Driving Vision News announce today November 25, 2008 the release of a detailed report on headlamp adjustment survey.
The detailed study examines and analyses recent trends in headlamp aim on vehicles in use. Topics include the stringency and technical rectitude of periodic headlamp aim inspection requirements in various countries, the justifiability of existing statutory aim tolerances and recommendations for updated tolerances, gaps in the system including a lack of precision or accuracy standards for headlamp aimers, and the effects upon seeing and glare with varying degrees of misaim encountered in the real world.
Overall, the situation is grim; a great many vehicles drive around with improperly-adjusted headlamps, even in countries where public awareness is relatively high and regulations relatively strict. Hector Fratty, head of Driving Vision News and a highly-regarded longtime veteran in the automotive lighting industry, says “I have worked in automotive lighting for a long time, and with this study I discover a situation worse than I expected!”
With no interest from car makers and lighting suppliers, and headlamp aiming equipment often decrepit and/or improperly used, the situation has deteriorated from 10 years ago. At the same time, recent headlamps’ increased output has increased the safety-negative effects of misaim. The American situation is still the worst amongst developed countries; there is no legal requirement for headlamps to be aimed correctly, and the voluntary SAE standard a few states adhere to permits a very large range of aim — low beams may be aimed up to 10cm upward (above horizontal) at 7.6m distance. Large numbers of vehicles are out of even this permissive standard.
The report suggests 6 proposals, chief among which is a working group or task force to quantify today’s bad situation and define concrete goals for improvement. The need for corrective action grows ever more urgent as speeds and headlamp output increase.