In response to numerous
consumer complaints about nighttime glare from headlights and auxiliary lights
on motor vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) Wednesday issued a formal request for public
comment on possible steps the agency might take to reduce glare.
allow headlighting to be more robust than in the past. While such technologies
can be beneficial for drivers, we must be certain the public is protected
from high levels of glare," said Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
"Our studies of this issue may lead to improvements in safety, which
is President Bush's highest transportation priority."
Within the last two years,
NHTSA has received numerous complaints about nighttime glare from three types
of headlights mounted on the front of motor vehicles: "high intensity
discharge" (HID) lights that appear blue, auxiliary lights such as "fog
lamps" and headlights mounted high on various light trucks (sport utility
vehicles, pickups and vans).
In its notice of request
for comments, NHTSA has posed 46 questions to the driving public as well as
manufacturers and other interested parties. These questions cover a wide array
of issues related to the safety, use and performance of various headlights.
"We expect that
our request for comments will elicit useful information that will lead to
better lights with less glare," said Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, NHTSA administrator.
As expressed through complaints to NHTSA, some drivers report that the light
from HID headlights seems blinding, even though the intensity of such lamps
does not exceed federal standards. Some drivers say 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.
Those wishing to have
their comments considered must provide them by Dec. 1, 2001, when the docket
(NHTSA-2001-8885) will close. After that, the agency will review the comments
to determine what further actions should be taken.
Comments may be submitted
in writing to the Department of Transportation's Docket Management Section,
Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street S.W., Washington, DC 20590. It is requested,
though not required, that two copies of the comments be provided. The docket
section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Members of the public
who are providing comments should cite the docket number: NHTSA-2001-8885.
In addition, comments
may be submitted electronically by logging onto the docket management system
web site at http://dms.dot.gov. Click on "Help" or "Electronic
Submission" to obtain instructions for filing the document electronically.
The electronic docket number is 8885. The notice of request for comments is
posted at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/rulings/glare.html.