Headlights, when safety comes before costs

Headlights, when safety comes before costs
The automotive market, also thanks to the advent of digital technology, has made enormous progress on a technological level in recent decades, but from a certain point of view the improvements have been few, and tend to be reserved for those who are willing to pay an option: we are speaking of headlights, a fundamental component for driving safely.

After years of battles, the American association IIHS - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - has found an effective method to force car manufacturers to use high quality even on low-cost vehicles, instead of reserving them as an option on more expensive models.

The method is very simple: IISH has changed the terms necessary to obtain the Top Safety Pick + certification, tying this certification with a result of at least "Good" or "Acceptable" in the medium to long distance lighting test. To get the Top Safety Pick + badge, not only will you have to pass the 6 crash tests to prove that the car is safe in the event of an accident, but you will also have to comply with a whole series of extra criteria including this one relating to the headlights.

In 2020, many car models did not obtain certification due to poor quality headlights, and of the 185 models tested, only 8 are equipped with 'Good' headlights as standard, without the need to purchase options.
In 2021 progress will be made, and already 10 vehicles have updated the headlights automatically obtaining the Top Safety Pick + badge, among which we find: Audi A7, Honda Accord, Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-40, Nissan Altima, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, Volvo S60, Volvo XC40 and Volvo XC60. The Honda Odyssey also obtained the Top Safety Pick + badge after removing the underperforming headlights and inserting a safety system for pedestrian crossings.

To pass the test with the result of 'Good', the IIHS requires that the installed headlights are able to illuminate a straight road for at least 100 meters. It sounds like a simple request, yet at the end of 2020 there are still many companies producing cars with poor lighting, despite the fact that half of the fatal road accidents in the United States occur in the dark, and more than 25% on unlit roads.