• Headlights Reduce Risk of Car Accidents
  • October 26, 2017
  • Most people only use their headlights at nighttime or during inclement weather when visibility is reduced. However, studies show that using headlights during the day can reduce the risk of being in a car accident by up to 10 percent. This is because even on clear and sunny days, motorists and pedestrians are more likely to see vehicles that have headlights on than vehicles that do not. However, because of the economic impact that constantly-running headlights would have on drivers, there is controversy as to whether laws should be implemented making the use of headlights mandatory for drivers.

    Use of Daytime Headlights Statistics

    According to the many studies analyzed by the National Highway Traffic Association, the use of daytime headlights had a statistically significant reduction in crashes. The Department of Transportation reports that the overall nighttime crash rate is over one and a half times that of the daytime crash rate, and the fatal crash rate at night is three to four times greater than that during the day. Studies show that when daytime headlights are used, there is over a five percent reduction in vehicle crashes, a 12 percent reduction in pedestrian accidents, and a 23 percent reduction in motorcycle accidents involving a vehicle coming from the other direction.

    International studies also show this reduction of risk. In fact, several European countries have even begun to implement laws requiring the use of daytime running lights. Denmark reported a 37 percent reduction in left turn related and multiple vehicle accidents. In Canada, a country which also saw a reduction in multiple vehicle accidents, all vehicles are required to be equipped with daytime running lights.

    Controversy Surrounding the Implementation of New Laws

    Car manufacturers in the United States are not required to produce vehicles with daytime running lights, although many of them are producing more vehicles with this added feature. Still, only 27 percent of vehicles being manufcatured come with daytime running headlights as a standard feature. Drivers in the United States are also not required to use their headlights during the daytime and most only use them when it is dark or during inclement weather.

    Proponents of new laws mandating the use of daytime running headlights point out the significant reduction of accident risk for drivers and pedestrians. Many drivers do not use their headlights during the daytime because they are not aware of the connection between daytime headlight usage and the reducing their risk of being involved in an accident. Others do not use their headlights during the day because of the perceived cost of headlight replacement.

    A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that the cost of replacing headlights more frequently, considering the impact on fuel efficiency, would cost drivers approximately three dollars to 40 dollars a year depending on the vehicle’s headlights. Until new laws mandating the use of daytime running lights are implemented, it is up to drivers to determine whether the data justifies using daytime running lights to improve their visibility and reduce their risk of an accident.

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    If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer in New Jersey at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP. We have over a decade of experience and a successful record of representing clients throughout New Jersey in car accident injury claims. Our offices are in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River. Contact us online or call us at 732-777-0100 to schedule a free consultation.