Of the dozens of vehicles — small S.U.V.s and midsize cars — whose headlights the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has tested this year, only one has been rated “good.” That was a 2016 Toyota Prius V. The best any others could muster was merely “acceptable,’’ and many fared much worse. There’s at least one reason for the shortcomings. The federal standard for headlights became effective in 1968. Some revisions have been made, but the actual testing procedure has not changed much. And despite decades of improvement in lighting technology since then, the government still tests headlamps only in a laboratory setting, not in actual cars on dark, winding roads. Nor does the federal standard specify how far the headlights must illuminate the path ahead. Hoping to shame the auto industry to do better, the insurance group is setting a de facto safety standard for carmakers to meet.
The New York Times has the story.