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15 April 2024
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New study to examine dazzling headlights

UK Government to study headlight dazzle issue following a public petition and RAC research indicating worsening driver glare.

News

A study into drivers being dazzled by headlights is being set up by the Government in response to an online petition about the issue. It comes after research from the RAC showed that drivers claiming the glare from headlights is getting worse.

The RAC has been surveying drivers on dazzling headlights since 2018, but new findings from a survey of 2,000 drivers suggests that 85% believe it is more commonplace. The survey also found that 89% of drivers think at least some headlights are too bright, of which three-in-10 (28%) – the highest recorded – think most are. Of the drivers who complained about the brightness of car headlights, some 91% said they get dazzled when driving, with three-quarters (74%) saying this happens regularly.

Responding to the petition set up by a member of the public following campaigning on the issue by the RAC, the Government said:

Recognising the need for further evidence regarding headlight glare, we intend to commission independent research shortly.

It said that all vehicle headlamps are designed and tested to follow international standards to ensure that they are both bright enough to illuminate the road but do not affect the vision of other road users.

The standards define the beam pattern and include maximum and minimum light intensities,

it added.

We know that lots of people raise concerns about headlight glare – but also that the police collision statistics don’t show any underlying road safety issue.

Due to that lack of evidence, the Department for Transport (DfT) raised the issue at the United Nations international expert group on vehicle lighting.

Proposals to amend headlamp aiming rules were agreed in April 2023, together with requirements for mandatory headlamp levelling which automatically corrects the aim of the headlamps based on the loading of the vehicle – eg. when passengers are sat on the back seat or there is heavy luggage in the boot.

The statement continued:

The transitional provisions permit sufficient time for vehicle manufacturers to redesign their products and adapt the manufacturing process, with the tighter tolerances expected to come into effect in September 2027. Once implemented, these tougher requirements will help alleviate the number of cases where road users are dazzled.

In addition, the DfT says it also plans to commission independent research to better understand the root causes of driver glare and identify any further appropriate mitigations. RAC road safety spokesman Rod Dennis said:

The fact the Government has listened to drivers’ concerns and heeded our calls to examine the complex issue of headlight glare in more detail marks a real turning point. The topic has undoubtedly struck a chord with motorists up and down the country, with many people contacting us directly to call for something to be done.

End

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