NHTSA to look into headlight glare

Managers of light truck fleets should get ready to file comments with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s because NHTSA is gearing up to examine a rash of complaints about nighttime glare from headlights and auxiliary lights on a range of motor vehicles, especially SUVs and pickups.

“New technologies allow headlights to be more robust than in the past,” said Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. “While such technologies can be beneficial for drivers, we must be certain the public is protected from high levels of glare.”

NHTSA said it has received numerous complaints within the past two years about nighttime glare from three types of headlights mounted on the front of motor vehicles. They are high intensity discharge (HID) lights that appear blue, auxiliary lights such as fog lamps and headlights mounted high on light trucks.

In its notice of request for comments, NHTSA has posed 46 questions to the driving public as well as manufacturers and other interested parties. The questions cover a wide array of issues related to the safety, use and performance of various headlights. For example, NHTSA said some drivers complain that fog lamps are producing troublesome glare and are often used unnecessarily on clear nights. In addition, some drivers of passenger cars find the higher-mounted headlights used on SUVs, pickup trucks and vans to be very glaring.

Comments must be supplied to NHTSA by Dec. 1, 2001. Comments may be submitted in writing to the DOT’s Docket Management Section, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street S.W., Washington, DC 20590, docket number NHTSA-2001-8885.

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