of vehicles produced now come with permanent headlight technology as a standard feature. Car manufacturers are not required to produce vehicles equipped with daytime running lights and most people only use their headlights at nighttime or when it is raining.
The results of each study vary; however, many U.S. studies, including those conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), have shown up to a 10 percent reduction of accidents when permanent headlights were used. Also, the number of two-vehicle crashes was reduced by over five percent, pedestrian accidents were reduced by 12 percent and there was a 23 percent reduction in motorcycle crashes involving opposite-direction vehicles.
The U.S. is not the only country in which agencies are studying the impact of permanent headlight usage. There was a 37 percent reduction in left turn related incidents in Denmark as well as a reduction in multiple vehicle accidents. Canada reported an 11 percent reduction in multiple vehicle accidents.
Some believe that the link between permanent headlight usage and fewer accidents warrants the creation of laws requiring vehicles to be equipped with daytime running headlight technology. Requiring the installation of lights that automatically turn on when the car is started may present a significant obstacle in terms of equipment modification to new or existing vehicles. However, a behavioral option compelling drivers to always turn on their existing headlights while driving may also be implemented.
The economic impact of running permanent headlights is less than one might think. The NHTSA conducted a study concerning the cost of replacing headlamps more often and the decreased fuel efficiency associated with permanent headlight usage. The results of that study show that, depending on the type of headlamp equipped in the vehicle, it would cost drivers approximately $3 to $40 per year to constantly run their headlights.
The benefit of permanent headlight usage has been established but has not yet become common knowledge. If drivers know they are less likely to be involved in accidents, they may be more likely to voluntarily use daytime running lights, especially considering the economic advantage. Car manufacturers are now producing vehicles with daytime running lights that require 90 percent less power than low beams and last approximately 30 times longer than normal filament bulbs.
If you were injured in an auto or motorcycle accident, a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer at AlpernSchubert, P.C. can help you navigate this challenging time. Our firm is experienced in providing personal injury clients with knowledgeable legal advice and assertive representation. From our office in Pittsburgh, we represent clients in Washington, New Castle, and throughout Alleghany County, Washington County, and Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. To speak with one of our reputable car accident lawyers, contact us online, call us at 412-765-1888, or call us toll-free at 800-243-6095.
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