By Daniel Stern, DVN General Editor
Everyone's talking about the IIHS headlamp tests, as it seems, even the New York Times. Last week in this space, we published a piece centred on the IIHS headlamp tests. It inspired quite a flurry of alarmed feedback. Some respondents were worried we'd made up our minds all about the questions and answers and were charging ahead with a position. That's very much not the case—we're much closer to the start than the finish of the conversation.
The point of the tone of last week's article was to kickstart the conversation with due urgency. And the urgency is indeed quite extreme; just look at the factors in front of us: the increasing market penetration of ADB in Europe and the way-paving for its official approval in the USA, the IIHS test results in context of the existing Consumer Reports tests and the NHTSA proposals and SAE counterproposals for NCAP headlamp tests, the relatively rare opportunity to participate in a conversation with NHTSA about lighting, and the growing number and awareness of traffic-related deaths and injuries.
And while the situation is improving, there is still a great deal of conflicting philosophical inertia in our field about what makes a good and effective headlighting system and how the various factors rank. ADB is a great deal more complex than high/low beam, so the question, too, grows much more complex than the age-old US-versus-Europe debate over whether to prioritise seeing distance or glare control on low beam. Now's the time to take a level-headed look at the situation and figure out what to do and how to do it. Of course putting ADB on all cars starting now is not realistic, but neither is it reasonable to say everything's fine with the status quo.