Geof Draper, Marcon Gorzkowski, John Bullough,
Bart Terburg, and the chairman Thorsten Warwel.
The discussion got underway with a presentation by Ford's Thorsten Warwel, demonstrating the relatively high rate of serious crashes in nighttime (darkness) despite less traffic after dark. Clearly, darkness exerts a strong negative influence on roadway safety. It is obvious that lighting should help, and we now have this relatively new LED technology, so how shall we best use it? The discussion panel attained strong consensus on an answer that is very important, even if it is not particularly fun or appetising to hear: we must do our homework!North American regulators on the panel acknowledged that the American approach embodied in Federal and Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards #108 is divergent from the rest-of-world approach achieved through UN regulations, and that Standard 108 is old, difficult to understand clearly, slow to react to technological changes, and has other shortcomings. At the same time, there are substantial obstacles to remedying that situation. For example, NHTSA rewrote FMVSS 108 in an effort to make it more easily readable, in response to industry dissatisfaction with the existing standard's organisation and format. The agency was dismayed to face strong industry pushback in response to the newly rewritten regulation—three separate iterations of it, in fact. With NHTSA so severely and systematically understaffed, underfunded, and overworked, future reworkings of lighting-related regulations are considerably less likely if the agency perceives that the industry will be less than coöperative.