Inferior Headlights Have Led to Thousands of Deaths – Is the Issue Finally Getting Cleaned Up?

Every year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) releases its top safety picks in cars, trucks, and other vehicles. This has always been useful when it comes to comparing the safety of one car to another, but now we are learning that this testing process might have finally urged the big car manufacturers to take action that has been long overdue: improving the quality of the headlights on their vehicles.

At Least Ten Main Automakers Have Improved Their Headlights

According to the newest ratings from the IIHS, at least ten of the main auto manufacturers have improved their headlights in 2021 and are either changing or getting rid of their inferior choices. This is in direct response to the Top Safety Pick+ award, given out by the IIHS. As of 2020, vehicles could only qualify for the top award if they had either good or acceptable headlights, not just on their best trims, but on every trim they offered.

This Effort Began Five Years Ago

These requirements are the final stage of a multi-stage plan that IIHS put into place five years ago, in an effort to deal with what they consider to be a longstanding issue. They note that around half of all fatal car accidents in the United States occur in the dark. One in four occurs on a road that is entirely unlit. Even so, many car manufacturers have sold cars with poor quality headlights.

The first step the IIHS took was to encourage improved vehicle lighting by introducing headlight ratings starting in 2016. Only two of the 95 models tested by the IIHS in the first year earned a good rating. In 2017, the IIHS added headlight ratings to their regular awards, rather than a separate award. In 2020, the more stringent requirement of good or acceptable headlights became a necessity to be awarded top safety pick+.

Many Models Fell Short of the Highest Award Due to Headlights in 2020

It is not difficult to realize that if nighttime accidents are more common even though there are fewer drivers, improving headlights would save lives. This is why the IIHS now requires good or acceptable headlights for vehicles to earn a top safety pick+ position. In 2020, there were many models that did not make this designation specifically because of their headlights.

How many? Consider that of the 185 models the IIHS tested in 2020, 85 of them were available with headlights that got a “good” rating. In only eight of the 185 models were “good” headlights a standard feature. There were 42 overall vehicles in 2020 that had good or acceptable rated headlights at all trim levels. That is fewer than one in four.

If you have been involved in a car accident that was entirely or partially caused by poor headlights, there might be several parties at fault for your accident. Contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas now at 909-982-0707 to request a free legal consultation.